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Super Bowl 2010

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  • www.lobservateur.com FEBRUARY 6, 2010SPECIAL TO LOBSERVATEUR

    MIAMI A pair ofhigh-powered offensesled by two future hall offame quarterbacks willbattle it out Sundaynight when the NewOrleans Saints take onthe Indianapolis Coltsin Super Bowl XLIVfrom Sun Life Stadiumin Miami.

    Both teams finishedthe regular season atthe top of their respec-tive conferences. TheNFC champion Saintsfinished the season with a 13-3 record, followed byvictories over the Arizona Cardinals (45-14) and theMinnesota Vikings (31-28) in the playoffs. The AFCchampion Colts managed a 14-2 regular seasonmark and cruised to playoff victories over theBaltimore Ravens (20-3) and New York Jets (30-17).Sundays Super Bowl matchup, which kicks offaround 5:30 p.m. on local CBS affiliate WWL, willbe the first time since the 1993 season that the twotop seeded playoff teams meet.

    The game will mark the first ever Super Bowlappearance for the Saints, who have overcome 44years of mediocrity on the football field. The teamfirst made the playoffs in 1987 and notched theirfirst postseason win in 2000 after three previousunsuccessful tries. The Saints came within onegame of the Super Bowl in 2006, before losing to theChicago Bears in the NFC Championship.

    For the Colts, its their second Super Bowlappearance in four years. The team last made it inthe 2006 season when they defeated the ChicagoBears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI, which was alsoplayed in Miami.

    Both quarterbacks, Drew Brees for the Saintsand Peyton Manning for the Colts, are among thetop of the league at their position. Both have beenknown to pick apart opposing defenses with deci-sive throws, quick action and very few mistakes.The game has the potential to be a fast paced, highscoring affair that may ultimately come down towhich team has possession of the ball last.

    According to Las Vegas odds makers, the Saintsenter the game as a five-point underdog as ofThursday, but they are the sentimental favorite towin Sunday night.

    Saints in Super BowlTeam takes

    on Indy in first

    title gameappearance

    Two of the NFLs best quarterbacks will square off in Super Bowl XLIV this Sunday in Miami, when the NewOrleans Saints Drew Brees (top) takes on Peyton Mannings Indianapolis Colts.

    vs.

    Sunday5:25 p.m.

    Sun Life StadiumMiami, Fla.

    Meet a Who Dat! from across the pondPAGE 5

    Local Saints fan photosPAGES 6-8

  • PAGE 2 | SUPER BOWL XLIV | FEBRUARY 6, 2010

    NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

  • FEBRUARY 6, 2010 | SUPER BOWL XLIV | PAGE 3

    INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

  • BY ROBIN SHANNONLOBSERVATEUR

    LAPLACE Forty-three years ago,LaPlace native RolandLaBranche Jr. wagereda bet on the first play ofthe first game of thefirst season in the sto-ried history of the NewOrleans Saints.

    On that play, Saintskick returner JohnGilliam ran the gamesopening kickoff back 94yards for the Saintsfirst ever touchdown.

    Although the Saintswould end up losingthat game 27-13 to theLos Angeles Rams,LaBranche, by virtue ofthe opening score,would walk away fromthe stadium a big win-ner.

    He entered a pool atthe game and wound upwinning this huge bot-tle of whiskey, saidLaBranches daughterAnnette Ayme. It camewith its own little plat-form and, as kids, wewere never able totouch it.

    The prize was a gal-lon-sized bottle of OldGranddad Whiskey.Ayme said her father

    saw his little victory asa sign of bigger and bet-ter things, whichexplains the little pacthe made with himselfand his family.

    He specifically stat-ed that the bottle wouldnot be opened until theSaints reached theSuper Bowl, Aymesaid. I dont think hequite expected it to takethis long.

    As the years passed and the Saints strug-gled along season afterseason the bottle con-tinued to sit, collectingdust in a bedroom atLaBranches LaPlacehome.

    In 2000, LaBrancheshome caught fire, andthe roof caved in on theroom holding the bottle.Ayme said as the familysifted through the rub-ble, they came acrossthe bottle still sitting inits metal carrier in thecorner of the room.

    It looked like it was-nt even touched,Ayme said. It was clearthat this bottle hadsomething specialabout it.

    Ayme said her fatherpassed away in 2005, theyear before the Saints

    would come as close asever to reaching the biggame.

    With family by hisside, Ayme said herfather uttered his finalinstructions to his fourchildren.

    He said to all of us,Do not touch that bottleuntil we get to theSuper Bowl, Aymesaid. It was veryimportant to him.

    Now that the Saintshave finally reached thebig game, Ayme saidher family is ready tocrack the seal on theaged bottle of alcohol,either to celebrate amonumental victory oragonize in defeat. Thefamily has scheduled aparty that will bringAymes brothers, Ro-land LaBranche Jr. andTimmy LaBranche, andsister Patsy Millettogether.

    We will definitelyopen it win or lose.Ayme said.

    His instructionswere to wait until theSaints get there, not towait until they win. Ithink we will probablywait until the end of thegame just to be safe.

    Whiskey bottlehas seen it all

    The late Roland LaBranche Sr. won this gallon-sized bottle of Old Grand-DadWhiskey during the first ever New Orleans Saints football game in 1967.LaBranche made a promise that he would not open the bottle until the Saintsreached the Super Bowl. (Staff photo by Robin Shannon)

    Prized bottle of whiskeywon at first Saints game in 67

    PAGE 4 | SUPER BOWL XLIV | FEBRUARY 6, 2010

    Showing Saints love

    Tania Tabors kindergarten class at St. Joan of Arc School in LaPlacefind the words to express how they feel about the Saints.

  • BY ROBIN SHANNONLOBSERVATEUR

    LAPLACE Few ofthe fans who relished inthe ecstasy followingthe New OrleansSaints victory in theNFC Championshipgame Sunday eveningtraveled as many milesas Craig Rushton did tojoin in the celebration.

    Rushton, 46, a devotedfollower of the Blackand Gold since 1991,journeyed more than6,000 miles from hishome in England toclaim his spot insidethe Louisiana Super-dome.

    Ive followed theNFL for years fromEngland, Rushtonsaid. One year, on atrip to New Orleans, Iwatched a game fromthe Superdome, and Iwas hooked. Somethingabout the team justdraws you in, and thesame could be saidabout the city.

    Rushton was inLaPlace last week withfriends Wayne Vick-nair, Fay Stanley andTrudy Torres, who alljoined him for thegame. Rushton said heand Torres forged afriendship after the twomet boarding a cruiseship in Tampa, Fla., inlate December on thesame weekend theSaints were playing theTampa Bay Buccaneersin New Orleans.

    I was on vacationwith my wife, and wewere waiting to boardthe ship, Rushton said.I went into a sportsbar to watch some ofthe game, and they toldme they didnt have iton television, so I wentto grab my laptop towatch the game fromthere.

    Torres said shewalked into the samebar and shouted in dis-belief that the gamewasnt on.

    I couldnt believe thegame wasnt on, Tor-res said. As soon as Iopen my mouth, I seeCraig jump up with hisSaints stuff on watch-ing the game. At that

    moment, we werejoined at the hip. Wherethat laptop went, Iwent.

    Rushton, a seasonticket holder, said hewas only able to attendfour games this seasonincluding the victoryover the Vikings Sun-day. He said his obvioustravel constraints forcehim to make tough deci-sions about whichgames to go to.

    I try to get themwhen they are playingtwo home games backto back in order to opti-mize my time in thecity, Rushton said. Iactually faced an unfor-tunate dilemma indeciding whether toattend the Cardinalsgame the week beforeor this past game. Igambled that theywould make the cham-pionship and, fortu-nately, I guessed cor-rect.

    Rushton was in atten-dance for several mar-quee moments inrecent Saints history.He was in town whenthe Saints played theNew England Patriotsearlier this year andwas also present whenthe Saints reopened theSuperdome in 2006, fol-lowing Hurricane Ka-trina.

    That was such a piv-otal moment for theteam and the city, hesaid. Prior to thestorm, I think a lot ofpeople were starting tothink the team wasgoing to move out ofthe city to San Antonio.I think Katrina went along way in securingthe teams place in NewOrleans. The Saints area way of life here. It iseverything to thesefans. Everyone who fol-lows the Saints puts somuch passion intothose 16 weeks.

    Rushton said the pas-sion of Saints fansweek after week rivalsthe passion of devotedsoccer followers inGreat Britain and otherparts of Europe. Theonly difference is that aSaints game is a familyevent.

    If you go to anyother stadium for afootball game or soccermatch, the crowd is pre-dominately white, mid-dle class men withsome amount ofmoney, said Rushton.You dont see that withthe Saints. People of allraces and all ages go tothese games. There area lot more women andchildren in the crowd,and they are not justgoing for the game.Saints game days aresocial events.

    Rushton, a magazinepublisher and advertis-er, makes his home inthe city of Stoke-on-Trent in the county ofStaffordshire, England.The city is situatedabout 100 miles north ofLondon and 40 milessouth of Manchester.

    Its literally the mid-dle of England, saidRushton. Its a citythat is actually compa-rable in size to NewOrleans. Our big claimto fame is pottery.

    Since the NFL hasstarted scheduling reg-ular season games in

    London, Rushton saidthe leagues followinghas grown tremendous-ly.

    He said there areother Saints fans hereand there, but most peo-ple follow the teamscloser to the east cost ofthe United States.

    There are lots offan