Monday, January 18, 2010

It's Been A Long Road for the Saints Fan

It's an abnormal feeling for the month of January to almost be over, yet the New Orleans Saints are still playing football. I, along with countless other fans are in the state of denial.

I have followed this franchise my entire life and the good memories have been very short lived. I can still vividly remember the Saints pulling out a 33-30 victory against the Miami Dolphins in Week 6 of the 1995 season. The victory, which I thought was so incredible at the time, pushed the Saints to an amazing record of 1-5.

For year's this franchise has specialized in finding ways to lose and revolutionizing the art of failure. My dad watched it growing up and I watched it growing up. I will never forget my dad telling me about the first game in Saints' history. Saints' John Gilliam took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown.

"Man, we really thought we had a team," my dad would joke.

We, the fans, just became use to it. Use to having seasons fall apart, use to seeing the Saints disappoint us again, and most importantly use to losing. We all became accustomed to the hearing the phrase "well if anyone could do that the Saints could" uttered for every hapless, mishap the team ever endured.

It took this franchise 13 years before they had their first non-losing season, it took 20 years before they ever made the playoffs, and it took 33 years before they every won a playoff game. Yet despite all that fans never lost hope.

Hope. Nothing describes the Saints fan better. Regardless of how bleak things looked fans have always continued to believe good times will eventually come to the Saints. The purest example of this is Hurricane Katrina. Every sign said the Saints were done in New Orleans and that the ship had sailed.

At the worst moment in the city's history, at the very time so many people lost their lives, people came together. They believed. Sure it did not make sense, but it represented more than rooting for a simple sports team. That team symbolized that the city would rebound and recover.

Now here we are on the brink of the New Orleans Saints' second NFC Championship game in four years. It's beyond incredible. I do not know what tomorrow holds in store for the Saints, all I know is the fans, like they have been doing since 1967 will be there and certainly enjoying it.

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