A Saintly Football Miracle

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Here at JeffPearlman.com, we try and mix things up with occasional guest bloggers. Bruce Weber is a noted TV sportscaster who began his career covering the New Orleans Saints. His take on their latest—and greatest—achievement …

I guess if you live long enough you’ll see just about anything. But come on, the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl?
Back in the spring of 1980, fresh out of college at 21, I moved from my native Western Pennsylvania to a small town outside of Baton Rouge to begin my career as a sportscaster. I had just covered the Pittsburgh Steelers in back to back Super Bowl years. I was now about to cover the New Orleans Saints. Little did I know what I was in for.
Remember the Aints? I covered them my first year in the Big Easy. 1-15, now that’s a record you never forget. The team’s only win came at the old Shea Stadium where Bobby Scott played quarterback in place of the injured Archie Manning. Poor Archie—now there was a guy in need of a heathcare plan. Things were so bad that year that the late Buddy D once did a television liveshot from the Superdome press box with a bag over his head. Gumbo, the team’s German Shepard once did his business on the Superdome carpet. It was actually an upgrade from what the fans got to see from their beloved Saints.
One good thing about going to a Saints home game was knowing the French Quarter was only a 20-minute walk from the Dome. Even if the game was bad—and it usually was—the Hurricanes at Pat O’Briens were good. The late Saints broadcaster Wayne Mack was a regular there. Here’s to you, Wayne!

In my fourteen years of covering the Saints, mostly for the ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge, I heard all kinds of coachspeak from Dick Nolan, Bum Phillips and Jim Mora. The only coach to get the Saints to the playoffs was Mora. But he never won a playoff game. Playoffs, you’re talking about playoffs? Here’s to you Jim.

Now, sixteen years after I stopped covering the Saints, the team marches into Miami for Super Bowl XXXXIV. How I wish I could be in that number! Peyton vs Payton.
Living proof that God still peforms miracles.

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