Football is a game of emotion. The New Orleans Saints live on the emotion generated by the city of New Orleans and the emotional leaders of the team. One the most emotionally driven players in the NFL is Saints QB Drew Brees.
When hurricane Katrina hit in 2004 the superdome was packed with the many devastated citizens who's house were destroyed in catastrophic storm. Then, after 2 years of waiting, one the greatest moments in the history of the city occurred. Monday September 25, 2006 the Saints first home game since the hurricane. When the Atlanta Falcons came to the superdome they didn't expect to lose, but then it happened, after a 3-and-out on the first drive Atlanta Punter Michael Koenen took the snap only to see New Orleans special teams ace Steve Gleason in his face. The punt was blocked and skipped int the end zone, where Curtis Deloatch fell on it for a touchdown. As the 70,000 Saints fan screamed, Deloatch ran up to the stands and yelled "Take that Katrina".
The Saints won the game and ended losing to the Bears in the conference championship. But New Orleans was back on the football map. 2007 and 2008 yielded no success for the team, but in the make or break season for Sean Payton, Reggie Bush, the team and maybe even the hope of the city, the Saints showed up to play.
The Saints started 13-0, but lost their last 3 games going in the playoffs. Clinching a first round bye with a 13-3 record, the Saints played the Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round of the playoffs. With another sold out crowd at the Superdome, the Saints put on a show for the 70,000 in attendance, winning 45-14.
Now about 5 years after the hurricane, when over 25,000 people lined the floor of the superdome another 71,000 filled the seats to witness a historic game. Saints vs. Vikings, the game couldnt have been any better or closer. The teams exchanged touchdowns for four rounds, until Brett Favre took the field and drove the ball to the Saints 35-yd line. At this point a lot of people assumed Favre would get the storybook ending instead of city that desperately needed one. As Minnesota K Ryan Longwell warmed up for a chance to send his team to Miami, it happened.
Favre rolled out to his right, but didn't see what he wanted, so he threw across his body only to find Saints CB Tracy Porter. The Saints won the toss in OT and drove to the 23 and K Garrett Hartley lined up for the biggest kick of his life. After nailing the 40 yard FG, every one of the 70,000+ at the game went crazy. The streets filled up with people and everyone in the whole city shared a smile as big as the Mississippi River.
The city is still in bad shape, but this team has lifted the city from the ruble and destruction of the hurricane to the greatness of its first Super Bowl appearance. But even when you are in some of the bad parts of the city, you can turn and look to see the Superdome and you will know that everything is going to work out just fine because the Saints are in town and they will lift the city of New Orleans back to greatness.
There is no doubt that the Colts want to win the Super Bowl, but the Saints need this game more than they their city to be rebuilt. Both will happen. The Saints have the biggest responsibility that any other team has ever had. The whole city of New Orleans depends on this game that will be filled with all types of emotion.
On Super Bowl Sunday, when the teams come out to a packed Sun Life Stadium, there is going to be plenty of blue and white, but the Black and Gold nation will prevail. You will that when Drew Brees yells in his circle of teammates to get them fired up or when the game is over and the Saints have won their first Super Bowl, New Orleans will survive through any circumstances because of this team and the emotion that the city and the game of football thrive on. Football is game of emotion so strong that it can carry a city through its darkest days.