I love the Saints. I love them because I love New Orleans, where I spent my very formative college years. I imagine that anyone who knows New Orleans in a deep way understands the grip that the city takes on you; it's the most spirited, unique, celebratory town I've known. New Orleans is a city that has undergone deep tragedy, and that has bounced back from that tragedy with an inspiring grace.
I recognize that as much as I love the Saints, other fans all over the country love their teams (whether it be football, baseball, basketball, etc.). All my football energy goes into rooting on my team, and frankly, I don't understand why people so viciously hate other teams. Even division rivals--sure, cheer for the other guys in order to advance your own team's standing--but straight-up hating on teams? I find it unclassy.
You can imagine what my facebook & twitter feeds looked like on Saturday; I'm a Saints fan living in San Francisco, home of the 49ers. I can't count the "Who Dat? San Francisco's DAT!" statuses I saw, as well as one guy I went to high school with commenting after the game: "YES! Now both LSU and the Saints went down!" I couldn't help but wonder: why does he hate Louisiana so much? For him, is his love for UGA and the Falcons buttressed by his hate for LSU and the Saints? I don't know.
from @Official_Saints twitter
Above is a picture of Saints coach Sean Payton, former Saint Steve Gleason, and quarterback Drew Brees. They're promoting ALS awareness, as Gleason revealed in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with neurodegenerative ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Drew Brees on the Saints and post-Katrina New Orleans:
"You can draw so many parallels between our team and our city. But in reality, we've had to lean on each other to survive and in order to get to where we are now. The city is on the way to recovery. And in a lot of ways, it's come back better than ever. For us as a team, we've used the strength and resiliency of the fans to go out and play every Sunday and play with the confidence that we can do it," he said.
For these reasons and many more, I love my team. Here's to being a good sport.