Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hell Freezing Over

There's a joke in South Louisiana that goes like this:
Boudreaux and Thibodaux both died and ended up in hell. The devil greets them and welcomes them to their everlasting torture.

"Is it too hot for you," asks Satan.

"Brah, we from South Luzianna. We used to da heat," Boudreaux told him. So, Satan cranks up the heat in hell.

"How about now? Is it too hot for you," he asks the cajuns. They both laugh.

"It jus' 'bout as hot as my gumbo wit da Tabasco sauce. Dis ain't hot," Thibodaux told him.

Frustrated, Satan gets an idea and turns the temperature down so low it starts snowing in Hell.

Boudreaux and Thibodaux start jumping up and down, screaming and hollering with glee. Satan doesn't understand their reaction, so he says, "I cranked the heat up and you loved it, so I froze the place and now your celebrating?!? What gives?"

They, continuing their celebration, replied, "THE SAINTS JUST WON THE SUPER BOWL!!!"

It took 43 years for the New Orleans Saints to reach this point, but they are finally here. And, the son of their most beloved icon stands in their way. That's pretty much how the Saints have rolled through out their franchise history. One disappointment after another.

For example, when Hartley lined up to kick the field goal that would ultimately send them to Miami, I can guaranty there was not one Saints fan who thought he would make it. After 43 years of, "Really, WTF?" we Saints fans are used to being let down. So, when Hartley split the uprights, before the raucous cheering, there was a brief half-second of silence. We had to make sure what we saw actually happened and we weren't dreaming.

This is what Saints fans are used to. A few years ago, we were playing the Jaguars and the playoffs were on the line. Win and get in, lose and no playoffs. Down 20-13 with :07 seconds left...

That's right. They pull off an incredible hook-n-ladder-esque finale only to have the kicker shank the PAT and lose. We haven't trusted a kicker since. How we missed ol' Morten Andersen, aka: The Saints Franchise all-time scoring leader... a field gold kicker is our all-time scoring leader. He last kicked for the Saints in 1994.

But that's the past and the future is now. And the Black and Gold boys are heading to the Super Bowl to face the Colts.

Growing up around New Orleans and now calling Indianapolis home, I perhaps have one of most unique perspectives on the Super Bowl XLIV. So, people are wondering who I am rooting for... Fair question.

In all honesty, I am going to happy no matter who wins. Though, my level of elation will be 1000x higher if the Saints win. Heck, I'll probably cry if they win. But,to be perfectly frank, while I will be rooting for the Saints, I expect the Colts will win. Here's why:

From where I sit, these are the two best teams in the NFL today. They are both #1 seeds. They both have a great quarterback. They both have outstanding O-Lines and D-Lines. They are so evenly matched, in my opinion, that you have to look at the unknowns.

The game is going to come down the following:
1. Quarterback protection - which ever team can get to the quarterback early and often is going to be in the great position to win. Sacks don't matter so much as rushing the QB into mistakes. As quickly as Drew Brees gets rid of the ball and as nasty as the Saints have been getting to the QB, I have to give the edge to the Saints here. ADVANTAGE: SAINTS

2. Turnovers - which ever team wins the turnover battle will have an edge. There's a reason why the Vikings had fumblitis. It's because the Saints don't just tackle the man with the ball, they swing their arm back and punch the ball out of the runners hand. The Vikings had 6 fumbles and only 1 was not caused by the Saints. That was the awkward hand-off between Favre and Peterson. The Colts caused 30 takeaways compared to the Saints 46 (regular and post-season combined). ADVANTAGE: SAINTS

3. Special Teams - Field position is everything. Percy Harvin never got a chance to run one back on the Saints for one reason - the ball was always unreturnable. The Saints kicked it out of the end zone most of night and the Vikings started alot of their drives with a long field. Reggie Bush is always a threat to at least put the Saints in good field position... unless he tries to be a hero and doesn't call a fair catch. Still... ADVANTAGE: SAINTS

4. Luck - Which way the ball bounces, how the refs call penalties, who wins the coin flip... I think the teams are so evenly matched that luck will be a big factor. ADVANTAGE: Hard to say since luck comes in the game. But, is there a more blessed team than the SAINTS?

So, there you have it. Colts are going to win. Wait, you say? Didn't you just explain why the Saints have many advantages against the Colts, you say?

Yep. I sure did. You see, as I said, I'm a Saints fan. I'm used to heart-wrenching disappointment. While I will be rooting for the Saints to win, I completely expect the Colts to break New Orleans' hearts... Probably involving a last second field goal.


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