Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Saints seal trip to Super Bowl after Favre throws late interception

From the AP via ESPN:

NEW ORLEANS -- A 40-yard field goal in overtime by a little-known kicker could become as famous as jambalaya in these parts.

The New Orleans Saints, a team with no home and an uncertain future five years ago, are heading for their first Super Bowl. By battering Brett Favre and beating the Minnesota Vikings 31-28 Sunday, they set off celebrations on Bourbon Street that locals never could have imagined in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.


Favre threw away Minnesota's best chance to win, tossing an interception deep in New Orleans territory in the closing seconds of regulation. Then the Saints won the coin toss and ended it on Hartley's kick 4:45 into OT.

here for the rest.

Yeah, the Vikings had us. All they had to do was send out the kicker. Instead, they tried to pick up a few more yards, which resulted in the Saints forcing the Vikings' fifth turnover, sending the game into overtime. There's definitely some Super Bowl destiny going on here.

Don't get me wrong. It's not as though it all came down to an interception robbing Favre's last chance at the big one. The Saints' so-so defense was rolling over for the Vikings' high octane offense all day long, but managed to hold the line with more forced turnovers than I have ever seen in a football game--apparently, said the FOX sports announcers, this is one of their specialties. That is, stealing the ball was the Saints' defense modus operandi against the Vikings: the last minute pick was no fluke. It's just how they play the game.

And let's not forget how they kept smacking the shit out of the former Packer QB: today on NPR, former Redskin great
Joe Theismann said that he had never in his life seen a quarterback take the beating Farve took against the Saints on Sunday. And that's really saying something: Theismann's career ended infamously with the brutal snapping of his femur during a game back in 1985.

I haven't been an NFL fan since the Oilers left Houston for Tennessee. I mean, I'll watch a game if it's on, but I can't even get myself on board with Houston's replacement squad, the Texans. College ball, especially when it's burnt orange, has been my love since the mid 90s. But that's probably why I've gotten so excited about the Saints. Being in the New Orleans area on game day is a lot like being in a college town on game day, and not just any college town--NOLA, on Sundays during football season, is more like College Station or Baton Rouge; tumble weeds drift around the city, and businesses virtually shut down because everybody's watching the Saints. The devotion here is absolutely infectious.

So now I say "we" when I'm talking about them. I guess the Saints are now my team. Really, it's been getting to be that way for me for a while. The Saints don't have that shitty corporate business feel that I get from most of the other NFL franchises. They feel as down home as the Texas Longhorns or the LSU Tigers. There's really something going on here with how the team interacts with New Orleans' culture. I mean, the Saints are a big part of the culture here.

If you're going to live in the Crescent City, you might as well give in and go "WHO DAT!" It's like gumbo and Louis Armstrong. If you're not a Saints fan, you're just not getting it. The odds makers are saying the Colts by four. I say they're full of shit.

Tracy Porter #22 of the New Orleans Saints intercepts a pass and returns

in for positive yards late in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings
during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January
24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings kneels on the turf

in pain after he took a hard hit against the New Orleans Saints during the
NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24,
2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)