I can vividly remember the only Saints game I have ever been to. I was 12 years old and went to a Denver-New Orleans game in the Superdome in New Orleans. It was the first dome stadium I had ever been inside, and I remember being shocked that a football game could be air conditioned in the winter. Come on, I was used to the old Mile High stadium and barefooted kickers in the snow. On the Sunday I spent in the Superdome Denver got killed, and I remember the fans yelling out the New Orleans fight song as we slipped out of the stadium in our Broncos orange and blue.
Back then it was an embarrassment to lose to the Nawlins Aints, as they were often called.
What a difference today makes.
With one game to go to Super Bowl XLI, the New Orleans Saints - the dogs of the league for every "last year" they've been around - are favored by every ESPN expert to beat Chicago at Soldier Field to advance to the Super Bowl.
Saints fans, passionate as they might be, always have a backup plan to the hopes for their football team, often involving a night on bourbon street to wash the memories away, and to hear people picking the Saints to go to the Super Bowl is beyond most of their expectations - but there does seem to be something special about this team.
Denver fans used to love and fear the Super Bowl. Four Super Bowls. Four losses. Until that fateful year when Terrell Davis and John Elway went to San Diego and beat the Packers.
This feels like that kind of year for the Saints, at least for this game.