I have been a New Orleans Saints football fan ever since Ole Miss star quarterback Archie Manning joined the team in the early 1970s.
For years, Archie Manning was the only bright spot in an otherwise bad team. Some Saints fans were so embarrassed by their team that they began to cover their heads with brown paper grocery sacks, with holes cut out for their eyes to see. The media dubbed them “the Unknown Saints Fan.” Still, they faithfully came to the games.
John Grisham referred to the losing record of the Saints in his novel, “The Pelican Brief.” He described a party going on in the French Quarter before the Saints game. Said Grisham, “…because there would be nothing to celebrate after the game.”
So a Saints fan is loyal and long-suffering, much like a Chicago Cubs fan in baseball. Even though the Saints have been winning in recent years, I now live in Georgia and have to defend my team from the claws of the Atlanta Falcons fans who surround me. The definition of a Falcons fan: somebody who hates the Saints.
As the Saints started winning, fans began to boldly chant, “Who dat say Gonna Beat Dem Saints?” in defiance of anybody who thought they could beat their beloved team. The “Who Dat Nation” is a term for all of the Saints fans.
The drama continues. In 2010, the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl, defeating the Indianapolis Colts, whose quarterback was Peyton Manning, the son of former Saints quarterback Archie Manning. However, that high point was followed by another low, as Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended last year for his alleged complicity in a scandal of paying players to try to hurt their opponents.
All of this reminds me of a greater truth for all of the true saints of God: if you’re a believer in Christ, you can remain hopeful and faithful through all your years of suffering and even through your failures. You know that one day the saints of the Lord truly will go marching in, to win the victory in the Big Game at the end of time.
Oh, Lord, I want to be in that number! And because of my faith in Christ, I know I will. Geaux Saints!
(Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)