It was a long time coming.
Some said it never would happen. Some believed it had to -- eventually.
And millions of us waited. And hoped. And, yes, prayed.
For 43 years Saints fans young and old, black and white, rich and poor, have lived and breathed and bled for the Black and Gold -- living for the good times and dying a little at each and every bad time.
We agonized through the humiliating defeats where we never had a chance and the games that gave us hope only to slip away in the final minutes. We learned to hate the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers who sank daggers in our hearts so many times.
And yet we continued to watch, continued to hope, continued to love and continued to buy tickets. Like the puppy kicked every week by its owner, we always came back for more. Some wore bags over their heads to do it, but still they came back.
Because we believed.
Because our parents and grandparents believed and taught us how.
So when Garrett Hartley's 40-yard field goal split the uprights to give the Saints a 31-28 victory over Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game and propel the Saints into Super Bowl XLIV, the citizens of New Orleans sent up a joyous noise to the heavens.
And we shouted out to the grandfathers and fathers and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and friends and neighbors and local media personalities who did not live long enough to see this day, and who won't be with us on our sofas in two weeks to watch the New Orleans Saints play in their very first Super Bowl. The one that so many thought our team would never get to.
We so wish they were here to see it. We so wish we were here to share it. We so wish we could hear them say, "Who Dat?" just once more.