The League

Sally Jenkins
Sports Columnist

Sally Jenkins

A sports columnist for The Washington Post, Sally Jenkins is the author of five books, including the bestseller It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life with cyclist Lance Armstrong.

A contact drunk

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It was a contact drunk. You didn't have to swallow a drop for this NFC championship game to make you feel totally inebriated, like you'd been swilling the cheap well whiskey of Bourbon Street all night. When the action finally ceased, after nearly four hours, the wrenching swings and lead changes, dramatic spirals and swoons left you staggering amid the great geysers of horn music and confetti. The New Orleans Saints, dragging a whole metropolis on their backs, had advanced to the Super Bowl, but only in overtime after one man, Brett Favre, tried to take down the entire city.

The Superdome crowd of 71,276 was incoherent with madness; it was the loudest noise ever, a hurricane in your head. But when you thought it couldn't get any louder, it went up another notch, into a great shrill stratosphere as Garrett Hartley stepped up to a 40-yard field goal with 10 minutes 15 seconds left in overtime. Behind the uprights was a large fleur-de-lis emblazoned on an upper deck of the Superdome, that storm-ravaged facility. Saints Coach Sean Payton told Hartley, "Why don't you just hit that fleur-de-lis dead center?" Hartley did exactly that, sailed the ball through the uprights toward that ornate emblem of a team and a city, to give them the 31-28 victory over the Minnesota Vikings and the greatest moment in franchise history.

Make no mistake: They won for love of their city.
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By Sally Jenkins  |  January 25, 2010; 6:48 AM ET  | Category:  New Orleans Saints Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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