Henderson: Opening game to join ranks of classic Saints games

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by Jim Henderson / Eyewitness Sports Director

wwltv.com

Posted on September 9, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 9 at 3:12 PM

This is one we’ve been waiting for for a long time.  I think it’s the end of the off-season for the fans.

The players talk about putting the last season behind them as they go to training camp.  

I don’t think these fans will truly put last season behind them forever, but certainly not until the opening kickoff. They’re going to celebrate last year’s Super Bowl victory all the way up until the toe meets leather and the game begins.

The Vikings’ motive is for revenge and the Saints’ motive the emotion that they will have in the Superdome.

Thinking back over Saints history, it seems to me that this is one of those moments that you want to say, “I was there.”

You look back at Saints history and it’s the John Gilliam’s kickoff return that opened play for this franchise, the Tom Dempsey field goal, maybe, the first playoff win against the Rams, the Superdome reopening against the Falcons after Hurricane Katrina, and then the Garrett Harley field goal that sent the Saints to the Super Bowl.

Those are all I-was-there moments.

This game is unprecedented in Saints history: The first game the team will play in its 43-year history as defending Super Bowl champions.

I’m sure Sean Payton will relay to this team, probably already has, is what he said to them before he took them on to the field of the Superdome in 2006: It’s going to be a very special, very emotional night but only will be truly memorable if you win.

For a city and a team far more accustomed to the role of the underdog, that of the favorite is well deserved, but emotionally much different.

How will the fans and the team deal with those emotions? Be sustained or be compromised by them?

History was made the last time these two teams met on this field last January.

The Vikings play to avenge the past, the Saints play to confirm.
 

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