It was not a pretty sight.
Truly, although it had its moments, it wasn't pretty overall. Turnovers. Botched calls and plays. The underdog team was outplayed in many ways, including in the statistics of yards and first downs gained.
Still, the battered and beleaguered Saints hung on to force the NFC championship game into overtime. In a city that has had a hard slog the past 4 1/2 years, that sometimes has had little or nothing to celebrate, it was time to celebrate.
The noise must have been deafening. I have been in the Superdome before. I have been there when it was loud and crazy and a team has won (usually, not the Saints). I have been there during heartbreaks of games lost.
So even though I have not been in the building for years, I can imagine. I can imagine what it was like during the hurricane, with no water, a roof half gone and the smell of backed up sewage. I can imagine what it was like last night, the crazy delirium, the deafening roar.
The only time it got tellingly quiet was when Tom Benson got up to accept his accolades as owner. He is not a hero around here, because he considered abandoning the city in her hour of need.
The team itself, however, is another story. They are loved even when we call them "The Aints" and wear bags over our heads, because they keep coming back and trying. Yes, they get paid to do it, but if you played for a team that never won, that people were embarrassed to be seen cheering on, wouldn't you consider a different line of work? That men were willing to keep coming back and trying, year after heartbreaking year, never quite giving up or giving in, is one reason we take such delight in this team. They slog on, just like the city. They get down, they get back up and try again.
Tears were everywhere last night. From what I understand, the French Quarter and Bourbon Street were awash with people celebrating through their tears, and not in a destructive way. There weren't taxis overturned or fires set. The police on duty were not tense, waiting for pandemonium and violence. Those did not happen. This touched the hearts of the people too deeply for them to give in to crassness.
For the first time ever, the Saints can say they are the champions of something besides losing. They will wear rings that show participation in a Super Bowl (even the losing team gets special rings to wear, because just getting there is an honor).
The city will take heart in the memory of this game for years to come, no matter what happens in two weeks.
At this point, we will take the ugly win. It's beautiful to us. Go Saints.
A Room of One's Own Day
Aukland Day, New Zealand
Better Business Communication Day
Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
Conversion of St. Paul -- Christian
Dinner Party Day
Festival of Constructive Energy
Macintosh Computer Day
National Irish Coffee Day
Observe the Weather Day
Old Disting -- Norse Calendar (A market day held at the same time as a sacrifice to the female powers.)
Robert Burns' Night, Scotland, Newfoundland
Alicia Keys, 1981
China Kantner, 1971
Etta James, 1938
Corazon Aquino, 1933
Dean Jones, 1931
Edwin Newman, 1919
Virginia Woolf, 1882
William Somerset Maugham, 1874
Robert Burns, 1759
Today in History:
Battle of Mikatagahara, in Japan; Takeda Shingen defeats Tokugawa Ieyasu, 1573
The Treaty of Utrecht marks the beginning of the Dutch Republic, 1579
Moscow University is established, 1755
Eliakam Spooner of Vermont patents the first seeding machine in the US, 1799
The first US engineering college opens, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Troy, NY, 1825
Sojourner Truth addresses the First Black Women's Rights Convention, in Akron, Ohio, 1851
Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" is first played, at the wedding of Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Victoria, to the crown prince of Prussia, 1858
The soda fountain is patented by Gustavus Dows, 1870
Bilu, a Russian Zionist organization, forms, 1882
Nellie Bly beats Phileas Fogg's time around world by 8 days (72 days), 1890
The first US transcontinental telephone call is made when Alexander Graham Bell in NY calls Thomas Watson in SF, 1915
Shelter From The Storm
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