The Saints entered the NFL in 1967, a year after Hurricane Betsy pummeled the city of New Orleans. Seldom in the playoffs; never in the Super Bowl. Over the years, the franchise was the model of futility. The “Aints.” Fans arriving at games with paper bags over their heads.
January 2010. Four and a half years after Katrina, a forty yard field goal. Simple enough, but it sends the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl. For many fans, it would be a great win. To the people of New Orleans, redemption.
They nearly lost their city. They nearly lost their team to San Antonio. Now, they are NFC champs. Anything is possible. Now, New Orleans will not just be rebuilt, it will be reborn.
Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post beautifully captures the meaning of the event, in both sports and social terms. And the Times-Picayune, well, reports on the local craziness following the game. And from ESPN, a video essay featuring trumpet player Kermit Ruffins.
Now, we must wait to see if a Super Bowl win over shadows or supplants Mardi Gras. Regardless, we know that New Orleans will be celebrating new hope for renewal.