Here we are at last, Saints fans.
The time that you’ve waited for is finally here.
No more “Minneapolis Miracle” highlights from a year ago to endure, no more memories of that historical last-minute drive by the 49ers at the old Candlestick Park out in San Francisco 7 years ago that you’ll have to be reminded of once again.
Your New Orleans Saints are now just one win away from advancing to Super Bowl LIII (53) in Atlanta — and it’s time for them to now live up to their season-long goal to “Prove Them Right”.
Way back in the Summer at the end of July as their 2018 Training Camp began, the organization launched an unofficial campaign with the slogan “Prove Them Right”; based off the way that the team had been eliminated from the 2017 NFC Divisional Playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings.
I won’t re-hash the events that took place in that game over a year ago yet again, but the idea was to build upon the momentum that the team had built up until that point; after the Saints went (11-5) and won the NFC South Division title during the 2017 NFL Season, after having finished three straight years with (7-9) losing seasons.
The Saints entered into their 2018 Training Camp 6 months ago with a roster still stacked with an abundance of young and talented players (most of them via the 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts), combined with a handful of very good veteran players and of course: a future Hall of Fame quarterback (Drew Brees).
In the eyes of the media and the general football public, that subsequently made them a favorite to not only win their division once again, but to also win the NFC and hopefully win the franchise’s 2nd Super Bowl title.
As a result of those expectations, Saints head coach Sean Payton and his staff approached the players on a July 25th team meeting to discuss the team’s public perception.
Payton had preached previously for his players to avoid ‘eating the cheese” and potential distractions that could derail them from accomplishing their ultimate goals.
But in a way to combat the Pre-Season hype that was beginning to envelop the team as they approached the 2018 NFL Season, Payton decided that the best way to handle the flowery predictions for his young and talented team was to actually EMBRACE it this time around.
And thus: “Prove Them Right” became the team’s mantra from that point on.
A huge banner was even erected at the team’s Metairie Training Facility that was placed prominently in the view of the public, to further that notion or idea.
“We’ve got to prove them right,” 2nd year cornerback Marshon Lattimore told the New Orleans Times-Picayune / NOLA.com a day later on July 26th following the team’s first practice of 2018 Training Camp.
“A lot of people say, ‘You have to prove them wrong for guys like that at the bottom. When you’re at the top, you’ve got to prove them right.’ We’ve got to work at that. It’s not going to come easy. It’s baby steps. We’ve got a long way to go.
“We’re going to be good. But we’ve got to prove them right.”
And “prove them right”, is exactly what the Saints have done since that time.
New Orleans subsequently went (13-3) overall in the recently-completed 2018 Season, at one point won 10 straight games in a row and 13 out of 14, easily cruised to their 2nd consecutive NFC South Division Championship, and as a result earned the #1 overall Playoff seed in the NFC.
And now he we are this morning — with the Black and Gold on the very cusp of achieving their ultimate goal.
Now all that they have to do is beat an extremely-talented Los Angeles Rams team once again in tomorrow afternoon’s 2019 NFC Championship Game, to do so.
Make no mistake about it: beating the Rams won’t be easy, and chances are more than pretty good that the Saints will need to rely on their devoted and loyal fans to be as loud as they possibly can be, to help in that effort.
But their isn’t a more passionate fan-base in professional sports than “Who Dats”; and you had better believe that they’ll make themselves heard very loudly and proudly tomorrow afternoon.
So exhale Saints fans, and then take another deep breath.
The big moment is almost here.
And now it’s time to do YOUR part in all of this, by showing your support by making your presence as a Saints fan felt in any way possible.
Whether that means attending the actual game itself, or just by dressing up and putting on your favorite Saints gear and meeting up with friends to watch the game somewhere.
Just be sure to represent your team in any capacity that you can, so that the “good vibes” can be felt even if you aren’t able to be a part of it in person.