New Orleans Notebook: The end

THE POSTGAME SHOW

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It’s 2 a.m. as I started writing this last (I hope) dispatch from New Orleans. Nobody sleeps tonight. The city that parties is partying. Minnesota Vikings jerseys are gone from the street now with the exception of one guy in a Favre #4 jersey. Most of the people on Bourbon Street are drunk so he was mobbed by Saints fans, not always in a good way. But it’s OK. He’s not from Minnesota. Most people with Favre jerseys who aren’t from Minnesota are from Mississippi. He was.

As I walked through the area around midnight, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like had the Saints lost.

THE FANS

It was, understandably, hard to find many Vikings fans on the street in the aftermath of the game. A large crew of them were boarding a bus for a late-night charter flight back to the Twin Cities. As I talked to them, some Saints fans put arms around them and consoled them whether they wanted to be or not.

“This is only my ninth major loss. Never brought home a winner so … right now I said, ‘this is it; no more games on the road.’ I’ll keep the season tickets but I won’t go on the road anymore. It’s ridiculous,” said Don Dahlke of Carver, Minnesota. “Then you end up having 12 men in the huddle. Twelve men in the huddle, how can that be?”

“When it’s a good game, it’s great but when you lose and there’s plays that shouldn’t have been, it ****,” said Toby Molitor of Glenwood, Minnesota. His trip to New Orleans was his son’s senior trip. No matter. A couple of years from now, his son will remember good times with Dad more than disappointment with the Vikings.

As he boarded a bus after the game for a charter flight back to the Twin Cities, Mike Malone of Mankato said he’ll root for the Saints in the Super Bowl. “Met a lot of wonderful people; never been here before. New Orleans, wait… Nawlins… I want to come back. Gracious winners,” he said.

THE HANGOVER

Most people in New Orleans in the mornings are either suffering from a hangover or working on getting one. You can decide what this guy’s status was just before the game, dancing on his car roof and destroying it in the process…

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IT’S JUST A GAME

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After the game, some Saints players’ kids play football on the field. Somewhat later — and this happens after every game — Sean Payton and his son will play catch on the field. He says when you’re 9 years old, those moments mean more than the games and it’s a way to pay his family back for the time he doesn’t give them during the season.

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Number of star-struck moments for people in the press box. One was when Kenny Chesney left pressbox seat #1 to go to the bathroom. The other was when KARE’s Mike Pomeranz was asked by Jimmy Buffett in the food line where the bathroom was.

Oh, here’s the view from the pressbox…

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Now, then. There’s a hard-and-fast rule about the press box. There is no cheering. That rule was ignored by New Orleans media last evening.

THE DUNGEON

When you’re a one-man-band covering a game, you don’t see the entire game. I left the press box with about seven minutes left and New Orleans in front, to get to the interview area so I could send MPR some audio for the morning newscasts. If you don’t get there early, you don’t get patched in to the audio system.

So there we are in the media tent which is directly under the stands, watching the game on TV.

Here’s your objective media watching the last few seconds…

15 MINUTES OF FAME

The Vikings surprised their players by bringing Larry Platt into a team meeting this weekend. Platt made the “Pants on the Ground” song famous. Offensive lineman Bryant McKinney shot the video.

After the game, a large sheet spray-painted “Favre on the Ground” hung over the Superdome’s parking ramp.

IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

There’s a huge mall and hi-rise connected to the Superdome. It’s still closed and the windows are still broken from Hurricane Katrina.

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…AND, FINALLY

Most of my work during a weekend is aimed at having something for my pal, Cathy Wurzer, on MPR’s Morning Edition broadcast. Here’s today’s conversation:

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  • Bonnie

    Lest anyone think Bob is over-stating the hospitality factor of the “Who Dat” Nation, aka New Orleans residents; I was one of the sad faces getting off that plane this morning and if anything he understated it. Crushing loss. I probably won’t live long enough to see the Vikings in another NFC Championship game. My new favorite home town team is Sun Country Airlines. President/CEO on the plane with us, the crew on that plane, the crew on the ground with us, the bus drivers in the city, they really went out of their way to provide an experience I will never forget. I do think that there is a “community spirit” aspect to the Mn Vikings that is still to be “re-discovered”. I think the Wilfs “get” that. But they can only do so much. We live here in our cold, shiny almost perfect cities with above average children. Not sure we can ever capture the gritty, earthy whatever it is that drives the Saints fans. How we lost that game? – must be voodoo!