This Panthers Fan's Hat is Off to the New Orleans Saints

I was going to wait on the outcome of Super Bowl XLIV, but why wait?

The New Orleans Saints have been an amazing team to watch all season.

I am not throwing anyone under the proverbial bus, but being new to this site, I am not sure of what motivated a certain writing at the beginning of the season… Yes, I stumbled upon a past post that had something to do with “10 Reasons Why ‘I’ Should Hate the New Orleans Saints,” but a lot of it had nothing directly to do with the Saints organization that I was ever aware of. So, either I am blind to what it was (which wouldn’t be a first for me) or am just too young to understand…No harm, no foul; in the grand scheme of things, it’s all in fun and good.

As you may have read a couple of weeks ago, I had written a piece on another site, predicting what on paper could have been the outcome of the Carolina Panthers’ season in 2009. I made a number of cavalier predictions. If I remember correctly, about 10-of-16 that I predicted were correct.

At any rate, I did predict the Panthers and Saints to split the series 1-1, though I made no indication as to why or how. I’ve never really been one to go with a point-spread or get too specific as to the how’s and why’s, other than to give a generalized prediction and move on. It’s akin to predicting the weather. Who can say for certain? At least the weather person only has to predict a week ahead of time. My prediction was roughly six months in advance.

I was impressed with the tenacity that the Saints played in 2009. Even more that they were 13-0 before they lost their first game! By that late in the season, I had hoped of two things: the Indianapolis Colts would go undefeated and play in the Super Bowl, and that it would be against an undefeated Saints team. Half my hopes were realized; that is the Saints and Colts, part of my early (Week 11) prediction, are in the Super Bowl against each other.

Next I want to make it known where I stood prior to, and stand after that NFC Championship game against Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.

I am happy.

Keep in mind that even though I am a Panthers fan, I am also a fan of the game. If my “horse” is no longer in the race, I will cheer on another team to go all the way. I don’t care if that other “horse” is my “horse’s” worst enemy! If I prefer that entity over the other, I’ll go with it.

The people of New Orleans; Louisiana and Mississippi hold a special place in my heart. More so, after going through Hurricane Katrina. Ever since that year, I have become more of a Hornets (I was a fan of the Hornets when they were in Charlotte, too) fan and I like to see the Saints win, unless it’s against my Panthers.

Having said that, I can’t think of a year where I picked against the Saints more than I did this year. I admit, a part of me was too reserved to believe. At the same time, a part of me thought, why ruin a good thing? Because at some point, I wanted to see this team face the best of the AFC; the Indianapolis Colts.

Next on the agenda, is the allegations that the Saints defense played “dirty” against the Vikings, in the NFC Championship.

I watched that game from start-to-finish, and I saw nothing worse than I would have seen in any other game; in fact, I thought the game was officiated pretty well.

Both offenses had their share of mistakes. Both defenses matched up well against both teams’ offenses, but the Saints defense was well-coached and executed their gameplan as prescribed.

So when I hear that the Saints’ defense played a dirty game against the Vikings offense, and that the officials were paid off, I disagree. What I saw that night was the product of a well-coached defense, carrying out it’s gameplan as set forth by the Saints defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

Now for the big question, “who do I want to see win the Super Bowl?” Well, in all honesty, whichever team wins earned it.

The Colts faced adversity many times, but through a team effort, found ways to win. Aw heck, who am I kidding? Peyton Manning was a big factor in many if not all of the Colts’ come-from-behind wins this season.

For the Saints, Drew Brees was very Manning-esque in bringing his team from behind in a number of games, too.

Both teams have underrated offenses (quarterbacks aside). The Saints even more so, because no one on the roster is named Peyton Manning.

Not to slight Peyton, but the Saints worked just as hard, perhaps harder than the Colts to get where they are right now. For the first time in 43 years–My father was seven years old; Ron, who I co-host a weekly NFL show with well, the Saints organization was in it’s second year when he was born–the Saints are in the Super Bowl.

In the end, I will be rooting for the Saints, just because while the team has earned it’s Super Bowl berth, it’s the fanbase that, if the Saints can earn the right to be called 2010 Super Bowl Champions, deserve to be associated with such. The city deserves the recognition, as does the geographical area and those who perished who were fans of the Saints.

In the end, my hat is off to the Saints and their lifelong fans.

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Tags: 2010 Super Bowl AFC AFC Championship Brett Favre Carolina Panthers Drew Brees Gregg Williams Hurricane Katrina Indianapolis Colts Louisiana Minnesota Vikings Mississippi New Orleans New Orleans Saints NFC NFC Championship NFL Peyton Manning Super Bowl XLIV

  • Steven H. Ramirez

    Yeah the Saints had a great season, but How can you cheer for the enemy? I’m a Panthers fan and I will never cheer for them.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Hi Steven, and thank you for the read and comment.

      How can I cheer for the Panthers when they’re NOT in the playoffs? I’m a Panthers fan and a fan of the game. I like the Saints to win their first Super Bowl.

  • Paul Augustin

    Nice article – especially from a Panther fan. You are a gentleman writer. Who Dat!

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Thank you for the read, compliment, and comment, Paul.

      “Who Dat,” indeed! There’s not a team or fanbase that’s as dedicated and deserving as the Saints are.

  • G.

    Thanks for the article. Very classy. As a former Charlotte resident, I’ve found Panther fans to a lot more cordial in person than online, so I’m sure plenty of Charlottians agree with you. Geaux Saints!

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Thank you for the read, comment, and compliment, G.

  • Mike

    No sacks, yet 17 late hits on Favre, many illegal. At least one low and another drove him into the ground. Yet the refs didn’t appear until the Saints needed bogus calls for their winning drive in overtime.

    Where were the refs when the dirty Saints were trying, of their admission, to injure Brett Favre and force him out of the game? The Saints may have ended Favre’s career after sending Warner into retirement with a cheap shot, and still have the audacity to threaten to injure Peyton Manning even if he drops to the ground.

    Did you hear the Saints will have a parade win or lose? Who would want to celebrate after a Super Bowl loss? Expect the Saints to win the Super Bowl.

    The US government wants to help rebuild New Orleans with a Super Bowl by telling the refs to allow the Saints defense to take cheap shots on quarterbacks. This Super Bowl is the greatest conspiracy in history and by their support, the city of New Orleans will become the Sodom of the South.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Hi Mike, thanks for the read and comment.

      Have you ever heard that saying whatever you do will visit you 10-fold? Well, as I recall, Favre laid a similar hit on a player earlier this season. So I guess he got his, too.

      Joking aside, if they were illegal hits, then the officials would not have missed 17 of them.

      As for the whole conspiracy theory, I find that incredibly difficult to believe. However if it is true, then maybe the government and NFL have a conspiracy against Favre. Notice how he has thrown an interception to end the last game he’s played in on three different teams now?

      What about the hack coaching job by Childress, and the fumble-itis from AP? I guess they were in on the conspiracy too? Did they get paid off as well?

      Maybe next season the government will tell the NFL to let the Vikings win the Super Bowl, as long as Favre isn’t there again. C’mon, Man!!!!

      Sounds like another sore-loser Vikings fan. Have some class. Give credit where it’s due.

  • Steven H. Ramirez

    Good Article dude, I’m glad Saints are representing the NFC South well in the Super Bowl because you know the media always talk about the NFC East is the best division in the NFL.

    But I was just saying your going for one of the biggest division rivals of the Panthers to win the Super Bowl? I know your a football fan and I am too…Yeah we can’t cheer for the Panthers in the Super Bowl but next season looks promising. I’m picking the Colts to win the Super Bowl because the Saints are a Big rival of the Panthers and if they weren’t I would gladly cheer for them. Its like a Red Sox fan cheering the Yankees to win the World Series.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      I know what you mean, Steven.

      I know the whole rivalry and all, but it’s a team from the division, and I’ll root for almost any NFC team…almost. There are a couple exceptions to my rule.

      In the end, it’s only a game and one that I love dearly.

      I have a good feeling for the Panthers next year, so long as the right moves are made during the offseason and the playcalling improves next year, and someone other than Jake Delhomme is at starting QB.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      I know what I saw, but the refs didn’t call it. I did see a couple late hits on Favre, but I also saw some late hits on Brees.

      What can I say, Steven? I respect your insight, but we’ll have to agree to disagree in some areas.

  • Mike

    Eric, something must be wrong with you. Kurt Warner had to retire because football is causing concussions and eventually punch drunk syndrone. The Saints have clearly taken violent hits to a new level by intentionally cheap-shotting QBs after the football has left their hand, even admitting they will hit a QB who goes to the ground! Even rubber man Favre could not last but a few games if every team did what the Saints did. Moreover the Aints even admit they don’t care about penalties and fines. If the Saints win the Super Bowl as I expect and the NFL doesn’t take action, the NFL will move toward something worse than ultimate fighting. The NFL will soon become a league of second and third string caliber QBs, like Tarvaris Jackson.

  • ML

    I enjoyed your article and appreciate your honesty. It’s the first one I’ve seen from a non-Saints fan that is not so negative. Thanks.

    To Mike – Your team, whoever it is, must have had a really bad season for you to be so bitter. You really don’t need to exaggerate so much…57 million people watched the Saints/Vikings game. There were not 17 late hits on Favre. And the Saints were penalized for 2 of those hits. Don’t say the refs didn’t appear. The Saints were penalized 8 or 9 times to the Vikings’ 2.

    And as far having a parade after the Super Bowl in New Orleans win or lose, it’s because this city wants to celebrate the wonderful football season that the Saints brought to us this year. They worked awfully hard to get to the Super Bowl for the first time in the franchise’s history and we appreciate them.

    And your theory of the U.S. Government wanting to rebuild New Orleans with the Saints winning the Super Bowl….what kind of ignorant hogwash is that?? Get a life!

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Thank you for the compliment, read, and comment, ML.

      There’s a saying that goes, “you can’t please everyone all the time.”

      My point was basically to eat more crow as I’ve become very familiar with the taste of it all season, but it feels good to admit I was wrong in my early season prediction.

      This Saints team played it’s ass off, as have the Colts, and not to slight the Vikings, they played well all season long too, but in the playoffs, the team that wants it more and makes the lesser amount of mistakes, will win.

      I’m a student at Penn State, but I’ve been a longtime fan of LSU, so I also dig the emotion and celebration of Saints fans.

  • Mike

    It is a fact: the dirty Saints hit Favre 17 times after he had already released the ball. They had not one sack. And yes the Saints were penalized for only 2 of those hits.

    The NFL has admitted the refs missed calls and issued 5 fines, albeit for petty amounts. If the dirty Saints are not punished much more severely they will turn the NFL into a cheap shot league. After the Aints win this year’s rigged Super Bowl, other teams will have to decide they must also get dirty to compete.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      And this is different from any other NFL game, how? There are many missed calls in every game.

      It has been rumored that the NFL will address making officials fulltime employees, which I think might help, especially since the league changes it’s rules around every other Sunday.

      Thanks for the comments, Mike.

  • Mike

    Missed calls are common. But the refs are missing calls that are allowing the dirty Saints to kill QBs. The dirty Saints have taken violence against the QB to a new level and have the audacity to admit it and say they don’t care about penalties and they certainly don’t care about those puny fines.

  • Mike

    Saints fans are even more dirty than their players.’s John Holler reports today that Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler says Brett Favre was heckled after he was injured by an illegal cheap shot: “They were cheering and saying they hoped his leg was broken and he’d never walk again.” Loeffler said what he saw and heard was the worst he has ever seen from fans and hopes to never see it again. “Some of things they said to Brett was way out of line and really pathetic.” He said Favre’s heard some awful things in the past – it comes with the territory in the NFL – but he was shocked with what he heard. I would hate to think that his last memory of playing in the NFL would be hearing the stuff he heard.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      What about fans who can’t handle their team losing? They call them sorry sports.

      As for Brett Favre, being heckled, that happens in every NFL game in 16 cities around the league every week. I hope Favre is man enough to handle a few words.

      The problem with football is the constant sterilization by the league and making thngs more “safe” for everyone from fans to players on the field. I can understand personal safety like trying to prevent unnecessary injury, but words?! From fans?! If you can’t handle that, then you’re in the wrong profession. Grow a pair and get over it, otherwise go work somewhere else.

      Kickers field more negative criticism than any player on a team when they miss a three-pointer or an extra point attempt.

      I don’t feel bad for Brett when he got injured. It’s the nature of the game; a part of the territory that goes with it.

      You know how football is always compared to a war, right? Well, that’s an insult to this country’s troops, because almost all the time, a football player will not die from an explosion or a gunshot wound.

      But keeping with that, when a soldier signs his or her name to enter into the armed forces, they know that a part of that responsibility means accepting that they might die.

      So in the grand scheme of things, a few words or heckling, yelled from a fan of the opposing team at a GAME, seems pretty random now, no? Did Favre lose his life as a result of having been made fun of? Maybe he wasn’t sure if he could have died there or if he should get up and finish the game.

      I don’t feel sorry for the Vikings; football is a battle of sorts, and has become very watered down since real men played the sport.

      If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. THat goes for fans as much as it goes for the players.

      Thanks again for the comment, Mike…That will do.

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