NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - For each and every Saints fan - here, there and everywhere - Christmas came a day early. Each and every one of you shared in that vengeful victory over the Falcons.
Because that wasn't "theirs" versus "ours" in the Dome. That was "them" versus "us." You felt that before the game, during it and afterward. For so many reasons, you felt a unique involvement in that one. Didn't you? And that made the way that game was won and the challenges that were overcome so, so, so satisfying.
In an injury-plagued season that required so many significant contributions from the "next man up," it seemed like it would come down to the "last man standing." And that man who decided it yesterday stood on the Saints' sideline.
He won't be among the leading candidates for coach of the year. Sean McVay, Doug Marrone, Doug Pederson, Mike Zimmer, even Bill Belichick figure to get the most attention. But I would put the job Sean Payton's done this year among the best, and his best in his Saints career.
Not much gets done or dares to get done in the organization without his blessing. He calls the tune and sets the tone. And yesterday in every way, it was "pitch perfect." As a Saint fan, you invested a lot more in that one than the price of a ticket or the precious hours of Christmas Eve by your television or radio. That investment was personal.
Sometimes the best gift you receive is one you asked for, the one you really wanted but weren't sure you'd get.
So Merry Christmas....a day late.