New Orleans 31, Minnesota 28, OT
Jan 24th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I’m house-sitting for Benjamin “Pinback” Parrish and he and his lovely girlfriend have an amazing high-definition television. I watched the game with four dogs (Boomer, Harley, Jango and Parker), two cats (Sam and Girl Cat) and two spiders (The Destroyer of All Souls and Oo-Topos-Tupperware). I’d never seen a game on such a nice TV.

I was watching without a spine when the Vikings had the ball for their last drive in regulation. Kickers have been so unpredictable, who knows what Longwell coul- OH MY GOD! MY GOD! HE THREW IT TO PORTER! GO! GO GO!~!!

Overtime was an unwatchable mess, the officials deigning to take three booth reviews they didn’t overturn. WTF was happening to the offense? (The Vikes’ D is just that good.) Pitch to Bush – nooo! A bailout call on a ball Dave Thomas couldn’t have caught to make up for some of the nonsense earlier. And then… Garrett Hartley to line up for a field goal.

It all comes down to this.

My brother called to tell me how miserable the booth reviews were. Three of them in overtime, none of them overturned anything. I asked him if he’d stay on the phone with me until the field goal attempt. The network showed a highlight from a few weeks ago, where owner Tom Benson celebrated what he thought was a successful kick as time expired against Tampa Bay. My brother thought that was uproariously funny. (Brief aside, I celebrated a kick John Carney attempted in the Superdome against the Patriots while I was there. The angles are weird in person.)

My brother said that the Vikings would call a timeout to ice Hartley. They did so. I thought he was just making a prediction.

Hartley lined up to kick and apparently the feed my brother had was a few seconds ahead of me. He started freaking out on the phone. He chortled. (He’s a chortler.) “RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE!!!!”

And then I saw it unfold, in front of me. Garrett Hartley made a 40-yard kick – New Orleans 31, Minnesota 28. My phone started blowing up. Greg called. The Milker called. Fodge, Pinback called. Texts came in, from Gerrit and Brew and Roody. My phone told me I had e-mail as well. I always had the impression that I was the token Saints fan among everyone I’ve ever met.

I can’t believe he made that kick.

As I said before, I was able to catch a game in the Superdome this season – it was my first experience there. I wrestled for a week to try to talk about the experience, but ultimately, I just couldn’t process everything that happened. The football team in that city means more to the people living in it than any other fanbase I’ve ever been around. When Brew and I walked into a casino for an hour, all the dealers had Saints jerseys on. There was a veritable, palpable playoff atmosphere to the Patriots game. Brew used to work for ESPN, and as such, was able to get us free tickets – that was all well and good, but I was also able to get a tiny bit of information from his friends and former co-workers that were around both teams. Having even the slightest bit of “inside info” was great – I got to chill in the same hotel the Saints were staying at, and I saw Mark Brunell and Charles Grant before the game.

(I also lost my Reggie Bush jersey on the trolley, but that’s this whole other thing. Some little whodat had a terrible Christmas, as the thing was faded into ridiculousness. BUT STILL.)

It’s about an hour after the game at this point, and I think I’ve calmed down. My mom called, mostly because she’s my mom and it’s Sunday, but also because she, more than anyone else, knows what it’s been like for me to engage in this ridiculousness for 30+ years. She and my dad took me to a game where I glomped onto the “wrong” team, and every single Christmas – years before you could order this crap off the Internet – she would order up Saints jerseys and shirts and hats and pennants from Louisiana, to get it all here before Christmas. Brew and I walked into the Black & Gold shop before the Saints/Pats game, and I am pretty sure it was one of her go-to stores when I was a teenager. I bought a Robert Meachem jersey and JESUS CHRIST, I have no idea where mom and dad got the money for this (waves hands) ANY of this when I was a kid. They really were the best parents ever. I mean, not just because they got their weird, dorky kid his out-of-state football stuff… but it sort of speaks volumes about them, all told.

Mom asked if I was crying afterwards. I definitely choked up when she asked that, but honestly, not because of anything that happened on the football field.

EDIT: One last thing regarding Brett Favre. Favre is terrible at being a celebrity. The constant coverage of him makes me hate this hobby a great deal. Hearing Kornheiser bring him up two years ago during a Packers/Saints game, with him nowhere near that game ranks high in the halls of the worst sportscasting ever. His ads for Sears trying to humanize him make me despise that smug prick even more. HOWEVER, I would want to work as hard at my job as that son of a bitch does at his. It was the gutsiest performance I’ve ever seen. Everytime I thought he was through, he got right back up again. What an inspiration. I don’t think he’s got a fan left in the world after betraying Green Bay and his last throw for three straight franchises being an interception, but he’s got guts. We should all work that hard.

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