Today is the 5th anniversary of the re-opening of the SuperDome.
I remember going to work that day. It was Monday. The Saints were 2-0. The Falcons were also 2-0 and were favored because they ran all over the first two teams they played. The Saints had a new coaching staff and a lot of new faces. I knew maybe two or three guys on the offense and even fewer on the defense. The rest of the team was draft picks and free agents. They had somehow beaten the Browns and the Packers on the road but they were going to be really tested that night. Michael Vick was a monster in the wildcat formation and he was always hard on the Saints. This was going to be a tough game. I decided to wear one of my Saints shirts that day. I thought nothing of it at the time.
When I got to work, I knew something special was happening. Just about everyone was wearing Saints gear. The game was the talk of the town. We didn't really know what we had yet because Head Coach Sean Payton was also a new face and they'd only played two games. Both games were close but one thing was immediately apparent. Drew Brees was much more accurate and decisive than Aaron Brooks ever was.
The video below is from the pre-game festivities. It is fantastic and I never get tired of it.
I would always prefer to be at the game rather than watching on TV but there are some games that I am especially sorry I didn't attend. The Falcons game that night is one of them. The Saints forced a three and out on the Falcons first possession. Steve Gleason came through almost untouched and blocked the punt. It was recovered for a Saints touchdown and it sent the crowd and the Saints bench into orbit. The Saints won that night and their trajectory as a franchise changed right before our very eyes. We've always loved our Saints ... even when we were hiding behind paper bags. We hide no more. I've said this before and I truly believe it. The Saints saved the city of New Orleans. I can't imagine what that soul-crushing period after Katrina and the hard recovery would have been like if we'd had another sorry Saints team to despair over.
The Saints take on the tough Houston Texans in about 25 minutes. The formula remains the same. If they take care of the ball, they'll take care of the Texans.
On the fantasy front, I'm going into today's game short-handed. Peyton Hillis is out so do I go with Daniel Thomas against the Browns or DeAngelo Williams against the Jaguars? My choice is Daniel Thomas. DeAngelo is getting a lot of money in Carolina and producing very little. He'd better make the most of his opportunities today but he stays on my bench until he starts doing so.
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