The New Orleans Saints are living up to their nickname once again.
On Tuesday, the XLIV Super Bowl champions left together on a charter bus to visit the Plaquemines Parish region of Louisiana and try to lift the spirits of those affected by the latest environmental disaster.
“I think it’s important that we do that,” Saints’ cornerback Jabri Greer told Brian Allee-Walsh of NewOrleans.com. “The city and the state have invested so much in us. They’ve given us everything we have.”
For those who live in Louisiana this may not come as a surprise. Unlike most professional football organizations, the Saints and head coach Sean Payton get it.
Payton, who was supposed to meet with the Louisiana Governor on Tuesday with the Lombardi Trophy, canceled the Saints’ final Organized Team Activity (OTA) as well as the luncheon so his team could travel with the championship memorabilia and visit the oil-filled area.
“I think the idea of switching gears and having that lunch down there is appropriate,” Payton told The Times-Picayune. “I know the players —all of us are looking forward to being down there and spending sometime with those people there and spending sometime with those people that are going through so much.”
The Saints have unfortunately been through this mess before.
We all know the story of Hurricane Katrina. The crippled Super Dome, players and coaches answering the call, the 2005 season played on the road, the block punt and an eventual rout, 23-3, of the visiting-rival Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 of the 2006 season.
Things, especially karma, do not always work out. However, in the case of the Saints, sports fans should be excited it does.
In today’s NFL, sports fans watch organizations spend too much on players who year after year play selfish mind games — “Retire or not?” or “No, I wont change defensive schemes even it helps the team get better.”
This, of course, does not mean other NFL organization don’t send their players to do United Way work or show up for a cancer relay. Each does its fair share of helping communities.
It just seems the Saints, who hope to raise one million dollars for Gulf Coast relief by raffling off a Super Bowl ring, seem to go above and beyond what they’re expected to do.
On Tuesday, The Times-Picayune writer James Varney wrote this about Brees and the Saints:
“When (Brees) first learned of the disastrous British Petroleum spill, Brees said he found himself thinking, "why us?" But after a moment's more reflection, he thought, "why not us," because southern Louisiana has already proven itself such a resilient zone.”
This team has been there before and if things in the Gulf worsen or another disaster befalls the hardened people of Louisiana, expect for the Saints to be there again. No sports fan will be surprised.