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JOESAM2002 12-22-2003 12:11 PM

Only the Saints........
Forecast: Only the Saints
06:11 PM CST on Sunday, December 21, 2003

Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer

Did Sundays game really happen? No it couldn’t have. Something that surreal can’t possibly take place on a football field. No team could score a game-tying touchdown so miraculous it defies words, logic, or explanation and then miss the game tying extra point?

If I told you such a tale you’d probably ask me if I had lost sense of my faculties.

Only the Saints could and did. What else can be said? Only the Saints could waste the greatest play in their history.

After countless times of watching other teams prayers being granted against them the Saints had one of their own answered, and then couldn’t execute one of footballs most basic functions.

The play was as beautiful a thing as can be seen. Stallworth catches a simple pass, breaks a tackle, then a desperation lateral to Lewis, a flip to Deuce, and Deuce lobs a pass to no one but out of nowhere Jerome Pathon is there. 15,10,5 touchdown Saints, the only thing missing was the tuba player in the end zone.

John Carney is on to kick the extra point and send the game to overtime. What no one knew was, especially Saints play-by-play man Jim Henderson, who had barely caught his breath, was that he was about give one of his most memorable calls ever and it would be on a PAT.

“Nooooooo! He missed the extra point wide right! Oh my God! How could he do that?� The pain in his voice summed up the whole 2003 season.

I’ve watched and rooted for the Saints all of my 27 years and probably will never see an ending so beautifully bitter sweet if I watch the Saints till I’m 100.

In a way it was the perfect ending to the season. The Saints had plenty of chances but couldn’t cash in on any one of them. From Deuce getting stuffed against the Panthers, to Joe Horn’s dropped touchdown against the Bucs. And Sunday the stake was driven into the Saints on a shanked point after. In a season, which the Saints found new and excruciating ways to lose, Sunday’s lose tops them all, past, present, and future.

The worst thing about Sunday’s game was the Saints lost a shot at NFL immortality. By not converting the extra point the play could become a footnote in history but should the Saints have gone on to win the game it would have been given a cool title like,� The Christmas Miracle� or some other catchy name. The play would have taken its place next to the ‘Immaculate Reception’ and ‘The Music City Miracle’ in the pantheon of NFL Films greatest moments. Now it will on be lumped in with all the other heartbreaking moments in Saints history known as the ‘Miracle Miss’ and only Saint fans will remember it. Or it will be remembered as the craziest ending in the history of football.

But for Saints fans it was if Santa had them a giant present beautifully wrapped with a shiny silk bow on top only to have the fans open it to find a lump of coal.

It would figure. Only the Saints.

(Ralph will now start therapy twice a week to deal with the pain. He can be comforted at

BLIMEY 12-22-2003 12:30 PM

Only the Saints........
This play, or series of plays, does deserve to be named.


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