August 1 2005

Posted on March 4, 2013

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Back in the day your humble correspondent worked on the radio.

This is the transcript of an on-air editorial from my tenure at KNOE AM 540, August 2005 –

The New Orleans Saints kicked off their 38th NFL season this past Friday with training camp in Metairie.  The buzz is good this year with all draft picks signed and the team still aglow over last years 4 game win streak that ended the season. 

It’s ironic that this optimism- (and yes, I admit all Saints players, coaches, owners and fans are always optimistic before the 1st game is played)- that this excitement felt… is over what may be the Saints last year as a Louisiana team.

The handwriting is on the wall, or should I say the press where we hear that Gov. Blanco and the legislature are beginning to balk at the financial compensation package that former Gov. Mike Foster signed years ago to keep the Saints Louisiana’s only NFL team. 

We hear also the rumblings of team owner Tom Benson who knows the big bucks to be made with the Saints in Los Angeles or even San Antonio- he wants a new stadium to replace the aging Super Dome among other things- and he wants it all yesterday.

A good many Louisiana politicians and citizens are upset about their tax dollars funding the Saints with public schools in shambles and the only business booming is moving van rentals as people and corporations continue the mass exodus from the bayou state.

Perhaps if the Saints had enjoyed more success in the past 40 years public opinion would force any Louisiana politician to embrace the Saints as if their lives depended on it.

Alas, as we diehard fans are well aware, that has not been the case.

The Black & Gold team with the Fleur-de-Lis emblem has not enjoyed notable success throughout it’s history. 

5 playoff appearances in almost 40 years is not really good.

But as a lifelong fan I have to say that although I of course wish the Saints were a pro football powerhouse, with giant Lombardi Trophies adorning the walls of it’s headquarters and star players, like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in all the coolest commercials and on the late night talk shows.

But we Saints fans have our stories and glories too.

They’re just not as notable as the stories of the teams that win the big games.

Saints fans remember the mighty boot of Dempsey and the brilliance of a young quarterback named Archie Manning.

We remember George Rogers and Ruben Mayes backfield moves and the “Cajun Cannon” Bobby Hebert and the glory days of defense with the “Dome Patrol” of Ricky Jackson, Pat Swilling, Vaughn Johnson and the late gentlemen warrior, Sam Mills. 

In recent years we diehard Saints fans have seen brilliance on and off from Aaron Brooks and sturdy running with Deuce Macallister

I rate January 6th, 2001 as one of the greatest days of my life. Right up there with first time I saw my daughter’s face and the first girl I kissed and the high school basketball game where I scored 15 points.

That day Aaron Brooks’ brilliance was definitely on as he threw 4 touchdown passes and rushed for 55 yards and the Saints beat those dastardly St. Louis Rams to win their 1st playoff victory ever, 31-28.

Along with the too few victories and too many heartbreaks we’ve had our share of good old fashion rogues and villians.  From the hard drinking once great quarterback at the end of his career, Kenny Stabler to the pot smoking dread-locked hair and lackluster moves of Ricky Williams to the utterly dismal Ditka seasons and Joe Horn’s cellphone in the goalpost,

Saints fans have enjoyed as much drama as “Desperate Housewives” fans.

The Saints have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. 

I lived a majority of my life with my paternal grandparents and one of the few things, in fact for years the only thing, a rebellious 1980’s kid with a smart mouth, long hair and the know it all attitude of the average teenager had in common with his WWII veteran- union welder construction worker-Church of Christ song leader- grandfather… was Saints games.

We would always come together on Sunday afternoons and the occasional Monday night and cheer and groan and complain as our beloved Saints took the field. 

I called him at home in Swartz that day in 2001 from Searcy, Arkansas where I was living at the time, and we had a victory dance of our own right over the phone line. 

That memory is especially sweet now, since that wonderful man went to heaven just two years later.

Saints football to me is game times with friends, its good food, good drink and good conversation.  It’s a wonderful diversion from everyday life and something to anticipate all week from September till January and missed the rest of the year.

Mainly though it’s great memories to be cherished forever.

Those are the things I will miss if the Saints don’t continue to “come marching in” in New Orleans and Louisiana and leave the bayou state for good.

So if our money can send Gov. Blanco to Cuba to hobnob with Castro and buy Harley Davidson Special Edition Ford Pickups for state officials to drive around in why is the money for the Louisiana tradition that is Saints football so hard to come up with.

I say keep the Saints in Louisiana

If it takes public dollars to do it then so be it. 

The politicians will waste a ton anyway that we’ll never know about till long after it’s gone so why not spend it on the Saints.

And besides all the reasons I’ve already stated pro football is the only thing that makes us better than those poor schmoos in Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama… heck even Oklahoma.

So shut up naysayers and Cowboy fans. 

Cough up the money you boobs in Baton Rouge and Long live and may God bless the New Orleans Saints!!!

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