What it really means to New Orleans

The victory by the New Orleans Saints, 31-17 over the Colts of Indiana in the 44th Super Bowl in NFL history, was frankly a sight to behold both in Miami and in New Orleans. Eruptions of joy and euphoria of the highest degree has overtaken New Orleans for the last three days. With Mardi Gras rolling along, the Super Bowl victory party and Mardi Gras have melded into one big We Love New Orleans Festival. There is certainly nothing wrong with that and I think many locals would give you a look and say…we deserve this one. Can’t really disagree with that. Anyone who has ever rooted for the hapless Saints deserves this one. And we never want it to end.

As the seconds clicked down on the Saints dominating, invigorating, full of heart and guts comeback victory, it’s funny the things that come to mind. For some reason I thought of the first time the Saints had a chance just to make the playoffs in 1983. I was in my older brothers car, he was driving me somewhere, and we were listening to the end of the Saints-Rams game. Saints win, they make the playoffs for the first time ever. Of course the Saints lose on a last second field goal. Of course they had given up TWO interception returns for touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown to get to the point of losing at the last second. That’s what Saints fans expected. Find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. My other thought drifted to September 25th, 2006. The return to the dome. I was there for that one too and that victory over Atlanta was the starting point for this Saints team bringing New Orleans it’s first professional world championship.

What does it all really mean though? Can a world championship in a professional sport change New Orleans for the better? Can it fill the pot-holes and rebuild the houses and parks and businesses that all are in need of rebuilding? Can it turn inept politicians into politicians who lead by example? Does a world championship end the years of frustration from the citizens when it comes to a racial divide?

Of course, a championship does not solve any of those issues. Trophy’s don’t hammer nails or magically turn a bigot into a diverse human being. But New Orleans and frankly America in general would be wrong to just dismiss this as another sports team winning a championship and moving on to the next big story. What these Saints showed is that a commitment by everyone, putting your own personal needs to the side maybe, to accomplish something bigger than themselves can be done. When everyone is on the same page, focused on the same goal, this Saints victory shows that nothing is impossible.

The Saints have done their part. They showed the path to greatness. Teamwork, accountability, passion, faith and trust in each other. Now it’s time for the citizens of this great city to come together and carry the banner from here. The Saints did their part, now it’s time for us to make it really matter.

2 Comments so far

  1. NO_Doc (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2010 @ 11:42 am

    I couldn’t agree more. If it takes a football team to get the message across to the people of the area that just because you’ve been pathetic for decades, it doesn’t mean you have to stay pathetic, so be it. I think as you pointed out, the reason the Saints won was because they were not playing the ‘me first’ game. So many local and state politicians (and it doesn’t matter what sex, race, age, political affiliation, etc.) are all about the ‘what’s in it for me’. Luckily, Jim Letten looks to be a team player that can quarterback us to a better place. Still, there is only so much one man can do. The electorate needs to start removing the eyesores and getting people in who will do what’s needed to make a better place for us and our kids to live in.

  2. Matt Reynnolds (unregistered) on February 24th, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    This is and was something very special. It brought people together all over the state and beyond. All the people that remain displaced were able to feel at one with their old city again and it was truly special. Just take the scenes on Bourbon Street or in Lucy’s bar when Drew Brees ran the crowd through his rallying call.

    It will live long in the memory for all the Who Dat Nation.

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