If you want to know why we believed this season, if you want to know why we knew this team really was something special, this is why:
Poor, sad Tom Brady. I like to think he's saying "we are so f@cked."
If you want to know how we knew we were going to the Super Bowl, knew it deep down in our bones, even though we were still anxious, even though we knew, rationally, that we couldn't really make it come true just by believing it hard enough, this is why:
Poor, sad Kurt Warner. Poor, sad Brett Favre. Poor, sad Peyton Manning.
February 7, 2010, is a day that I'll never forget. I didn't have the opportunity to go to Miami, but even if I had, I wouldn't have been anywhere else in the world but in New Orleans on that day. The day started off with Mardi Gras parades on St. Charles Avenue; it ended with watching our team win the freaking Super Bowl!!! When the Saints came out of the half and executed that onsides kick, the grown men I watched the game with, including my husband, began crying and spontaneously hugging each other. By the time Tracy Porter got the pick six, we were all levitating off the ground. I had friends and family members who've never cared about football calling me screaming in excitement. Over our Saints.
When the game was over and all of the champagne was gone (most of it ended up on the ground--we were jumping up and down too much to drink it), we walked out of the back yard and into the street. We wanted to watch for fireworks. We watched the game at the house of some friends who live in a college neighborhood, and the street was deathly silent--all of the college kids in the area had gone off to bars to watch the game. So about 15 of us stood on this dark, quiet street and took it all in. We could hear the city erupt around us in joy. And as we turned around, we could hear it from all sides. Fireworks were exploding in the sky and there were just waves of roars and screams rolling in over us. It was amazing.
Do I wish we'd been able to go out to the Quarter and join the party afterwards? Of course. But we had a very sleepy four-year-old to take home, so we did. We stopped at a gas station and joined in on a spontaneous singing of "Halftime" with everyone else pumping gas. And then we went home and watched the game on our DVR. Again. And cried. Again.
New Orleans Saints, you have made our year, our decade, our lives. You have made more people ecstatically happy than you'll probably ever know. That was an amazing year. We believed. Thank you.
Drew Brees at Lucy's Retired Surfers' Bar in New Orleans after the NFC Championship game.