Hell has froze over

All my life I have been a Saints fan. Since the opening game when John Gilliam ran the first kick off back for a touchdown. We have endured way more downs than ups.

I remember watching poor Archie Manning and my dad sick at his stomach at the losses, but right back the next weekend watching, hoping, praying and always thinking, well there is next year. Next year seemed to never come.

Oh there were flashes to get our hopes up. The dome patrol and Bobbie Hebert having three winning seasons in a row. Making the playoffs but always losing. Seems we had more ways to lose the big game than carter had pills.

I was in the dome when we clinched our first ever Western division title in 1991. We beat San Fransisco, without Montana of course. Then lost in the first playoff game.

When we finally won our first playoff game I was in my deer stand with a little 5″ tv so I could watch the game. I had to stay way after dark to see if they would once again blow a 21 point lead.

Then in 2006 another savior came to the team and carried us to where we had never been. The NFC title game. But on a snowy night at Soldier field we came up short, we all knew there would be next year. However 2007 and 2008 were very disappointing. Too many injuries and a lack of defense doomed us to the bottom once again. The only bright spot was Drew almost broke Marino’s record, but once again we came up just short.

So it was we looked forward to the 2009 season, hoping we could get over the hump. We had a new defensive co-ordinator in Greg Williams and a new scheme.  We started out like gang busters, we could put up 40, come from behind, win on the ground or the air, win by defense dare we say undefeated. Then about week 8 the wheels started to come off.

Injuries to key defensive players allowed for close games, just barely squeaking out wins till finally we lost to the surging Cowboys. To make matters worse we lost in overtime to the lowly Buccaneers. Then with the undefeated season gone we rested our starters and lost the last game. 13 wins to open but three straight losses to close.

The pundits, analysts and media talking heads abandoned us and started to say the same old Aints. No team had lost its last 3 games and made it to the super bowl let alone win it. We were a long shot but we had two weeks and home field to prepare.

In comes Kurt Warner and the red hot Cardinals. When the smoke cleared another super bowl winner and future hall of famer went down. We were going back to the NFC title game for the second time. This time it was not in the frigid cold but at OUR HOUSE. Against the Vikings and Brett Favre.

The NFC champ game was as hard fought as any game I had ever seen. Favre was beat, hit, sacked and bruised. I never seen a man take such a beating since the Archie Manning days. When the final gun went off the score was tied. Sudden death, oh how we feared it. How many times and ways had we lost before. But not this time!

When Garrett Hartley kicked the bowl, through the goal, it was the New Orleans saints holding the George Halas trophy for the first time in franchise history. We had earned the right to play Payton Manning and the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Miami, Fl.Drew Brees had been magnificent in the two playoff games. Throwing for 6 touchdowns and no interceptions. But a much tougher test was coming.

In Miami no one save a few faithful gave us any chance. Why this was Payton manning. he doesn’t make mistakes, he doesn’t throw pick 6’s. They just have too many weapons for the Saints. The Colts had been here before in 2006 on this very field. The upstart Saints were just outmatched. Even the colts kicker was more experienced than our little young guy that had only kicked 25 FG’s.

The Saints outplayed, out coached and out gutted the Colts. After the 1st qtr. Drew Brees was a surgeon carving up the Colts defense. The little young kicker set a super bowl record, with three kicks over 40 yds. No coach had ever called an on side kick to open the second half. The feared pass rush of the colts only got to Drew once. On a Jeremy Shockey reception and a Lance Moore 2 pt conversion we were up by 7 with 5 minutes left. On that drive Drew set a super bowl record, completing 7 passes to seven different receivers with no drops. This was Payton Manning the greatest 4th qtr QB of all time, surely he can go down and tie the game. He had been perfect all night. This night it was different. On a 3rd and 5 from The Saints 30 he dropped back and looked for Reggie Wayne on a play they ran 1000’s of times. It was another perfect pass for Manning. Unfortunately it was completed to Tracy Porter and 74 yds. later Manning had thrown his first pick 6 in the season. The Saints now led by 14 with just over 2 minutes left. Surely, enough time for the anointed greatest QB of all time to tie the game. But on 4th and goal with 44 seconds left he came up short and Drew Brees took a knee to give the Saints its first every Vince Lombardi trophy as Super Bowl XLIV champions.Brees finished the night 32-39 passes for 288 yds, 2 Td’s and no INT’s. His passer rating for the 3  playoff games was an unheard of 117. His 32 completions tied a super bowl record.Twice, in the last two years, Manning had beaten Drew out for the league MVP. That night Drew was named the Super Bowl MVP.

Now what was this about hell freezing over. It was always said that Hell would freeze over and pigs would fly before the Saints won a super bowl. With the blizzard in Washington DC hell has frozen over and it is fitting that the federal government is shut down. Right now we are having the largest snow storm Louisiana has had in 20 years. Down at Robert Lee’s pig farm I saw one swine fly south for the winter.

In this magical mystery tour season The Saints have beaten 5 super bowl MVP’s and future hall of famers. Way to go boys

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