The offseason series "Where Were You" is back, and ready to take you on another stroll down memory lane, looking back at the most famous and infamous moments in franchise history, through the recollections of Who Dat Nation.
The 2003 New Orleans Saints came into Jacksonville with a 7-7 record in Week 16 with faint hopes of a playoff birth still clinging to life. The team was looking to carry over some momentum from their 45-7 trouncing of the New York Giants in the Superdome just one week before (the also infamous "Joe Horn Phone" game), and the Jaguars at 4-10 appeared to be fair game. The Saints needed to win their final two games coupled with losses from Dallas and Seattle to remain in playoff contention.
The Saints, unsurprisingly, played down to the level of their competition and meandered through the entire game. Trailing 13-20 with 7 seconds remaining, the Saints had the ball at their own 25 yard line. On 2nd and 10, the most remarkable and unexpected thing happened.
Here are both the amazing touchdown and crushing miss in all of their glory:
Wow, both are still stunning to this day. The Saints, of course, lost 19-20 and eliminated themselves from playoff contention for the 2003 season. The Saints would have missed the playoffs anyway, due to a Dallas victory that same day, but that fact did little to heal the wound in the moment. The Saints would go on to defeat those same Cowboys the very next week, to end the 2003 season with an 8-8 record. The "River City Relay" itself won the 2004 ESPY Award for Best Play.
I'll start the conversation:
I didn't see this game live on television, as it wasn't televised locally, but I do remember watching whatever NFC game that FOX was televising that day from home. Late in the game. FOX interrupted with their "Game Break" and showed the relay play in it's entirety, I jumped off the couch and cheered as if I were there. Well, without missing a beat, within moments another "Game Break" came on with John Carney's missed extra point. I knew it was going to be bad because why on Earth would an extra point come up on a Game Break?
The feeling of the two plays happening in succession was like watching your winning lottery numbers get called on television, then the host saying "Wait, did I say 6? I meant 9, the last winning number is 9!". I was pretty disappointed in the end but not really all that mad, personally. Knowing that Dallas had beat New York, the Saints were basically out anyway, and who's to say the Saints would even win that game in overtime even if Carney made the extra point? The Saints had been outplayed the entire game with the exception of the final, flukey play.
In the end it was more embarrassing than anything, and around 2003 the last thing any of us Saints fans needed was an embarrassment to answer for, especially coming off such a sensational play. History has been kind to the "River City Relay" even though it was immediately followed by a huge gaffe, and to this day I am still proud of the effort and determination shown by the Saints in that one singular play.
So tell us your stories, memories, and impressions from this unbelievable moment in Saints history. Where were you, Who Dat Nation?