Sunday, January 14, 2007

When the Saints go marching in: Tonight, my oldest sports loyalty of all finally paid off. I’ve been a fan of the New Orleans Saints my entire life — unlike, say, the Blazers, the Ducks, the ‘Cats, the Cubs, the Suns or the D’backs, I was born to the Saints — and tonight, the Saints beat the Eagles 27-24 to pull within one game of the Super Bowl for the first time. Saints fans have a special chant for that: “Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Who dat! Who dat!” And tonight, I screamed that, at the top of my lungs, in a bar in downtown Orlando. From the Associated Press:

To constant chants of “DEUCE!” or “REG-GIE! REG-GIE!” the Saints used an assortment of spectacular plays to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-24.

“This year, some things have happened for us and it’s like, wow, this may be destiny,” McAllister said.

“It means everything,” Bush said. “All that stuff we went through as a team, these are the type of games we live for. And this game is even bigger for the city.”

The Saints are the first team in NFL history to make a conference championship after losing 13 or more games the previous season.

With victory secured for the Saints (11-6) on McAllister’s powerful rushes for a clinching first down to run out the clock, team owner Tom Benson did his “Benson Boogie” on the field. The players hugged and saluted their long-suffering fans while a jazz band belted out tunes.

“I think it means a tremendous amount,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “You could see it and feel it after the game, people still standing and yelling and screaming.”


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