There is a lot to be said about the Saints going to the Super Bowl. First, I am really happy about it. Secondly, when they won the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings I did feel that moment of euphoria that comes rarely in a lifetime of being a sports fan. Thirdly, I have loved the Saints almost all of their forty-three years and this is their first Super Bowl. I am and should be very happy for the next nearly two weeks watching the build-up to the big game in Miami. I like that they honor the Fleur de Lis, the outline of the State of Louisiana and the name “Saints”. I like that Devery Henderson is from Oppelousas and played with distinction on the Louisiana State University Football Team. I like the fact that Tom Benson has owned the Saints for a good while and has some history in the area he has built up. I like the fact that recent comers like Reggie Bush and Drew Brees have made a contribution to the local community using their considerable influence in ways that do them credit and are a help to the city, state and region where they play. Jeremy Shockey who is very new is one of my favorite football players and has excelled at tight End. It is a great day and a great occasion and I AM HAPPY!
Unfortunately, I am often a glass half-empty kind of person. There are some glass half-empty aspects of this event for me as well. One of them has a bright side along with its dark side. Payton Manning and Eli Manning are brothers from New Orleans who have deep family roots in Mississippi where the Saints have many fans and they have each taken a team other than the Saints to the Super Bowl. The Team they beat to win the Conference Championship was led by QB Brett Favre who grew up in Kiln Mississippi which follows the Saints and he has taken the distant Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl. In addition Jake Delhomme ( who may retire) has taken the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowlis an athlete who once played for the Saints and is from Louisiana’s Acadiana region. He was the QB at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette which along with LSU is also one of the schools I can call my alma mater. There have been great Louisiana players and are still such in many places and while I am glad the NFL has provided them with work I am also aware of something too transitory for my taste about this economy and system.
I am glad that the New Orleans and Louisiana generation growing up now will have a team that has distinguished itself but that comes after years of social and legal chaos and various oil booms and busts have remade much of the state and city and where storms plow up the eroded coast and wreak endless havoc. Again, it takes some of the shine off of everything for me. I salute the many achievements of the Saints and rejoice in the Super Bowl contest but many side stories remind me 0f all the things that are different from I might wish were the case in managing this state — past, present and future. The truth is that sport, football, competition and other things related to this do matter a lot to us here. I just wish that over the long view the context were and had been very different.