I'm a Texas boy, but my heart belongs to New Orleans, the city of my birth, and the long time central hub of my extended family. My dad was a Saints fan from the beginning of the franchise. He went to some of the Archie Manning games. His support, while constantly being tested, was unwavering. I grew up a Saints fan because my dad was a Saints fan. And my brother a fan for the same reason. Regardless of where we moved, we were Saints fans. Regardless of how many games we lost, we were Saints fans. Losing season after losing season, we were Saints fans. And it wasn't easy. Growing up in Texas, especially into the early 90's, everything was Cowboys, Cowboys, Cowboys. Enough to make you want to puke. In my house, they were the Cowpatties, but they still won all the time anyway. I clung to my Saints. And so did my family.
|Pictured: Saints fans for decades and decades...|
In Autumn of 2008, my dad was diagnosed with a very aggressive lung cancer. Five months later, he was gone.
It's still very hard for me to write to about my dad, maybe even more so now that i'm a father, but what his New Orleans Saints would go on to do that coming season was the kind of sentimental crap you see in bad movies. A 13-0 start to the season. Complete and utter dominance in a playoff game. An NFC Championship game decided by a field goal in overtime. And then finally...finally...a trip to the Super Bowl and a win in spectacular fashion.
A couple of years ago, there was a commercial on television (i don't remember what for) that was a series of home videos recorded on cameras, phones, and what have you of various Super Bowl XLIV parties and the fan reactions when Tracy Porter intercepted Peyton Manning and ran it in for the touchdown. They very well could have taken a video of my house that night. My brother and i went bananas. We called my sister. My mom was with us. Everything felt right. My dad waited 40 years for his team to win, and they finally did it.
And that is why that football season, and that championship win pretty much sated me for all sports ever. More than when my 2005 Longhorns won a championship. More than when my Boston Red Sox defied a decades long baseball curse back in 2004. That Saints Super Bowl win was about the most cathartic thing in the world for my grieving family at that time. And i love them for it. Who Dat?!
(To lighten the mood for a sec, one of my favorite texts that i received that night came from an old friend and read, "I just had a vision of you running down the street...sans pants!")