Like most of you who decided that NFL Sunday Ticket isn't quite valuable enough to make up for the utter uselessness of DirectTV, we spent yesterday at a sports bar, looking past the impromptu games of beer pong to watch hundreds of television screens full of football. And we saw what we're sure you saw: Everyone's rooting for the Saints. We anticipated this somewhat, though it still kind of weirds us out that there's still a team called the "New Orleans Saints," like in October 2001 we would have had the World Trade Center Wildcats or something. It was just strange to see FOX break-in highlights from the Panthers-Saints game punctuated with subtle apologies for bad news; "The Panthers scored a touchdown to tie the game, but before that, Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie trotted off the field without tripping. Good for him. Good for New Orleans!" We also have a feeling the real excitement from football fans about the Saints is from the ones who have Deuce McAllister on their fantasy teams, but that's neither here nor there.
We're more curious about the actual effect the Saints' upset win over the Panthers will have on the city of New Orleans. ESPN's Len Pasquarelli seems to think so, detailing a letter New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin wrote Saints coach Jim Haslett, though, curiously, omitting the details of what it said. (Did he ask for a win? A couple bucks? A tissue?) We still find it hard to understand how excited New Orleans refugees can be about the success of a football team that not only represents a town that isn't there anymore, but probably won't even come back if the city does ever rebuild. We know we everyone's rooting for the Saints, and we know it has been difficult for their players. But we just think cheering for the Saints and cheering for New Orleans are two very different things, and somewhere out there, someone who hasn't done anything actually valuable to help will somehow convince themselves that rooting for the Saints counts as a good deed. It doesn't.