NEW ORLEANS - Every Who Dat in the nation was hoping the Saints would play in Super Bowl XLVII, hosted by New Orleans this year. But while the black and gold didn't make it to the big game, they're still playing a big role off the field.
Many current and former Saints players are helping to serve as ambassadors this week for New Orleans, attending a number of charity, media, and fan events.
One of those events read like a who’s who of current and retired Saints players. They came to Isadore Newman School Uptown to tackle something bigger than football.
Through a game of flag football, current and former NFL players from a variety of teams raised money to fight ALS, a deadly, incurable disease. Retired Saints safety Steve Gleason was diagnosed in 2011, and has since started a charity to create awareness and raise money, called Team Gleason.
Gleason was once again joined on the field with some of his former teammates, who came out to support him.
“I am overwhelmed by the amount of players that chose to show up. It's an incredible NFL family,” said Gleason on the field.
Those players faced the Wounded Warriors, a group of soldiers who lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan and were able to play with the help of prosthetics.
It was just one of many events some black and gold players will be attending this week.
“I'm just going to be welcoming everybody, tell everybody where the good places are to go eat, and have a good time,” said Saints safety Roman Harper, who says he has appearances at charity events every day through the Super Bowl. “It's unfortunate we're not playing in the game, but since I'm not, I might as well enjoy the festivities myself.”
“My schedule is booked. I'm doing media things, I'm doing charity events, I'm doing signings, and camps and clinics, and planning a charity basketball game. It started today and it doesn't stop until Sunday night,” said Saints wide receiver Lance Moore.
Quarterback Drew Brees is making appearances throughout New Orleans this week. Wednesday, he made a charity announcement at the NFL Experience. Thursday, he's scheduled to host CBS' The Talk.
“The culture and the charm here is infectious and I know that people will have a good time and leave loving New Orleans and wanting to come back,” said Brees.
Retired running back Deuce McAllister was selected to place the Lombardi Trophy in its spot at the NFL Experience.
“I think we can be great ambassadors if we're not playing in it ourselves,” said McAllister.
And while the black and gold would have preferred to represent our city on the field, they say it's just as important to do so off the field with all eyes on new Orleans.
“When you have an opportunity to bring this many people to the city, I think it's important that, you know, we become hosts to everybody,” said Zach Strief, Saints Offensive Tackle.
For a list of Super Bowl events, courtesy the Super Bowl Host Committee, click here.
For more information about Team Gleason, click here.