Top five moments in New Orleans sports 2010

2010 New Orleans sports

For 38 years, I have lived in one of the most rabid, yet unsuccessful, sports cities in the world. America got a taste of the passion of New Orleans sports fans in 2010. But we have cheered and cried for our teams' wins and losses long before the 2010 New Orleans Saints triumph. And just like a brown pelican rising from the ashes, the bitter memories of the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina were replaced for a short while by tears of joy. 2010 is a year that New Orleans sports fans will never forget. It was the greatest year of our lives.

The New Orleans Arena and the Louisiana Superdome
Wikimedia Commons

5. The New Orleans Hornets get off to an 8-0 start

After the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010, few sports fans in New Orleans expected much from the Hornets. With first-time NBA head coach Monty Williams leading the way and Chris Paul publicly talking about playing for the New York Knicks, there was not much positive "buzz" about the Hornets. But after winning just one preseason game, the 2010-2011 New Orleans Hornets got off to an 8-0 start. And this was not "cupcake city." Those wins included victories over the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. After seeing the Hornets underachieve under Byron Scott, I found it gratifying to see them energized under a rookie head coach.

4. Rickey Jackson is inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Prior to Sean Payton, the golden age of New Orleans sports was when Jim Mora coached the Saints from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. During that time, the Saints made the playoffs four times. The foundation of that team was the NFL's top-ranked defense, especially the linebacking corps. Known as the "Dome Patrol," the squad was led by OLB Rickey Jackson. A versatile player, Jackson was equally effective against the run as he was rushing the passer. He also had a knack for both forcing and recovering fumbles. I always respected Jackson for "telling it like it is" in interviews. In 2010, I was proud to see Rickey Jackson finally get inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

3. The New Orleans Saints win the NFC Championship

In 2006, the New Orleans Saints shocked the sports world by reaching the NFC championship game for the first time in franchise history. Unfortunately for New Orleans sports fans, that game ended in defeat. But thanks to a 13-3 record, the New Orleans Saints had home field advantage in the 2010 NFC championship game. As he had done many times before, Brett Favre(notes) threw an interception as the Vikings were about to take the lead late in the game. Then in OT, Garrett Hartley(notes) kicked a FG to send the New Orleans Saints to the 2010 Super Bowl. New Orleans sports fans like me thought this day would never come. Little did I know that the Saints were not done yet.

2. The New Orleans Saints victory parade

Whenever a pro sports team wins a championship, the city throws them a parade. But nobody throws a parade like New Orleans. So when the Saints won the 2010 Super Bowl, New Orleans sports fans were ready for an awesome parade. Held two days after the Super Bowl, sports fans dubbed the day "Dat Tuesday." Various Mardi Gras clubs donated floats to the parade. The attendance was estimated at 800,000. And traffic was so backed up, thousands of people never arrived. I planned on going after work, but when I saw what the crowds and the traffic were like, I had to watch on TV. It was amazing to see New Orleans come together in 2010.

1. The New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLIV

On February 7, 2010 the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 to win Super Bowl XLIV. Then New Orleans sports fans lost their minds. I broke down in tears and hugged my family. We ran out in the streets and embraced strangers. Car alarms were set off and fireworks were shot. And best of all, unlike in many other cities, there were no major violent crime incidents in New Orleans that night. It was the greatest night of 2010. It was the greatest night of our lives.

Sources

"Hornets stay unbeaten, beat Blazers for 8th win," yahoo.com

"Rickey Jackson," pro-football-reference.com

Barry Wilner, "Saints beat Vikings in OT, reach 1st Super Bowl," yahoo.com

Ramon Vargas, "New Orleans Saints Super Bowl parade crowd was largest in memory, organizer says," nola.com

Steven Wine, "Saints win 1st NFL title by beating Colts 31-17," yahoo.com

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Updated Monday, Dec 13, 2010