Editor’s note: This is a continuation of a Feb. 1 column on the most memorable sports moments of 2010.
A few years from now, we will look back on 2010 and remember only certain moments in the world of sports — those instances of great influence, moments that changed the history and impacted the future of sports. Two weeks ago, I presented 2010’s top two moments: the World Cup in South Africa, and LeBron James’ move to the Miami Heat. Moving on to number three …
The Saints Come Home (as Super Bowl Champions)
In 2005, the devastating Hurricane Katrina, which killed nearly 2000, rendered many more homeless, and cost an estimated $81 billion in property damage, definitely took a toll on the city of New Orleans and its people. The city didn’t have much to be passionately cheerful about for the next few years, save the relief efforts put in place to fix the Big Easy.
But the beginning of 2010 proved to spark a city lost in tragedy and rejuvenate the sporting enthusiasts huddled around TV screens to watch their beloved New Orleans Saints take on Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. “Who Dat” was the phrase shouted everywhere as smiling revelers all around New Orleans rejoiced at the Saints’ newfound success. After the Saints won 13 and lost only 3 during that regular season in 2009, there were high expectations and the city would have erupted had the Saints brought home the Lombardi trophy.
Led by a confident Drew Brees, the speedy and agile halfback Reggie Bush, and a solid receiving bunch including Robert Meachem and the experienced tight-end Jeremy Shockey, the go-to-guy in tough third-down situations, the Saints knew they could pick apart the Colt defense, but the question was whether they could restrain Manning and the Colts’ efficient passing game. The first quarter was tense as the Colts scored a touchdown and a field goal, while the Saints could not get on the scoreboard. This had Saints fans praying for a comeback. But, it wasn’t until the third and fourth quarters that the Saints had their way, scoring 15 unanswered points to close out the game and win their first ever championship. People all around New Orleans, especially in the historic French Quarter, celebrated what seemed to be an equally historic moment for their city.
Many across the U.S. and the world feel that the Saints victory has no significance in their lives. But those affected by Katrina, and who despite that remained passionate about their hometown, will forever be changed. It is a victory for the team, for the city, and for its people. The victory will survive the test of time to remind people of the spirit of New Orleans; a city that fell as it faced a horrible natural disaster, then got back up to win a Super Bowl.
Up next: the Wimbledon Epic.