Thursday, September 15, 2005

Behind The Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

Saints – America’s new team

No matter from which angle one looks at the New Orleans Saints this season, one is probably going to see a winner. Their 8-8 finish last season, though a lot better than some, had almost doomed the team and its coach to failure and dismissal. The redeeming factor was a last four game finish which kept them from being 4-12.

Then along comes a hurricane named Katrina. It inflicts the worst of the worst on the entire area which the Saints call dear. The team is all but disenfranchised (not really), no place to call their own, well, at least no dry place.

Years ago Edward Everett Hale penned a story titled, “The Man Without A Country,” a patriotic tale which was a real attention getter.

The Saints are tentatively based out of San Antonio but even all their “home games” are on the road. However, the team and its members are intractable in their pursuit of keeping the banner high for all their fans and supporters who are also experiencing all such things as disenfranchisement, homelessness and a lot of other nameless things.

They have a country, but they have no city, no home and, actually, no livelihood.

So the Saints have taken the attitude of going out and winning this season “for the Gippers.” And they took the first step on Sunday by outlasting the Carolina Panthers. They are not only remaining Louisiana’s team but (and watch out, you Cowboys), they are also becoming America’s team.

There were so many great, great games on Sunday and I wish it were possible to recap all of them, but knowing that not to be within the realm of possibilities, I just have to tell you all that the Kansas City Chiefs won. As did the Steelers, the Giants, the Colts and the New England Patriots.

Those Pats had better watch out. The Steelers appear to be poised to replicate their record of last season (the best at 15-1), and again challenge for the top prize. As a matter of fact, some writers are already suggesting that Steelers QB Ben Rothelisberger should have “gunslinger” added to his monicker. Not so gentle Ben (on the opposition), has not lost a regular season game.

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