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Reborn...Once Again

The date is September 25th, 2006. The Saints are playing in their first home game since Hurricane Katrina hit the city.

The Saints defense just held the Dirty Birds on their first offensive drive of the game. It's 4th and 10 and Falcons punter Michael Koenen is standing at his own 15 yard line awaiting the snap.

On the previous play, linebacker Scott Fujita tackled quarterback Michael Vick and knocked the ball free. It is nearly recovered by the Saints, but it rolls out of bounds.

The wait is over and the ball is snapped. Koenen catches the ball and steps into it to punt it away. In rhythm with Koenen, Steve Gleason flies through an opening of the line like a knife cutting butter and meets the ball as it leaves his foot, blocking the punt. The ball rolls into the end zone and is scooped up by Curtis Deloatch to put the Saints ahead 6-0. The Saints would go on to beat the Falcons 23-3.

That glorious moment has gone down as the rebirth of the Saints as well as the entire region of New Orleans. It picked New Orleans up and gave the community a sense of power. It proved the Who Dat Nation could recover from adversity.

Now, the year is 2012 and almost six years have passed by since the "Block Heard Around the World." The times are different. Way different.

Saints special teams hero Steve Gleason has been suffering from a deadly disease known as ALS, a disease connected to progressive weakness and rapid muscle atrophy. His life now consists of a journey to find a cure for this condition.

The Saints will be playing a full season without their head coach Sean Payton or defensive captain Jonathan Vilma. These punishments were given to the team because of their supposed participation in a "bounty scheme" from 2009-2011.

NFL experts have already deemed the Saints season a wash, as they think these implications are too crippling for the organization to overcome.

But as the critics have forgotten, the Saints have already defeated adversity once before. Adversity in the form of a historic natural disaster. This time around, the adversity has a different feeling. Right now, we, the Who Dat Nation, feel like we have been played and cheated by the NFL.

On Friday, July 27th, the Saints unveiled a statue that replicates the famous "Block Heard Around the World." Engraved into the monument is the word Rebirth.

Going into a season such as this one that is filled with questions, that moment in Saints history needs to be remembered. When the Saints prosper, the jubilee needs to be reenacted.


To show New Orleans has once again been reborn.