If you follow professional football at all, then you probably know that my beloved New Orleans Saints lost to the Dallas Cowboys last night, thus ending their 13-game winning streak. Dan and I watched the first half of the game at my dad's house north of Lake Pontchartrain, then when it seemed that the Saints' defense was crumbling under the pressure, we decided to head for home. We weren't bailing on the Saints (and we weren't trying to disappoint my dad), but we had a lengthy drive back into the city – and trying to park in the French Quarter on a Saturday night is hard enough without adding a Saints home game into the mix.
As it was, by the time we reached the Quarter, it was impossible to find a spot on the street, and we were stuck with the expensive lots on Decatur. Seriously, though, we were lucky to find a spot at all. Just as we pulled into the only lot left open, an attendant dragged the “Lot Full” sign across the driveway behind us. Of course, if we hadn't found a spot, we were fully prepared to catch another showing of Avatar – just to let the herds thin out in the Quarter.
After parking, we wandered several blocks to our apartment on Ursulines, passing several crowded bars along the way. The televisions in each bar were all naturally tuned to the Saints game, and we stopped at every open doorway, hoping against hope that our beloved black-and-gold could pull off another near-miss. In the final quarter, as we reached the TVs at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, the Saints had nearly caught up, but once we made it home and flipped on the radio, we learned it wasn't meant to be. When the final score was announced, we were no longer in earshot of the bars, but I suspect most New Orleanians were as disappointed as we were.
Despite such disappointment, it's important to be honest – even when it comes to sports. And the fact is, while the Saints' 13-1 record is impressive, numbers can be deceiving. After all, the Saints' defense has been rocky all year, and the offense has often had to pull off a veritable miracle toward the end of each game. Now, before you accuse me of besmirching the Saints' good name, I'm simply saying that this season's performance, while incredible, has certainly been far from flawless – so a loss was indeed long in coming. And, hey, it's only one loss. Who knows what next week will bring?
I just hope Coach Payton can inspire the Saints' defense – goodness knows, the boys were languid yesterday. And as my hubby often says, “The offense can win a season, but it's the defense that usually wins championships.” For the Saints' sake, I hope that that's not always the case.
But even if they falter in the playoffs and fail to win a Super Bowl, they're still superheroes in my eyes – and they'll always be my favorite team. Apparently, I'm not the only die-hard fan of this underdog outfit – last night, in the Superdome, the Saints fans (my stepsister's husband among them) loudly cheered the players off the field, despite the upsetting loss – once again affirming my belief that New Orleanians, if nothing else, are a loyal lot.
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