Okay, I guess I’m over it by now – the New Orleans Saints aren’t going to Super Bowl XLI. Having lost to the Chicago Bears last week and being the die-hard New Orleanian that I am, I had a bit of a fit. So I stabbed my couch with a kitchen knife – my bad.
But for once in my life, I was proud to be a Saints fan. And for the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast nearly two years ago, thousands of people from New Orleans who are still caught up in the tangled mess of trying to put their lives back together had something to celebrate. For a little while it seemed like some sort of divine intervention, whereby God Himself was giving the city a gift in the form of a winning season for the Saints as a means of apologizing for what happened down there.
“Man, I done lost everything,” I’d often hear from some poor individual, usually sipping on their fourth or fifth beer in a bar somewhere in Uptown. “My house I lived in my whole life got eight feet of water, Allstate insurance ain’t give me crap, and now almost two years later, I’m still living in a damn FEMA trailer. But you know what? I been a Saints fan for 30 years, and I ain’t never seen ‘dem play like this … It feels good!”
Over winter break, everything in New Orleans was black and gold. While watching live music, fans of the Rebirth Brass Band would shout a “WHO ‘DAT” chant between songs, followed by the band playing a funky, glorified version of “When the Saints go Marching in” with lyrical references to Miami and the Super Bowl. Motorists touted black and gold bumper stickers with sayings like, “Finally, a BUSH we can all agree on,” in reference of course to Reggie Bush, one of our newest Saints.
I’m telling you, the good mood down there was so tangible, you would honestly get the chills after seeing the way people celebrated after winning games.
It was supposed to be America’s feel-good-story of the year. Think about it – if the Saints made it to Miami and you weren’t an Indianapolis Colts fan, wouldn’t you be cheering for Reggie Bush and Drew Brees? Of course you would – that is, unless you didn’t have a soul.
It was really quite sad for me, watching the end of that National Football Conference championship game. I watched the game at the ESPN Zone by Metro Center over $6 beers and equally overpriced nachos, all the while high-fiving fellow Saints fans after delicious plays like Bush’s running front flip into the end zone. But as the game wore on, so did the pints.
Soon after it looked like we were pretty much “F’ed” in the “A,” an obnoxiously loud Chicago Bears fan sitting at the table next to ours began to taunt me. I then began to reach for an eating utensil, presumably to use as some sort of weapon, when a friend of mine reminded me that tomorrow I would be back in college with cute GW girls and fun times, while said Bears fan would probably be back at Pentagon City working at a Verizon Wireless kiosk. I put down the utensil, but it still stung like hell.
I guess I’ll be rooting for the Colts come Sunday night. I mean, if Peyton Manning – the son of a former Saints player who also happens to be a New Orleans native – gets to play in the big game, I suppose that’s closer than we’ve ever been before anyway, right?
But just you wait until next season – we’ll be back, kickin’ ass again, but next time Sean Payton better be making his Saints practice in a giant, industrial-sized meat freezer. This way, Drew Brees will be used to playing in the God-awful temperature of whatever freezing cold city we’re forced to play in for a championship title next year.
-The writer, a junior majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet humor columnist. He will hold a candlelight vigil in his room on Sunday night, for any Saints fans whose spirits have been broken.