The Saints may not have made the Super Bowl this year (dagnabit, Hans!! why do you keep reminding us of that fact in every single $%&*ing post you've written today? WE GET IT ALREADY!!), but that doesn't mean they're not there in spirit or body. The body of players and coaches who used to work for the Saints, that is.
I thought it might help us feel more connected to the game to find out who from the Patriots and Giants used to be connected to the Saints.
So, make the jump to run down the list of former Saints players and coaches who will be part of the big game later on today...
Rob Ninkovich, OLB, New England Patriots
This may the biggest name of them all on this list. Ninkovich was originally a fifth-round draft choice (135th overall) of the Saints in 2006, and played in 3 games that year, recording two tackles, two assists, and a defensed pass. He played for the Miami Dolphins in 2007 and 2008, before catching on with the Patriots in 2009. This season he notched 80 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, four passes defensed, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions (and one INT TD return!).
We sure could have used that kind of production from a Saints OLB this year...
Steve Weatherford, P, New York Giants
Weatherford appeared in 39 games over three years with the Saints from 2006-2008, averaging 43.5 yards per punt. He was cut seven games into the 2008 season, (after kicking five times for a 35.4 yard average @ Carolina, and just before the Saints got on a plane for London). He kicked for Jacksonville and Kansas City to finish 2008, and then spent 2009 and 2010 with the New York Jets, before joining the Giants in 2011.
The Saints haven't really missed Weatherford, replacing him with a couple of "camp legs" (Ben Graham and Glenn Pakulak) for the remainder of 2008, before drafting the Legatron of Destiny in 2009, Thomas Morstead. Anyone remember Ambush? Yeah, I thought so.
Brian Ferentz, Tight Ends Coach, New England Patriots
Ferentz had a brief and mostly unremarkable two and a half week stint as an offensive lineman with the Saints during the end of training camp in 2007 (August 13 - September 1). He went undrafted in 2006, but spent that year on the Atlanta Falcons practice squad before getting cut by them on May of 2007. That's it for his NFL "playing" career.
He joined the Patriots in 2008 as a scouting assistant, then moved up to coaching assistant in 2009, and then again up to offensive assistant in 2010. 2011 was his first year coaching the tight ends.
Now that I've covered the Saints Super Bowl connections, we can now briefly dip into the broader New Orleans and Louisiana connections to the game that I am aware of...
Everyone knows the obvious Eli Manning, nola native and son of former Saints QB Archie Manning, but the Giants' roster also includes two former LSU Tigers: starting CB Corey Webster (who notched a career-high 6 INTs this year), and IR'd WR Michael Clayton (who appeared in five games without a single catch before getting hurt).
On the AFC side of this matchup, LSU has two star running backs playing for the Patriots. The first is multiple-ring owning and 13-year veteran Kevin Faulk, and the other is young-pup rookie Stevan Ridley.
* * *
Please take a moment in the comment section below to let us know if you are aware of any other Louisiana Super Bowl connections...oh yeah, you can also take a few minutes to tell me how lame this post is as an attempt to make up for the fact that the Saints aren't playing today.