Yesterday, the Saints did come marching in. Through New Orleans, in a Superbowl celebration when the football team brought the Lombardi trophy to a town that, until this year, had yet to see it enshrined there. Not seen were the once famous paper bags, now put away forever, along with the nickname the “Aint’s”. Mardi Gras came early for the city that started it’s celebration Sunday night on Bourbon Street and continued on through the next day. Across the country, Saints fans were jubilant. On Facebook, a picture of Jimmy Buffet was posted, posing with the Lombardi and author Anne Rice wrote how she was wishing that she, too, was there amongst the other fans. No doubt, there were a lot of folks who once called New Orleans home, were having the same feelings, wanting to be there, to join the celebration. I understand that desire, all too well.
On the flip side, fans of the Indianapolis Colts will still be feeling the sting of having watched their team get to and fall short of bringing the trophy back to Indianapolis. Hopes dashed and expectations, built on the hype of the possibility of their quarterback being crowned the greatest ever, fell oh so short. It would be a bitter pill whose taste will linger for a little while, at least until next season. I’m still remembering the taste of that pill from Superbowl XXX, which had been served, ironically, the same way that this years Colts received theirs.
As for me, I was a neutral observer. When asked who I picked to win the Superbowl, my response was for the Colts, of course. Not because they were an AFC team, not because it was a chance for a quarterback to cement his legacy (let’s face it, Manning with all his records cemented it when he won his first trophy). For me, I was pulling for the Colts for the sake of maintaining harmony in the household. After all, with my husband being a Colts fan, it’s an unspoken rule that we pull for the others team when ours aren’t in it just so things don’t end up flying at each others head. Not to say, I wouldn’t have been happy for a Saints win, just that well, you know, you want your spouse to be happy, right?
Amazingly though, Superbowl 44 became a growing and learning process for me. No, I gave up brooding about the Steelers not being the ones in the game back in the 80’s. My disappointment ended a week after they were eliminated and the playoffs began. Nope, that wasn’t what I learned.
1) I learned that I could be very empathetic. When it was apparent that the Saints won, I didn’t take the opportunity to remind my husband that the Steelers had two Superbowl rings under Ben, to Manning’s 1. Instead, I just went to sleep, knowing that my husband went online to vent.
2) My husband took the loss a hell of a lot better then I did in Superbowl 30. I remember ranting through the house about O’Donnell somehow thinking that Larry Brown was a Steelers receiver, not just at the time, but for days. Since Peyton’s interception, not one word has been mentioned about it.
3) I found another reason to be very proud of my daughter. At 21, my daughter professes no desire to watch football, though she does from time to time ask about a game. Last year, she told me she was pulling for the Cardinals to win, because of Arizona being the underdogs and their history. This year, on her way back to school, she advised me she was pulling for the Saints. Having professed that day she was not interested in watching the Superbowl, it caught me by surprise when she called home to say “that was a pretty interception, wasn’t it”. No, the pride didn’t come from her actually watching the game, but her learning how to rub it in when the team she pulls for wins. Even my husband couldn’t help but smile at that.
While the number 44 happened to be a magical number for the New Orlean Saints, their winning the Superbowl brought to home one sad fact. It officially ended the season and everything is now just a memory. Though Saints fans will continue to celebrate the victory and watch and rewatch game highlights and Colts fans will turn the channel when game highlights are shown again for the 20,000th time. The rest of us will still be complaining about the stupid decision to have the Pro Bowl right before the Superbowl and we’ll be looking at who was let go and picked up in free agency and why it was a stupid (or great) move. Several fans have already started their mock draft and developing their own “war rooms”. We’ll be anxiously waiting the Combine and draft day, then mini camps and try to get our fix through stations like NFL Network and ESPN until pre-season.
As for me and mine, well, once again, our garage needs to be reorganized.
Enjoy Saints fan, you deserve it (now burn those paperbags)…and for the rest of us, here’s to next season.