NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Before last night's kick-off, the Saints and Falcons gathered at mid-field to form a circle for a show of unity and a moment of reflection.
It was a brilliant idea and just the right touch. It was also the last time all night that the Saints held onto any Falcon for very long.
The circumstances of the Dome's reopening 10 years ago demanded unity and reflection for all of us, and it was easily achieved. Ten years later after another 0 and 3 start, the unity of the fan base is more fractious than at any time in the interim.
To reflect on how far the team came in the aftermath of Katrina at once makes the current travails of the organization more palatable but also more distasteful. We began our climb up the mountain in 2006. We reached its summit in 2009. And that can never be taken away.
But this is 2006 no longer. It's certainly not 2009. The way we were was not what we became. Which makes what we are now even harder to swallow somehow.
It was not one problem that brought us down. It is not one solution that will lift us back up. Beginning in 2006, the Saints took a city on its knees by the hand and together they struggled to stand.
Now the city has been reborn, and it's the Saints who have stumbled and fallen. Their plight is far less significant now than an entire region's was then. But upon reflection, both could not have nor could not now recover without unity.
It won't be easy. It will be necessary.