One of the greatest thrills of professional football occurs when a father gets to sit in front of the television to watch a game with his son. My Dad sat me down way back on January 3, 1988. I was a mere 7-years old and barley understood the game. My Dad was happy to tell me all about how the New Orleans Saints were the worst team he knew of when he was a kid. He could remember the bags, the losing, and all the nutty fans he said the Saints had. I am sure my Dad thought I was going to be Bills fan like him, and I might have been if that day finished differently.
Instead of winning like they were favored to do, the Saints crashed and burned and broke my little heart. I wanted them to win so badly that day. I never felt that way about sports. I liked sports. I loved hockey, but football hadn't made it onto my radar. That day things changed. I was going to be a Saints fan for life. The uniforms were cool, the artificial turf on the Superdome floor looked like it was popping out of my pre-HD television screen, and the quarterback's name was Her-Bert. No, the quarterback's name was Hey-Bear. I wasn't sure at the time. When the game ended, and the Saints had lost, I didn't want to watch football anymore. I went to my room, played with my wrestlers, and didn't look at football again until the Super Bowl party.
Now you know how a kid born in the heart of Buffalo Bills country, 1,232 miles from the Superdome became a die hard Saints fan. But, that isn't what this blog is intended to be about. I sat down tonight to write a blog about eras and give you my list of the top ten plays in the greatest era, the Sean Payton era.
What do I mean by eras? Well, since I became a Saints fan at the end of the 1987 season, the Saints have transitioned through a number of eras. I became a fan during the Jim Mora era. I sometimes call that era the, "10-minute ticker" era because that is when I sat through football games to catch a glimpse of the Saints score every time the 10-minute ticker appeared on the screen. That era ended abruptly with the diddly-poo speech.
Next up, was the Mike Ditka era. I often refer to this era as the, "Did he really agree to wear a dress" era. Or the, "Why does he still have his helmet on" era. If not that, I would call it the, "Well, his teams were pretty good when he was in Chicago" era. My friends would giggle when I called it the, "What Billy Joe is playing QB this week?" era.The Mike Ditka era ended when Ricky Williams sprained his ankle in the pre-season against Miami and a quarterback-less team sputtered to a 3-13 record.
All of the suffering during the Ditka era, paved the way for the Jim Haslett era. I was delighted to call this the, "We won a mother-flipping playoff game" era. Sometimes, I called it the "Did he just throw the ball backwards?" era. I also called it the, "The day I finally seen the Saints play in the Superdome was awesome" era. Sadly, I was forced to call it the, "Jim Haslett handled the Katrina season with class" era. Sometimes I wonder if Jim Haslett would still be the coach today if she wasn't so fierce, so vicious, so destructive.
After all of the tragedy, we were blessed with the beginning of the Sean Payton era. I love to call this era the, "Do you remember when we won the SuperBowl?" era. If I'm in a rush or just want to keep it simple, I call it the "Drew Brees" era. People laugh when I call it the "Please send me my commemorative edition of Sports Illustrated" era.
Someday, (if Dave enjoys my writing) I am up for doing a top 10 list for all of these special eras. I would be interested to read about the eras that came before me. But for tonight, to end this inaugural blog, I present to you...
The Top 10 Plays in the Sean Payton Era
- Tracy Porter Intercepts Payton Manning and takes it all the way: Can you remember the feeling? Do you remember the way the hairs started to stand up all over your body? Do you remember who's arms you jumped into (nice catch, Greggy)? Do you remember when Phil Simms advised us not to blitz?
- Gleason Blocks the Punt: Can you remember the feeling? Can you still hear the noise? Was the Superdome shaking? Was this the moment that you knew New Orleans would be back? Did anyone see the extra point? Can we confirm that any extra point followed this play?
- Tracy Porter Intercepts Brett Favre and takes it some of the way: Honestly, at first I thought he was going all of the way. Do you remember how pissed the Minnesota announcers were at Captain Blue Jeans? Do you remember exhaling? Do you remember believing again that we were going to win the game?
- Garret Hartley sends the Saints to the SuperBowl: Did you think he was going to make it? Were you lucky enough to be on Burbon St when it happened? Did hell freeze over? Did pigs fly?
- Robert Meachem Rips Away the Ball and Scores: Do you remember how long the review was? Were you convinced that the call was going to go against us? Did you get so nervous that you started to put up the Christmas tree?
- Reggie Bush brings the Wood Against Arizona: Don't you wish Reggie Bush would run this fast all of the time?
- Reggie Bush sinks Tampa with a Punt Return: Was this the moment that you stated to believe that things were different? Was this the moment that you started to believe that we were for real?
- Deuce McAllister Seals the Playoff Win: Do you remember when you knew the game was over? Do you remember thinking if Drew just gives it Deuce the game will be over? (Bonus Highlights until they get to my play around the 8:00 minute mark)
- Drew Brees and Lance Moore wish us a Happy Thanksgiving: Do you remember when Mom had to re-arrange Thanksgiving dinner because the Saints were playing? Wasn't it great when Roy Williams fumbled? Did they give Drew Brees the golden turkey bone or whatever they give away?
- Coach Payton has way Bigger Balls than ME: White ball? Blue Ball? I knew the whole time we had it. Isn't that dope who let the ball bounce off his face married to Mr. Hef's girlfriend?
That does it for what is the first of hopefully many blogs here at the Canal Street Chronicles.
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If you enjoyed my work, look for more at http://thesportscasters.blogspot.com
Jeff Duncan is going to be on my podcast on May 3 to talk about his book.
I have a few copies to give away, find out how at http://www.sports-casters.com