Monday, January 25, 2010

Who Dat Goin to Da Super Bowl???

NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Drew Brees - Reggie Bush - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Reggie Bush avoids Jared Allen - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Pierre Thomas - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Drew Brees - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Devery Henderson - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Garrett Hartley - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Sean Payton - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Drew Brees - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

Darren Sharper - NFC Championship Game 2010 - Geaux Saints!

NEW ORLEANS —  They sure ain't the Aints anymore.

The New Orleans Saints are heading to their first Super Bowl after battering Brett Favre and beating the Minnesota Vikings 31-28 in overtime Sunday on unheralded Garrett Hartley's 40-yard field goal.

Favre threw away Minnesota's best chance to win, tossing an interception deep in New Orleans territory in the closing seconds of regulation. Then the Saints won the coin toss and soon it was over.

The team that had no home five years ago after Hurricane Katrina ravaged its city and the Superdome overcame a slew of mistakes in the biggest game the Big Easy has ever seen.

"This is for everybody in this city," said coach Sean Payton, the architect of the Saints' turnaround. "This stadium used to have holes in it and used to be wet. It's not wet anymore. This is for the city of New Orleans."

Forget the paper bag masks and that long history of losing that started in 1967. Moments after Hartley's kick, they were toasting their hometown winners on Bourbon Street.

And in the Superdome, once a squalid refuge after Katrina, they boogied in the aisles as confetti covered the field.

"It's a moment I've been waiting for for a long time and obviously we're not done yet," said Drew Brees, Payton's hand-picked quarterback for the Saints' renaissance.

The Saints (15-3) will meet Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (16-2) in the Super Bowl in two weeks in Miami. The Colts opened as four-point favorites.

It's the first time the top seeds in each conference made the big game since the 1993 season.

"Brett prepared us, but now we've got another challenge in Peyton," safety Darren Sharper said.

There were nine fumbles and two interceptions, and the biggest mistake belonged to Favre. Flushed from the pocket in the final minute, he seemed to have room to run to set up a field goal. But hampered by a left leg injured in the third quarter, the 40-year-old quarterback threw cross-field and was intercepted by Tracy Porter at the 22.

That finished off Minnesota's chance for its first Super Bowl trip in 33 years — and opportunity to win it for the first time after four defeats.

New Orleans won the coin toss, Brees guided it to the Minnesota 22 after converting a fourth-and-1 on Pierre Thomas' leap over the line, and Hartley — suspended at the start of the season for using a banned stimulant — split the uprights 4:45 into OT.

"Just helping my team get to Miami," Hartley said. "Just doing my part."

It was anything but easy for the Saints, in only their second conference championship game; they lost at Chicago three years ago.

They had to withstand yet one more comeback by Favre, who returned to the NFL with the Vikings (13-5) after another brief retirement. He was alternately spectacular and pedestrian Sunday, finally betrayed by his gambling style and, perhaps, an aging body.

Minnesota, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight NFC championship game.

Porter's pick sent it into overtime, the third time an NFC title game has needed extra time and the second in three seasons. Two years ago, Favre's interception in OT set up a field goal that sent the Giants past the Packers and into the Super Bowl.

The Saints can only hope they have the same happy ending as New York did back then.

"Yeah," said Reggie Bush, who scored a touchdown and also muffed a punt that set up a Vikings score. "One more step."

The seesaw game saw All-Pro Adrian Peterson score three touchdowns for Minnesota and Saints running back Pierre Thomas get two. The Vikings handily won the possession and yardage battles — Peterson rushed for 122 yards and Minnesota gained 475 overall. But the Vikings were undone by five turnovers, including three fumbles.

"We really gave those guys the game," said Peterson, who peeked at the rousing celebrations on the Superdome floor. "Too many turnovers. It's eating me up inside."

Check out the article at Fox News.

Somebody pinch me… I must be dreaming! Hope Pat saved an extra coat, cuz the devil might need it soon!!!

Geaux Saints!!!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Geaux Saints!

Geaux Saints!

Geaux Saints!

Geaux Saints!

Geaux Saints!

METAIRIE — The Saints will take a three-phased approach to preparing for their divisional playoff game, which will be played at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 in the Superdome.

The players will have four days off beginning today. Then the team will follow a training camp-like schedule when it returns to practice and focuses on itself Saturday and Sunday. Then next Tuesday, after the opponent has been determined, a normal game-week routine will kick in.

The earliest New Orleans could know its opponent would be late Saturday night. If Philadelphia defeats Dallas on Saturday night, the Eagles would guarantee themselves a trip to the Superdome. If the Cowboys prevail, the Saints opponent would be the winner of the Green Bay-Arizona game, which kicks off at 3:40 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s different than a bye week in the regular season when you know who you’re playing,” coach Sean Payton said Monday at his weekly news conference. “When it’s one of three teams, you can begin statistical breakdowns on all three of those teams and get through the busy work that has to get done on those teams through the weekends.”

Payton said the Saints devoted some of their practice time last week to working their offense against their defense, something they will resume over the weekend.

“There will be meetings, walk-throughs, back on the field for a full practice,” Payton said. “It’ll be more of an ‘O’ (offense) versus ‘D’ (defense) emphasis, which is like a training camp practice where it’s competitive rather than carded because you don’t know really who you’re playing. There might be some things that we tinker with to get us ready for a certain game.”

The Saints tinkered with a few things in their 23-10 loss at Carolina on Sunday, including using running back Lynell Hamilton out of the “wildcat” formation.

“We had a few different schemes in there,” Payton said. “We snapped the ball to a running back and there were a few things we tinkered with that we’ll look at in the postseason.”

Payton said the coaching staff will have a short break early this week before returning for a day and a half to put together the plan for the weekend practices and begin preliminary game-plan work.

He said the main thing for the players to do is to get rest during their down time. Injured players will continue to rehab and receive treatment. Others are free to travel if they choose.

“I really don’t encourage or talk about what I think they should do with their time away other than just making sure they’re getting rest,” Payton said. “I think people will want to handle it differently. Some will travel, some won’t.

“The key is having trust in players and I think our team has real good leadership and understands how we have to approach this week and getting rest and having some time away and then being ready to come back with a focus when they get back in the building. I think they’ll handle that well.”

When it comes time to play, the Saints will be the healthiest they’ve been since early in the season as every player on the active roster is likely to be available.

Payton said he thinks running back Pierre Thomas, who missed Sunday’s game with a rib injury, will be back. Thomas said he expects to play despite three broken ribs. He said he played with two broken ribs against the Bears as a rookie in 2007.

“I just have to sit back and can’t do too much movement,” Thomas said. “My ribs weren’t as severe as it was my rookie year. My rookie year, you could see a big crack in them. These three, you see partial cracks. Maybe one of them is almost fully and two are half cracks.

“You don’t want to irritate it so they don’t want me doing too much. The two I had my rookie year, I couldn’t really do anything but sit back and relax. I’m moving around now; haven’t gotten a chance to run yet, just been on a bike getting some cardio workout in.”

Thomas said he’ll wear protection, likely a flak jacket, over the ribs during the game.

“You’re out there running hard, you’re out there breathing, you’re getting hit,” he said. “It’s going to bother you at some times. It’s like if you hurt your toe or something. Something is going to bother you. You feel it. It’s going to irritate you a little bit.

“You’re probably not going to focus on what you have to do out there on the field. You’re going to focus more on your injury than anything because it bothers you. But to me, I find a way to block it out. I find a way, don’t think about the injury and go out and play the game. If I get hurt, at that point in time, I suck up the pain, deal with it and go back out in the huddle. That’s what I’ve been doing lately, just sucking up the pain.”

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Despite the three-game slump at the end of the season, I have high hopes for the Saints in the playoffs! It's good to see some key guys coming off injured reserve and I'm looking forward to seeing Pierre Thomas with the ball in his hands again.

Speaking of Pierre Thomas... he recently autographed some awesome lithographs by artist Michael Hunt (see top of this post) which are being sold in limited quantities. Go check it out and many other fine LSU, Saints, Fleur De Lis, and Mardi Gras artwork at Hunt Studio.

Have Faith! Geaux Saints!!!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

Happy New Year 2010!

Here's another New Year's resolution to add to your list: scrub 15 "overused" and "useless" words from your vocabulary.

Lake Superior State University has issued a list of the top 15 words that it thinks deserve to be banished in 2010.

LSSU explains,

Former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe and friends created "word banishment" in 1975 at a New Year's Eve party and released the first list on New Year's Day. Since then, LSSU has received tens of thousands of nominations for the list, which includes words and phrases from marketing, media, education, technology and more.

Word-watchers may check the alphabetical "complete list" on the website before making their submissions.

Here's the university's 35th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness:

  • Shovel-ready
  • Transparent/Transparency
  • Czar
  • Tweet
  • App
  • Sexting
  • Friend as a verb
  • Teachable moment
  • In these economic times...
  • Stimulus
  • Toxic assets
  • Too big to fail
  • Bromance
  • Chillaxin'
  • Obama-prefix or roots

Check out the article at Huffington Post.

Happy New Year!

Check out today's Google art:

Google New Year 2010