The New Orleans Saints are the Super Bowl Champions. It still hasn’t completely sunk in with me yet. I have to be honest, I cried tears of joy once the clock went 0:00. I’ve been a Saints fan from my childhood. I’ve endured quite a few lean years since my fandom began. I watched people come to games with paper bags over their heads. I constantly heard people call them the “Aints”. For a long time, that’s exactly what they were. I watched them go through quarterback after quarterback after quarterback. I watched the Saints perennial lack of balance. When they had a great defense (The Dome Patrol was one of the best defensive units ever), Their offense was average. When they had explosive offense, they couldn’t stop anyone on defense. I watched Jim Mora choke in the playoffs (ya kiddin me? Playoffs?). I remember meeting Willie Roaf. I remember Eric Martin, Dalton Hilliard, Bobby Hebert, Toi Cook, Sammy Knight, Tyrone Hughes, and so on. I remember when we were made of iron. I remember coming to the realization that the iron was really aluminum when Mike Ditka traded the draft (The Washington Redskins approved) for Ricky Marley Williams. I remember more bad drafts – Jonathan Sullivan, Irv Smith, Alex Molden, Heath Shuler, Danny Wuerfell, etc. I remember the first playoff win of the franchise. I remember when Katrina hit and the Superdome became a place of residency for thousands of displaced New Orleanians. I remember the nomadic 2005 season, that brought us thirteen more losses, a “home game” in New Jersey, and Tom Benson nearly going Buddy Ryan on a reporter in Tiger Stadium. I remember the 2006 offseason, when Miami said No to Drew Brees and we said yes. I remember Reggie Bush “falling” to us at #2 (by his own admission he hasn’t lived up to expectations, but he is still one of the most versatile players in the game and extremely dangerous in space). I remember the Saints drafting Marques Colston, four picks away from Mr. Irrelevant and saying “Who?” I remember the return to the Superdome September 25, 2006. I was in the building. I remember saying to my father and godbrother that Steve Gleason’s blocked punt and Curtis Deloatch’s return was the greatest moment in Saints history. I remember the joy that came to the region when the Saints made the NFC Title game, and the disappointment that followed when they lost. I remember the two mediocre seasons that followed that year, filled with mediocre defense, poor pass coverage, and a lack of turnovers. I remember the 2009 offseason, that brought us Darren Sharper and a little known (to me at the time at least) Jabari Greer. I remember the 13-0 start, the 3 straight losses, and all of the people that jumped off the bandwagon following those losses (especially the one to Tampa Bay). I remember the Saints defeating two Hall of Fame quarterbacks to make it to Super Sunday, and I remember them defeating a third to bring the Lombardi Trophy to New Orleans for the first time. This win is inspiring for me as a fan and personally. When people count you out, if you continue to persevere and strive towards excellence, you will achieve your goal. The Saints came together as a team and bought into the team concept. Mickey Loomis has put excellent pieces in place and has brought in a lot of guys that other teams didn’t want. Darren Sharper was thought to be washed up by plenty of teams. Their leading rusher the last two seasons (Pierre Thomas) is an undrafted free agent. The player who recovered the onside kick (Jonathan Casillas) is also an undrafted free agent. Marques Colston was nearly Mr. Irrelevant. Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans was a fourth round pick out of Bloomsburg. Lance Moore couldn’t crack the practice squad with a lot of teams. Courtney Roby was cast aside by of all teams, the Indianapolis Colts. Drew Brees was overlooked by a lot of teams based on his injury. Even head coach Sean Payton was once demoted on the job when he was with the Giants. I wish my grandfather, my best friend, and my cousin (who passed Friday) would have been here to see this. It was also very fitting that Tracy Porter, the Port Allen, LA native helped punch our ticket to the Super Bowl and sealed the win with critical interceptions, and that Devery Henderson, the Opelousas, LA native (believe it or not this guy was a HB when he first came to LSU) led the Saints in receptions during the playoffs. It doesn’t get more Louisiana (or should I say LaBREESiana) than that. With that being said, this win helps the morale of the region, but don’t be fooled like some of the analysts and think that this solves all of the problems that occurred because of Katrina. The Gulf Coast region is still in rebuild mode, we’re still pushing to get back where we need to be. But if we have the same type of perseverance that the New Orleans Saints have, we will get there. Congratulations to the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, who by the way advanced to the Super Bowl with Garrett Hartley making a 40 yard field goal 4:44 into overtime and won it with a 4th down stop with 0:44 left in the game, in Super Bowl XLIV of course. Enjoy and savor this victory Who Dat Nation Members! Let’s do it again next year! Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Nobody this season!