Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So this is what winning feels like...

Last night's Saints-Falcons game could not have possibly turned out better for Saints fans and the long-demoralized city of New Orleans. From the pregame show to the post-game sea of stalwart fans, it was one aesthetic pleasure after another. Indeed, it could very well be the most perfect football event all year.

The Superdome looked absolutely spectacular. I didn't expect it to look as good as it did before, much less better. The new turf looks like real grass (though it apparently runs like real artificial turf), and the team introductions and entertainment were every bit as world-class as they were in previous years. The exterior lighting effects were also a marvelous touch. But most importantly, the seats didn't need their famous color scheme to look filled tonight. And the crowd alone was enough to bring back the beauty of the Dome.

Good vibes must have seriously been emanating from the Superdome, because I caught quite a whiff here in Lafayette. In what other situation would most New Orleanians be happy to see George H.W. Bush, Michael Vick and Tom Benson? I even caught one fan with a sign that said, "Tom Benson, all is forgiven." Wow! Who knew that feeling good felt so...good? Or is "high" a better word? Then again, they also lustily booed Falcons relic Morten Andersen, who holds the all-time Saints point record. That felt pretty good too, in a perverse way.

In this game, the Saints executed a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and scored with a double-reverse touchdown and a 51-yard field goal. They also kept the Falcons from scoring after four plays from the three-yard line. They so severely owned the Dirty Birds that I now know what it must feel like to support a Republican. I need a shower.

Falcons TE Alge Crumpler is the only player from either squad on my fantasy team, and I desperately needed his points this week. Considering that Joe Theismann was broadcasting and my team is named "Theismann's Tibia," I guess I deserved to lose. Not that I gave a rat's tight end tonight.

ESPN's coverage was about as good as it gets. They did a great job of depicting both the rebirth going on in the Superdome, and the considerable labor left to be done. I worried that they would try to gloss over the latter issue; but instead they confronted it full-on with footage of the hurricane damage and vastly contrasting shots of the Superdome chaos with tonight's revelry. Additionally, several celebrities noted that New Orleans will survive only through tourism dollars and sustained national interest in the rebuilding cause. Viewers of Monday Night Football's telecast will hopefully come away with the understanding that, while all is still not well, the cause is worthwhile and must continue.

Further props to MNF for having Spike Lee in the broadcast booth. This is a reminder of the show's glory days, when Ronald Reagan would teach John Lennon about football from the same forum. Moreover, the MNF trio allowed Spike to opine on the state of New Orleans and his own experiences as a documentarian down here. Were they crazy? I sure hope so!

Spike helped by not going directly for the political jugular; when asked what New Orleans still needed, he said, "I'm not gonna have a Kanye moment!" Actually, that pretty much said it all. Awesome.

At first, I was weirded out by the whiteness of the crowd. Fortunately, subsequent pans showed that the sellout crowd was far more diverse (and thus more New Orleans-esque) than initially shown. In any event, a cheering crowd never seemed more eager, or relieved, than tonight's Saints fans. One fan, during a cutaway, could be seen saying, "I lost my home, but we got back the Dome!" while pointing upward. At least I think that's what he said, because ESPN cut away from him a little prematurely. But I was very glad to see him, because that's exactly who deserves to be in the Superdome seats.

Even the post-game Benson Boogie was a reassuring sight, bringing us back to the salad days when our biggest worry was that he wanted to build a new stadium...here!

By the way, the Saints won 23-3. They are now 3-0 and have topped the Falcons for control of the NFC South. Not bad for a team with a rookie head coach and a roster greener than fresh bananas. Almost forgot to mention all that.

If the rest of the season pans out like this, I'm going to write a screenplay about it. Hold me to it.


Pondering American said...

I thought the Spike Lee moment was great for other reasons. It showed what a classy guy George H bush was compared to mr Conspiracy theory. I mean WTF. I swear I am glad that Spike restrained himself a bit despite being prompted by the iddiot announcer to unload.

Ian McGibboney said...

While I don't want to take away from the efforts Bush 41 and Bill Clinton have made to help Katrina victims, I don't think he proved himself any more or less of a class act last night than Spike Lee. I think there was enough class to go around.

The announcers brought Spike up to the announcer's booth, given that he had recently made a riveting (and not conspiratorial) two-part documentary on the city's condition, which the entire MNF crew watched prior to the game. They asked him questions about the issue and he answered them. Bush would have done the same thing, and his answers ultimately wouldn't have been that different (though probably differently phrased).

I don't think it was at all out of line to have Spike Lee up there. What exactly did he say that was "conspiratorial?" That the game would ease peoples' minds for a few hours? That the Saints were "smokin'?" Somebody call Snopes!

dillyberto said...

World Class recovery is the feeling that we all have this week.

A colleague of mine commented on how he didn't actually win anything Monday. How ridiculous we are that we should celebrate a victory!

We are celebrating the victory that we all have in common.

In this day of media pressure to be white, black, Hispanic, gay, straight, young, old et alia, NO MATTER the walk of life

We all have the Saints.

On the inside we have a smirk. People are not honking at delayed starts at traffic lights the way they normally would.

Productivity at work is up because of the spark that was struck Monday.

Believe the hype.

Our Community does.