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Friday, August 29, 2008

It's almost like people had other things on their mind

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 12:55 PM

click to enlarge watching gustav

If, say, this was the first week of the regular season, there might have been some reason to pay serious and close attention to every aspect of this football game. But it wasn't. So yea, the focus last night wasn't entirely on football. To be fair, this was after waiting for Sean Payton to emerge from the locker room for almost 10 minutes. He was apparently briefing his players on their hurricane plans (or so he told us when he finally came out some 20 minutes later).

"For our players, our coaches and everyone else in the organization, the first order of business is their families," Payton said.

click to enlarge Empty Gates

Photo by Jonathan Bachman

And that speaks to the heart of the manner more than anything else. Because that's what's going on with everyone in the everyone's mind in the city. I had this plan of getting to the game early and talking to groups of tailgaters about Gustav and its potential impact, maybe even see if anyone was even willing to consider this could be the last Saints game on the road for the foreseeable future. Only problem was that there was only a smattering of fans at this game (instead of announcing the actually attendance, the PA read the number of tickets distributed) and just a fraction partook in any pregame festivities. This was a meaningless game and the people of New Orleans had more important business to tend to.

click to enlarge David INT

Photo by Jonathan Bachman

But they did play football and there were some reasons to smile despite the loss and lack of significance. The most surprising of which came from the man they called "Toast". Yes, that is Jason David intercepting a pass. He then returned it for 16 yards, was tackled and bounced back up, pointing both hands to up to the sky. Asked what he thought was different about today's game than before and it became clear David was pointing to God.

"I just prayed and talked to my pastor in Indianapolis," he said on what he did to deal with poor play of late. "I knew it was going to come."

click to enlarge Vilma and Pennington

Photo by Jonathan Bachman

And sometimes the smiles came from something else altogether. Two years ago, Chad Pennington and Jonathan Vilma were both integral parts of the New York Jets' playoff run. Now both are on different teams trying to restart their careers. The two caught up once the game ended in the middle of the field.

"I haven't seen him in a while," Vilma said of his ex-quarterback. "Of course I'm from Miami so I wanted to hear his thoughts about my city ... [and] if he's enjoying himself and being happy with football."

click to enlarge Bob Breck Saints

Photo by Jonathan Bachman

Everyone seemed happy with football. It's that other thing that's messing things up. The one everyone in the Superdome was reminded of when Bob Breck came on the jumbotrons for the third-quarter forecast. Some fans booed the hurricane, others cheered Breck's prediction that it would miss New Orleans; I'm willing to bet everyone would have been happier if no one mentioned Gustav. Who invited him, anyway?

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