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It’s been a long road back

January 28th, 2010

We often joke, especially those of us from Cleveland and Buffalo, that we have endured more than anyone should ever have to. We are referring to what we consider to be catastrophes. They even have names: The Drive. The Fumble. Game Seven. Wide Right. Hull in the crease. 

We call them catastrophes, but really they’re sports catastrophes. There are certainly people that would argue that there are few things that happen in sports that are truly catastrophes, and they’re probably right. Others may be offended that I put the words sports and catastrophes next to each other because they feel those two words have no relation to each other. To those people, I present the city of New Orleans.

Obviously, their one-word catastrophe, Katrina, far outweighs any athletic setback. Some 1,800 people lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands of people had their lives altered in August of 2005. What their football team is doing certainly doesn’t make everything return to normal, but it can’t hurt.

In Cleveland, we had an owner that moved the team because our stadium was in such bad shape. I wonder what he would have thought of the Louisiana Superdome after the roof was torn off by the forceful winds. 

Luckily for the people of New Orleans, Saints owner Tom Benson was patient and the team stayed. In their first season returning to the newly-renovated Superdome post-Katrina, they made it all the way to the 2007 NFC Championship Game.

This time, the Saints won the NFC Championship Game, and they’ll get their chance to take on the Colts in the Super Bowl. The city has something to celebrate. 

There were undoubtedly fans rooting for the Minnesota Vikings to knock off the Saints last Sunday, catapulting the legendary Brett Favre into another Super Bowl. People thought it would be such an incredible story to see the 40-year-old Favre come out of semi-retirement to lead his team to the title game against Peyton Manning, arguably the NFL’s biggest star – and it would have been.

But how about a team that had nowhere to play just a few seasons ago coming all the way back to win the sport’s most coveted prize. That’s not too shabby of a storyline either. Of course, it’s not going to be easy to knock off mighty Manning and the Colts, the designated favorite by the bookmakers in Las Vegas. 

New Orleans, however, is used to defeating the odds.