NEW ORLEANS — Can you believe it's been 10 years since the New Orleans Saints won a Super Bowl? It feels like yesterday and a thousand years ago all at once.
Are you like me and mark events in your life by Saints moments?
- Had first date with my wife after Saints opened the 2008 season by beating Tampa Bay on a Scott Fujita interception
- Got married on October 30, 2010, the night before the Saints beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Halloween
- My wife gave birth to our son on November 27, 2015, two days before the Houston Texans annihilated the Saints.
Probably not. I'm not a normal human being.
Some days look back at the last decade and think, "How the hell did the Saints not win more Super Bowls with the quarterback who will retire with every meaningful NFL passing record?"
Then, some days I think "How did the New Orleans Saints, whose history is mostly a mix of incompetence and heartbreak, manage to win even one Super Bowl?" I mean it happened. It really freaking happened.
Looking back, I realize just how fragile titles are. What if Tracy Porter's knee injury meant he was out for the year in 2009 as ESPN reported on their ticker? What if the Minnesota Vikings don't have 12 guys in the huddle late in the NFC Championship? What if Chris Reis doesn't find a way to secure the onside kick?
You could no doubt add a bunch more moments to this list. Change any one of them and the Saints don't have a Lombardi Trophy.
The older I get, the more I realize teams winning a championship in sports is like... 65% luck. A team has to be very talented but it still needs lots of good fortune. Maybe the Saints used all their good fortune and lucky breaks to secure the trophy in 2009, and spent the last decade with all their serendipity used up? It sure would explain an awful lot.
Even now, just thinking of the Saints winning a Super Bowl gives me chills, I shake my head in disbelief and smile. I was talking to mom the other day and we were laughing about how when the Saints ran 'Ambush' to start the the second half of the Super Bowl with an onside kick, it didn't even really register mentally. We were all just settling in back for the second half kickoff and. "the Saints just did what?" My mind couldn't even process the audacity of Sean Payton until the referees were un-piling bodies. Or that moment where Pierre Thomas dives into the endzone and, "OMG, the Saints are ahead, in the Super Bowl." Then Tracy Porter secures his legend and puts a bow on the most magical of seasons.
Maybe even more incredible than the Saints actually winning a Super Bowl is that 10 years later, Sean Payton and Drew Brees are still here and the Saints are still a championship contender.
If you asked me the night the Saints won the Super Bowl in Miami where the Saints, Sean Payton, and Drew Brees would be in 2019, I sure as hell wouldn't have said “10-3 and trying to get the Saints another Super Bowl.”
I would have guessed Drew would be retired and Sean Payton would be coaching somewhere else because 14 years seems like a ridiculously long time in one place for an NFL coach, and he was a Bill Parcells disciple, and Parcels always preferred leaving too soon rather than waiting too long. Remarkably, those two are still here and the Saints are as good as ever.
Since 2009, Sean Payton and Drew Brees survived bounty gate and three straight 7-9 years and came out the other side chasing another ring.
When I look back over the last 10 years of Saints football and think of the heartache of the Minnesota Disaster, or the 'No Call,' I probably should be more bitter and sad about what could have been.
Then, I think of 2009 and remember that since the time I was 7-years-old, all I ever wanted was the Saints to win a Super Bowl, just once. My mom and I used to watch the Super Bowl and say, "I wonder if winning a Super Bowl is as much fun as it looks" and then we'd laugh and say "I doubt the Saints ever will." But it happened. And every damn bit of it was better than we ever dreamed.
It's been 10 years, and while we all want another and everyone is wearing those 'The South is Not Enough' t-shirts, it's pretty cool on Monday we get to celebrate it happened once, and the coach and quarterback who led the way are still here making Saints football boisterous and something to look forward to and care too much about.
Saints Fan Mood and Meditation Music:
(Good Riddance) Time of Your Life – Green Day
Let's get a little sentimental. The next time the Saints celebrate the 2009 Super Bowl team there will probably be an entire generation who didn't really experience it at all. So when you take your seat in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the 2009 team comes out, breath it all in. We had the time of our lives, didn't we? I'm pretty sure all I'll never have a better 13 seconds as a Saints fan than these that Tracy Porter gave me the rest of my life. I'm OK with that.
Last Week: 3-2
New Orleans (-8) vs Indianapolis:
This line seems big considering every game but two the Colts have played in 2019 have been decided by 1 score. Yet, the celebration for the 2009 Saints team, combined with Drew Brees having a shot to break Peyton Manning's NFL touchdown pass record, feels like a recipe for a party.
The question is: Can the Saints rebound emotionally from the devastating loss to the 49ers? They better, because anything less than 13-3 likely isn't securing a bye in the playoffs.
The Saints defense has probably passed the point of too many injuries to remain a top 10 unit with Marcus Davenport and Sheldon Rankins both out for the year. The good news is the injured linebackers will return eventually but Monday could be another very bumpy ride on defense.
The Colts are as average as their 6-7 record would indicate; 17th in points scored, 16th in points allowed. The Saints will likely attack Indianapolis through the air as they rank 22nd in passing yards allowed. Lose, and the Saints could take the next two games off because winning won't mean anything. Monday is must-win if a playoff bye is to be secured and the Saints will respond accordingly and give us another Drew Brees milestone to celebrate along with the magic memory of 2009.
Chicago (+4.5) at Green Bay:
We are now forced to hope Mitch Trubisky defeats Aaron Rogers so the Saints can get a bye in the playoffs. Early Christmas miracle?
Atlanta (+11) at San Francisco:
The Falcons aren't winning but for a half they are going to have us dreaming.
Los Angeles (+2.5) vs Minnesota:
The most Chargers thing ever is a random December win that ruins another team's playoff hopes.
Houston (+3) at Tennessee:
The Texans under Bill O'Brien are exactly like the Jim Haslett early 2000s Saints; they are talented but you have no idea how they'll play every week.
More Saints Forecast:
Ralph Malbrough is a contributing writer and Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at email@example.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @SaintsForecast or download the Saints Happy Hour Podcast.
(Warning: The Saints Happy Hour Podcast may contain language that is not suitable for all audiences)
Join him for a live show of his podcast at Tracey's this Saturday at 7 p.m.