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Saints Win Over Falcons Resuscitates New Orleans
I think leadership includes inspiring yourself and others to perform at a higher level.  Last night in New Orleans, I saw that as the New Orleans Saints dominated the favored Atlanta Falcons in a memorable game.

Since Hurricane Katrina hit a year ago, the city of
New Orleans and its citizens have not had much to cheer about. The Superdome had stood as a painful reminder of the hopelessness and helplessness that so many felt in the days following the destruction of Katrina.

Last night in a Monday Night Football game, the SuperDome took on new meaning. It became a symbol of reconstruction, of hope and a brighterSaints fans.jpg future. The atmosphere felt more like a Super Bowl than the third week of the regular season. U2 and Green Day played a pre-game concert, showcasing a cover of the The Skids song, “The Saints are Coming.” Proceeds from the single will go to Music Rising.

After the game, the Saints stood 3-0 and equaled the games they won all of last season. Remarkable things happened in this game as if the New Orleans fans in the SuperDome and at home watching somehow willed the outcome. For example, when was the last time you saw a blocked punt and a blocked field goal by the same team in an NFL game? Go back to 2003 and hundreds of games. Yet it happened last night.

The blocked punt rolled toward the end zone where it was fallen upon for a touchdown. The Saints, scoring in the most unlikely ways (blocked punt, double reverse), were empowered to dominate in all facets of the game until the final gun. Fans cheered madly for another 30 minutes after the game ended. It was a great game played by inspired Saints. But it was more than just an NFL game. It gave cheering fans a momentary return to normalcy. It provided hope for a turnaround, a comeback, an empowered effort to go beyond one’s own limits.

From the Washington Post

“Too often, we make sports and the athletes who play them bigger than they are. Players refer to their games as wars. Fans who won't remember who did what to whom five years from now act as if their lives depend upon the outcome. Sometimes, though, sport does transcend the hype and allows us to show the best of what we can be. This game - indeed, everything about this whole Saints season - was one of those times.”

Do you think it matters to the people of New Orleans? Michael Vick, the Falcons multi-talented QB said afterward, "I never in my life heard a crowd roar so loud.'' They've already showed their commitment to the team, buying out the entire Saints season at the SuperDome for the first time in the team’s history.

This one game does not erase the painful memories or alleviate all the work ahead, but it was special and for now resuscitates much of the New Orleans energy and vibe that was drown under flood waters of a year ago.

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