This is different.

I keep checking back on major media sports sites and it's still there. Images of Drew Brees and Fleur-de-lis spread across the opening banners. Black and Gold clad revillers and the Superdome in the background. And this is on the main page, not a dedicated sub-page for the New Orleans Saints or just highlights of the week. The BIG PAGE. The one with all the upcoming events, and they're all saying the same thing.

That the New Orleans Saints will represent the National Football Conference in Super Bowl XLIV. What? Saints? In the Super Bowl? Is it true? Hell has frozen over?

But it is true. I'm not delusional. I saw it with my own eyes, there, on the TV. I watched as my beloved Saints battled the best the NFC had to offer, stood tit-for-tat with the hated Vikings... those...guys... we could never beat when we needed to. The ones that sent us running for cover in 1987, our first ever playoff appearance and crushed us all over again in 2000, after our first ever playoff victory. I watched as our defense pile-drived the legendary Brett Farve into the Superdome turf and came up with not just one or two, but 5 turnovers to stop the Vikings offense.

I remember turning to my brother, as the Saints were moving past midfield on the opening drive of the Overtime period and saying, "Do you realize we may be about 2 minutes away from Saints going to the Super Bowl?" I watched as Garrett Hartley's 42-yard field goal in overtime split the uprights from the couch at my brother's house. I stood up. All I could say was, "The Saints are in the Super Bowl." I quickly glanced back at the TV. No flags. None. Check again. Nope. No flags, no penalties. If this had happened 15-20 years ago, book it-- there would have been offensive penalty that would have pushed us back past field goal range. But not this time! NO! It was clean.

It's all good!

The Saints are in the Super Bowl!

As I left my brother's house, I didn't go straight home. I just drove around the streets of Lafayette, letting it all sink in. The Saints are in the Super Bowl. I drove around taking note of all the vehicles with Saints banners and flags, honking their horns, passengers cheering and waving to other joyous Saint-mobiles. I passed the Academy department store on Ambassador Caffery Parkway. The line of people clad in black and white jerseys stretched from the doors to almost around the entire parking lot as fans waited to get Saints NFC Championship gear.

The Saints are in the Super Bowl.

How many times have I wondered how it would feel to say that-- if I would ever say that. For so long all I ever heard how it would never happen, that no matter what, the Saints would always find a way to lose. In the past that may have been true. Heck, it is true! The Saints have always been the "Charlie Browns" of the NFL. Always creating a new way to botch things up. I don't think Hollywood could come up with a comedy that would as innovative at losing as the real Saints have been. But you know what........... All of that is in the past! We ain't 'Aint's no more!

The Saints are in the Super Bowl!

Part 1 of this Article....................