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Halo 01-26-2010 10:13 AM

"Wait 'till next year" NO MORE: New Orleans Saints to Super Bowl
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The cry of “wait until next year” applies to all sports teams who fall short of their goal of winning a championship. Hope springs eternal when teams convene for their next season. Some have legitimate aspirations while others are doomed before they even get started due to a lack of appreciable talent.

The 2009 New Orleans Saints were a team who had a right to dream the big dream. The offensive talent was abundant. The defense had a new coordinator, a revamped secondary and a new attitude. The kicking game was infused with a young punter who hit them high and deep and could blast kickoffs into the end zone with regularity.

While many who have been in the New Orleans area since day one of the history of the franchise when they first set foot on the field officially on September 17, 1967 understood the promise of this year’s New Orleans Saints, there was still that lingering trepidation, some cause for pause because of the very nature of the history of the organization.

Following the events of January 24, 2010, that lingering doubt is no longer what this franchise is about. The ignominious history of the New Orleans Saints is history. A new chapter in the book has begun and is about to be written. The New Orleans Saints are in the Super Bowl, leaving four other franchises as the only ones not to make it to the big game.

Whether the Saints defeat the Colts in Super Bowl 44 or not, the Saints have, in the words of a former television series and movie trilogy, “boldly gone where no man has gone before,” at least, any man dressed in black and gold with a Fleur de Lis as a symbol.

While the Colts are favored to win the big game, we have learned that this New Orleans Saints team is special and cannot be sold short. Such is the nature of the sport.

As I searched for how to describe what I witnessed when the Saints downed the Vikings 31-28 in overtime, the emotions ran the gamut from pure joy to serious emotion.

As a native New Orleanian, I can vividly recall sitting in the south end zone of Tulane Stadium for that first Saints game against the Los Angeles Rams. Bruce Gossett kicked off. John Gilliam field it at the six-yard line and promptly returned it 94 yards for a touchdown. Gilliam was running away from where we were seated. As an 11-year old, I was in awe; in awe of the colors, the pageantry, the touchdown run on the first play in franchise history and, perhaps most of all, the noise. I had never heard anything as loud before.

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