The following is a conversation between WAG and Kenny Perrier, both are Gridiron Experts hired gun writers and both were born and raised in the New Orleans area. Here is there take on the impact of the Saints’ first Super Bowl:
> > WAG: People who aren’t from Louisiana, or the Mississippi and Alabama coasts, really can’t even begin to understand what the Saints’ first Super Bowl appearance means to this region. This is much more than finally having a team good enough to overcome all the obstacles to make it to the Roman Numeral Game.
This is about a region– often ridiculed, left for dead, joked about, viewed as “backward-thinking people”– putting aside life’s hardships every Sunday for three and a half hours to gather around one symbol of hope for a better tomorrow. That symbol lies in the golden arm of Drew Brees, the softness in Marques Colston’s hands, the electricity in Reggie Bush’s legs and in the minds of Sean Payton and Greg Williams. This game is the equivalent to Morpheus’s speech in Matrix Reloaded before the Revolution begins. Just like the strongest quote in that statement, the Saints, New Orleans and the Who Dat Nation are shouting, “we are still here!”
> > Perrier: Ya betta believe we’re still here. We get to see former Saints QB, Bobby Hebert, carry on long time Saints radio personality Bernard “Buddy D” Diliberto’s promise: if the Saints made it to the Super Bowl, he’d wear a dress. Normally, you see Bourbon Street packed, when Mardi Gras is in full effect, with thousands of tourists having a good time. This past Sunday night, Bourbon Street resembled Mardi Gras. But ,the difference is it was filled with Saints Fans rejoicing and celebrating. Celebrating for years of heartache. Years of watching Aaron Brooks smile after throwing interceptions, almost losing our beloved team to San Antonio, and having one of the best defenses of all time, “The Dome Patrol,” and not winning a playoff game. The list can go on and on, but “we are still here!”
> >WAG: To Saints fans, this is the equivalent of combining the 2004 Red Sox and the ’05 White Sox championships in baseball after years of futility. Saints fans were the first to wear bags on their heads to games, back in 1980, when the team was commonly referred to as the “Ain’ts” on its way to a 1-15 season. Hell, we’ve still only enjoyed seven playoff seasons in 43 years. Naturally, that means nearly every Saints fan alive will be watching the Super Bowl thinking of someone who’s life expired before they could experience this. From local legends like the aforementioned Buddy D, and former Saints GM Jim Finks (engineered the first playoff teams in Saints’ history), to friends, family and those who perished in Hurricane Katrina, these people have made us a little louder, a little more joyous and just a bit crazy during this incredible season.
> >Perrier: Without a doubt, this win affects generations. People don’t realize that a lot of Saints fans are LSU fans, who are the loudest, craziest fans around. A lot of Saints fans may not realize, but our success has a lot to do with typically unliked ex- LSU coach, Nick Saban. If Saban would not have left LSU and gone to Miami, then maybe Miami’s coach would have campaigned to get Drew Brees there. Instead, Saban didn’t want to pay Brees and they got Culpepper and we got Brees. The rest is history.
>>WAG: And that history has led to the one of the few exciting eras in Saints football history. The Saints have gone to their first two NFC Championship games with Brees under center, and even in the two lean years between those games, the fans have watched Brees and the Saints offense explode with near-record tempo. In the end, this all amounts to a fiercely passionate fan base, anxiously waiting their moment in history and finally arriving at that moment after years and years of turmoil. The only question remaining is whether the fans, and in turn the team, will simply settle for making it this far, or will the hunger to win it all prove stronger in the end?
>>Perrier: The hunger and passion will be there. The players’ commitment to the city, its fans, and the team gives me no doubt they will leave it on the field. Whether or not it’s in victory, we will have to see. The passion runs deeper than Hurricane Katrina. It goes back to the culture, the southern camaraderie, and the melting pot of people in the New Orleans /Gulf Coast area. Hopefully, our moment will come Feb. 7th. Hopefully, we can silence the critics that say we are the best one week and we’re average the next week. There are many other words I can say to describe my passion for the Saints, but the only words that come to mind are “Who Dat Baby, Who Dat!” Need I say more?