Who Dat? The New America’s Team
What more can be said about the New Orleans Saints?
One of two remaining undefeated teams – including the Indianapolis Colts, who also stayed perfect with another exciting victory tonight – and seemingly destined to carry the hopes of a rebuilding city all the way into this year’s Super Bowl, the Saints have been dissected many ways from a variety of sources near and far this season.
But no feature has captured the essence of this team and this city better than today’s fantastic piece by ESPN Senior Writer Wright Thompson, whose piece on the Saints titled The Soul of America’s City is a must-read for all football fans as well as anyone who has had the opportunity to experience America’s most remarkable city, for the better or worse. Fortunately these days, mostly for the better.
The loose argument made by Thompson that the Saints are now America’s Team is not much of a stretch for a team representing a city that is uniquely American. And this city, whose long-standing mainstays of music and cuisine have shaped its identity, now includes the Saints squarely in the mix of essential New Orleans.
And it is no coincidence that the entire Saints organization – from the owners, the head coach, the star quarterback, and so many of the players and employees of the team – have risen to the occasion to make a post-Katrina renaissance for this city a mission both on and off the field.
It is really, really hard to root against this team and this city. And this story, being written week by week, continues to pick up steam.
As Thompson writes: “Katrina almost destroyed the city but, if you look closely, you’ll find that it did something else: It strengthened it, made the people who loved it love it even more. Everyone left the city, so no one is here because of inertia. They chose to come back.”
And those that did come back and those that have come to be part of the rebuilding – those that really get it, as Thompson writes – all of them have a stake in a special season playing out on Sunday afternoons that continues to raise the collective morale of a city that was virtually on the brink of extinction just four short years ago.
Should the Saints achieve their destiny and ride this wave all the way to a Super Bowl victory and NFL Championship, the city of New Orleans will undoubtedly never be the same again.
And, this time, a momentous event in the The Big Easy’s history will be America’s gain.