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

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