Monday, February 8, 2010

Saints Alive!

It's easy for any team's fans to say, "We deserved this." But, possibly not since the Detroit Tigers won the 1968 World Series, a little over a year after the most notorious race riot in American history happened within walking distance of Tiger Stadium, has a place needed a big win more than New Orleans needed the Saints winning Super Bowl XLIV.

Sure, New York needed the World Series wins of the Yankees in 1977, '78 and '96 -- though it didn't get the one in 2001, when it needed it a lot more -- and the Mets in '69 and '86. But, aside from the NBA's Hornets, the Saints are all New Orleans has in terms of big-time sports. Unless, that is, Tulane University has won something big in the last few... decades. The Sugar Bowl and the Bayou Classic are one day a year, while the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four are events they host every few years, but generally don't play in.

Sean Payton must have titanium testicles (which are even more solid and powerful than "brass balls") to have called for the onside kick to start the 2nd half. It was a message: "I'm afraid of Peyton Manning, so screw him, I'm taking the ball."

And I didn't notice at the moment, shocked as I was by the gutsiness of the call, but the Colt player who touched the ball, making it live even though it didn't go the otherwise necessary 10 yards, was former Philadelphia Eagle Hank Baskett, who is now best known as the husband of reality-show star Kendra Wilkinson. I suspect that the next time Kendra gets together with fellow E! show stars Kourteney and Khloe Kardashian, sisters of Kim, girlfriend of the Saints' Reggie Bush, that they'll have something to talk about.

But this game was not lost, it was won. Don't blame the Colts for "choking" or "folding": The Saints took it to them, hit them hard, made their own breaks, and didn't screw up. Besides, most of those Colts already have rings from 3 years ago. This is not a loss on the scale of the one their Baltimore forebears had in Super Bowl III, which was, as we tend to forget, avenged 2 years later when they beat the Cowboys.

I went up to get a drink from the fridge, and when I came back, I saw a commercial with a middle-aged woman saying, "I still worry about his health." I thought it was an anti-smoking ad. Turned out to be Tim Tebow's mother.

If those hypocritical gasbags at "Focus On the Family" were as smart as they think they are, they wouldn't have announced they were sponsoring that ad. They would've just bought it, and let it air. Had they done that, I think there would have been no controversy whatsoever.

And yet, after the game, when Drew Brees was holding his 1-year-old son, with headphones on the boy's ears to protect him from the noise, to me, that was a better statement about the joy of parenthood and "the sanctity of life."

The Who used to be great. Now they are washed up. The spirit was willing, but, Roger, I'm sorry, your voice is not what it was. Pete's fingers still work, but it's time to make this their farewell appearance -- no, no, really, they should mean it this time.

By contrast, Queen Latifah was great on "America the Beautiful," and, unlike fellow East Orange, New Jersey native Whitney Houston, XIX Super Bowls ago, she didn't need to lip-synch. And Carrie Underwood did a fine job on "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Amazing: She got to the Super Bowl before her former "Cowboy Casanova" Tony Romo did. What kind of putz cheats on a woman like Carrie Underwood? Good thing he didn't cheat on Queen Latifah, or she'd have creamed him. And not just because he plays for the Dallas Cowboys, although that's reason enough.

And how about this: The only Dallas Cowboy we saw at the Super Bowl was Ed "Too Tall" Jones during one of the Geico commercials. And, in another, the Cavemen finally come off looking good in one of them. I guess, if Jay Leno and David Letterman can make peace, so can Geico and the Cavemen.

How about 88-year-old Betty White, talkin' trash and takin' names? And Abe Vigoda, about to turn 89, in the same ad. Not only is he still alive (contrary to varying reports since 1982, apparently), but he hasn't aged a day in 35 years. You go, Sue Ann and Detective Fish!

Congratulations to the Saints, to the people of the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. As was said after another championship -- one this New Jersey Devils fan wanted to end differently -- "This one will last a lifetime!"

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