We all know the story.
The Cinderella Story became a reality as the New Orleans Saints lifted a city and claimed its first Super Bowl victory. The Saints took the NFL by storm and finally got all the pieces of the puzzle together.
But a new question: Can they do it again?
Many think the New Orleans Saints only got lucky in their championship run. Many critics still pass by the Saints in their power polls.
Here's a quick look at a few reasons the Saints are still the best team in the NFL. A team prepared to win only its second Lombardi Trophy in history.
A normal Superbowl champion team is picked apart by free agency and trades the following season. This has not happened to the Saints. After the Superbowl victory, the Saints only lost two starters, Tackle Jamaal Brown and Linebacker Scott Fujita.
After they traded Jamaal Brown to the Redskins for draft picks, and Scott Fujita left the team after becoming an unrestricted free agent, the Saints have immediately gone to work to replace these players.
The Saints recently signed second round draft pick Charles Brown, an offensive tackle from USC. The Saints have worked and picked up a couple of linebackers with Clint Ingram and Stanley Arnoux leading the group. Not to mention the Saints still have Jonathan Vilma and Scott Shanle.
The Saints drafted CB Patrick Robinson in the first round to compete for the already deep cornerback position.
The Saints are constantly adding new talent and signing draft picks to ensure a complete team has the competition to always play at 100%.
Unlike other teams in the NFL, all of the players on the saints roster came out of the season without any serious injuries. A few bruises here and there, but in all there weren't any problems.
This could be helpful because everyone will be together during training camp and the preseason. This gives the team more time to work with each other and develop a better connection on the football field.
A lack of question marks concerning big players and also a lack of nagging injuries throughout the roster always proves to help at the beginning of the season.
When a team is fresh, they perform at higher levels.
The Saints are no more the "Aints" or the trophy case "bad" team of the NFL.
After winning the Superbowl, the Saints are now the top dogs of the NFL. They now have the confidence to dominate the league. They overcame the odds and critics' doubts and won it all.
Now they are motivated to do it again. Many sports fans claim the Saints were a fluke, and they were just lucky to get to the Superbowl. It is time to silence these critics once and for all.
And the Saints have never been more confident they will succeed than now.
The "Who Dat Nation" has developed into one of the largest and loudest fan bases in all of sports. This is a result of the close connection between the Saints franchise and the city of New Orleans.
Never has sports seen such a closeness between team and city. After Hurricane Katrina, the Saints were the one shining light in all of the disaster. The Saints lifted the New Orleans area, resulting in this emotional connection.
For example, the Saints received a warm welcome of 22,000 people at the airport when they returned from a Superbowl victory. That huge a number came just to witness the Saints get off a plane.
And when the Saints held their Superbowl victory parade, nearly a million people flocked the streets of New Orleans to celebrate the moment. Considering there isn't even 500,000 people in the entire city of New Orleans tells you they have quite a fan base.
All of this culminates in the intense noise level of the Superdome when the Saints play. Opposing offenses are not able to hear the play calls in the huddle, creating an advantage for the Saints.
Finally, these fans provide the motivation to win. The ultimate motivation, the fans have molded the Saints into a hungry team.
On top of all the pluses of the team, the Saints have an easy schedule this upcoming season.
The schedule consists of only four games with teams of 10 or more wins last season. And only half of the teams had winning seasons.
Plus, the Saints are a part of a relatively weak NFC South Division. A rebuilding team in Tampa Bay and many new faces in Carolina quickly knock those teams out of contention.
But Atlanta has slowly been gaining talent and may be ready to sneak up in the ranks of the NFC. No matter, the Saints are unquestionably the best team in the NFC South.
Garret Hartley and Thomas Morstead are one of the best duos of kickers in the NFL.
Garret Hartley joined the Saints towards the end of the 2008 season and was an instant success. Kicking 13 for 13, he was perfect.
After a suspension at the beginning of the 2009 season, Hartley has had a 91.7% kicking average with the Saints. Hartley kicked the game-winning field goal in the NFC championship game, becoming the hero of New Orleans. He also kicked three perfect field goals to propel the Saints to victory in the Superbowl. Hartley is at the top of his game and one of the best kickers in the NFL presently.
The Saints traded up to get Thomas Morstead in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft. This move opened an opportunity for critics to bash the Saints, claiming the punter wasn't worth it.
Oh, how the rookie has proved them wrong. Easily one of the top punters in the league, Morstead does kickoffs, punts, and his specialty---onside kicks. Out of Morstead's 99 regular season kickoffs, 58 landed in the end zone. Out of his 58 regular season punts,18 were downed inside the 20.
And no one will ever forget the onside kick in the Superbowl that flipped the game into the Saints favor.
These two players have become vital parts of the Saints team, and they will only improve with experience.
Gregg Williams has reshaped this New Orleans defense into an offense. Using multiple blitz packages, Williams has his defense acting as the predator instead of the prey. He has formed a big play defense where everyone knows their part and understands the defense fully.
In the 2009 regular season, the Saints defense had a new look. With pick sixes, bone-crushing sacks, and touchdown dances the Saints took the NFL by storm, dominating any turnover possibility it had.
Amassing 35 sacks (13th in the NFL), 26 interceptions (3rd in the NFL), and 8 defensive touchdowns (1st in the NFL), the Saints were always ready to snag an interception and bring it home. This is a new defensive era under Gregg Williams.
With a defensive line constantly blitzing the quarterback from every direction, cornerbacks shutting down wide receivers on the edges, and safeties leaping for the interception at any moment, this is one dangerous defense. The Saints struck gold with Gregg Williams. He has formed one of the most lethal defenses in the NFL.
The specialty of the Sean Payton system is utilizing Drew Brees's ability to quickly scan the field and find an open man in a split second. This ability allows the Saints offense to equally distribute the ball to every man on the field.
In the 2009 regular season, ten different Saints players received a touchdown pass, while six different players scored rushing touchdowns. Seven different Saints players received 35 or more receptions. Three different players rushed the ball 70 or more times. These statistics prove the immense balance throughout the entire team.
And the thing that makes this system work so effectively is the diverse group of talent. Every single player has a certain talent he excels at more than every other player. They each have their certain ability on offense which gives Brees so many options. This is where the true mastery of the offense Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis have assembled lies.
Whether it's Devery Henderson burning defenders down field for a touchdown, Marquez Colston using his height to outreach cornerbacks deep midfield, Reggie Bush using his moves to juke and jump over defenders to the goal line, Lance Moore catching the slot pass for a quick first down, Pierre Thomas breaking free on a screen play for big yardage, Jeremy Shockey turning into defenders and using his huge body to snag an easy pass, Aaron Stecker pounding it up the middle on third-and-one, or Robert Meachem trying to keep two feet in for an end zone grab, the Saints always have a different way to score.
It is impossible to cover so many players running so many different patterns. As a result, the Saints offense is unstoppable.
Mickey Loomis, one of the best GMs in sports today is truly the architect of the current Saints team. Originally bringing in Sean Payton and Drew Brees, Loomis brought the Saints out of the Katrina disaster Saints season and into a stable state.
Next, there is Gregg Williams. A stern, down-to-earth guy, Williams has toughened up the Saints defense and made them a hungry group. In 2008, the Saints defense had been at the bottom of the league and was known for being burned and picked apart by even mediocre quarterbacks.
He brought the defense from rock bottom to stardom. By creating unique schemes and blitzes, Williams has utilized every player's ability to the highest level. Everyone has a part in the big picture, and everyone knows their part in this picture.
Gregg Williams made a huge impact and brought this defense from zero to hero. He now has one of the best units in the NFL.
Finally there is Sean Payton. Trained under Bill Parcells, Payton has an offensive mind that can be matched by few. A brilliant motivator, Payton always has the team hyped up before the games.
He knows how to prepare his players for the season and for each game, as he has created an intense training camp and practice routine for every player to keep them in top physical condition.
Also an offensive coordinator, Payton has finally created a near perfect balance on offense between the pass and the run. With literally a playbook just for trick plays such as onside kicks and triple reverses, you never know what Payton will pull out of his sleeve.
Payton has established a very close relationship with Drew Brees, creating a dangerous duo. The two have become close friends and partners in developing offensive plays to beat the defense.
An all around great coach, Payton is one of the top geniuses in the NFL today.
This reason speaks for itself.
The undisputed leader of the Saints team, Drew Brees is the greatest quarterback New Orleans has had in its history. There are too many positives to list for this guy.
A hard worker, Brees is the first guy into the Saints practice facility and the last guy out.
With an unbelievable number of weapons at his disposal, Brees scans the entire field in a split second and makes the best decision as to where to throw the ball, creating an easy grab for his targets.
An unbelievable pocket presence, Brees can scramble out of the pocket and pitch it short for a first down. The Saints have had one of the lowest number of sacks in the whole league under Brees.
And if he is given time in the pocket behind his Pro Bowl offensive line, he will pick apart any defense, no matter the coverage.
Brilliant at the line, Brees will read the defense and audible into the perfect pass play to counter the defense's scheme.
The most accurate QB in the business today, Drew Brees had an NFL record 70.2 completion percentage in the 2009 season.
The Super Bowl MVP and probably the best QB in the league today, Brees also has the cast to help him. Behind a brilliant offensive line, with an unbelievable number of targets around him, Brees and his offense are unstoppable.
This is reason enough to understand that the Saints will win the Superbowl two years in a row.