The Saints didn’t play their best game, or even one of their better games. They spent the second half hanging on by a thread against what looked like a better team in the Minnesota Vikings, who outgained their suddenly-tepid offense by more than 200 yards.
But they forced five turnovers, clawed their way into overtime and then clawed their way into range for Garrett Hartley to hit the kick of his life, a perfect 40-yard field goal which propelled this team into history.
No longer are the Saints a joke of a franchise. No longer are they the NFL’s lovable losers. This team, which has grabbed Louisiana by its heartstrings and captured the imagination of a beleagured and insecure America, is still alive in its quest to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
So while it wasn’t pretty, we’ll take tonight’s 31-28 overtime victory and savor it for the rest of our lives. The Saints are headed to the Super Bowl, and for now, all is right with the world.