A defining moment in Saints history
In all of Saints history, there have been three moments that stand out as the most definitive.
The first took place Sept. 25, 2006, when during the New Orleans’ Saints first home game following Katrina, Steve Gleason blocked a punt early in the first quarter of the game. Curtis Deloatch recovered the ball in the Falcons’ end zone, scoring a touchdown for the Saints.
In that moment, grown men and women sobbed with what for many were the deepest, most painful and concurrently most joyful wails they had ever experienced, as they were embraced by the much needed catharsis brought on by that deflected ball. With one blocked punt, Steve Gleason turned our despair into hope, and we knew we were going to be okay, Katrina be damned.
The second was delivered on February 7, 2010, when the Saints defeated the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV with a score of 31-17. It was a day many believed we would never see. On that day, the world was rooting for the Saints and New Orleans. Truth be told, there were probably many a Colts fan who secretly rooted for us as well. And again, we wept.
On February 10, 2010, we experienced a third unforgettable experience when an estimated 800,000 fans filled the streets of New Orleans for the victory parade celebrating our new Super Bowl Champions. More tears. More joy.
It’s the day that, by all rights, the New Orleans Saints should be facing the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. But what has been called the most egregious officiating in sports history, the infamous referee “no call” in the final two minutes of the game cheated the Saints and its fans out of that moment.
Today, the streets of New Orleans will be filled with crowds that, in all likelihood, will exceed those of the 71,000 seat stadium in which the Saints should be playing today. We won’t be rioting with rage or crying in our beers. We’ll be doing what we do best: celebrating the Saints and everything they mean to us.
The rest of the world doesn’t get it, and most likely never will. And that’s okay.
Today we will show the world that “winning” isn’t about the final score of a game. It’s about resilience. It’s about getting back up, no matter how much our hearts are broken, and embracing the attitude of champions. It’s about moving forward with an undeniable resolve to show the world that our spirits cannot be defeated.
It’s going to be epic.
In the meantime, buckle up, NFL teams. Because as was the case in 2006 and 2010, we’re coming back with a vengeance. And just as they are right now, the world will continue to root for the New Orleans Saints. We’ve got our eyes on the prize, and nothing’s going to stop us.
And what a sweet victory that will be.