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The Carletonian

Point-Counterpoint: Saints winning NFC Championship

< sporting event has more cultural relevancy than the Super Bowl. Super Bowl Sunday might as well be a national holiday, as around 40 percent of all U.S. households tune in to the game. This means that on average, between 80 and 90 million Americans are watching the Super Bowl at any given moment. It is perhaps the only sporting event that is consistently watched by people who do not care about the sport being played. In fact, some viewers tune in just to watch the commercials that premiere during the telecast. Whatever the reasons might be, the Super Bowl is undoubtedly an unparalleled event in American culture.

Super Bowl would give Saints a post-Katrina boost

By David Sacks

Since Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, the city has rallied around the Saints in an unimaginable way. There has been no other instance when a team was so closely associated with the city in which it plays. The Superdome, which holds almost 73,000 fans on game day, was actually “home” to thousands of people whose houses were lost and whose lives were forever altered by the hurricane. Following Katrina, the citizens of New Orleans were looking for refuge, and may found it both literally and figuratively with the Saints.

Following Katrina, the Saints were not able to play any home games in the Superdome for the entire 2005 season because of damage to the building. The next season, the Saints sold out the Superdome for the entire season with season tickets alone: something that had never happened before in their franchise’s history. The Saints’ home opener, the first game played in New Orleans following Katrina, was broadcast around the country on ESPN, and was its highest-ever rated program to date. That season the Saints made the playoffs, but lost in the conference title game.

While the Saints made a run at the Super Bowl following Katrina, with their appearance in the Super Bowl this year they have come full circle. The Saints used to be a national laughing stock, with fans who wore paper bags over their heads during home games. In fact, before the hurricane, there was even talk of relocating the team. But now the Saints are conference champions, and just like the city of New Orleans, the Saints are being rebuilt.

There is perhaps no player who is a better fit for a team like the Saints, or has been as integral a part in the reconstruction process as quarterback Drew Brees. The San Diego Chargers drafted Brees in 2001 as he slipped to the second round due to concerns about his height and arm strength. Brees was productive for the Chargers, but they acquired another quarterback, Philip Rivers, and it seemed like his days in San Diego were numbered. During the last game of the 2005 season, Brees injured his throwing shoulder sustaining severe injuries that required surgery.

Following the surgery, many doctors and teams doubted that Brees could ever play on the same level again. The Chargers did not make a competitive offer to Brees, and he spoke with other teams. New Orleans was willing to take a chance on Brees and signed him to a 6-year deal. With that signing, the Saints struck gold; Brees has been near the top of the league in passing ever since, and in 2008 was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year.
When the Super Bowl airs next Sunday, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will march onto the field, resurrected off of the scrap heap. Over 80 million Americans will watch a player who was unwanted and a team whose future was uncertain, with a chance to win it all. It could not be any more fitting that the Saints, the symbol for New Orleans, are getting ready to play on the biggest stage in professional sports as the city is being rebuilt following such a tremendous tragedy.

Favre deserved a return to the Super Bowl

By Justin Rotman

Last Sunday, as Brett Favre addressed the media, battered and bruised after taking a game-long beating in the NFC Championship, a 31-28 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints, one had trouble deciding whether Favre was more beat physically or emotionally. He had welts on his forehead, cuts on his wrists, a swollen ankle that almost knocked the NFL’s Iron Man out of the game, and tears in his eyes. Tears from the pain of the loss and the heartrending embraces with his teammates, teammates whom only 4 months ago were supposed to be worried about the EPSN-reported “schism” this man was causing in the locker room. After facing nothing but criticism, he had a career season and united a team and a state like no other sports figure had before in a single year.

In today’s world of sports stars who are irresponsible, disinterested, and immature, Brett Favre fits in worse than Steve Urkel at Mardi Gras.

Born and raised in Southern Mississippi, he attended school at the University of…Southern Mississippi and still lives today in…Southern Mississippi. When he was 20, he almost died in a car accident and had to have 30 inches of his small intestine removed. Six weeks later, he led tiny Southern Miss to a victory over mighty Alabama. Favre’s dad, Irvin, was his football coach and best friend until he passed away in 2003. The next day he wrestled with the decision of whether or not to play before going out and throwing for 399 yards and 4 touchdowns in as memorable a Monday Night Football performance as you will ever see. Today, Favre has 2 daughters with his wife of 13 years, Deanna. In October 2004, Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer but won her battle with Brett’s support. Brett has battled addictions to painkillers and alcohol and beat them both. He made 5 o’clock shadow cool, earning him the nickname “Silver Fox” from his teammates. Doesn’t this (aside from the Monday Night Football bit, of course) sound more like your neighbor Clyde than the man who has started an NFL game every week since September 20th, 1992?

His jersey was the top seller in 19 states this year — everywhere from Florida to Rhode Island to North Dakota. His two most notable endorsement deals are with, wait for it…Wrangler Jeans and Sears. The Favres have established foundations that raise money for charity and awareness about breast cancer. No stranger to tragedy himself, Brett played the 2005 season with a heavy heart when Hurricane Katrina destroyed his family’s home in Mississippi.

I realize the pain New Orleans went through with Hurricane Katrina— thousands of lives lost; communities destroyed. However, the Saints and their fans will always have another year,while Brett Favre won’t. That’s why America deserved to see Brett in the Super Bowl. Favre, the aging wonder, is going to have to ride off into the sunset— eventually once and for all. He came back this season and proved all the doubters wrong, faced the scorn and the criticism in stride and had a season for the ages. He did it all with a smile on his face that reminded us that it’s OK for a professional athlete to enjoy the game. And he did it all in an America where we increasingly see athletes and celebrities who forget their fans and their roots. In Brett Favre we see a human being, a real man. For this American hero, there won’t always be a next year. That’s why it hurts so much to have to ask for one.

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