The New Orleans Saints won their first road playoff game this past Saturday, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24, thanks to a field goal by kicker Shayne Graham with just three seconds to play.
The conventional wisdom — espoused by the NFL’s rotating cast of professional prognosticators — said that the New Orleans Saints couldn’t win a game in the cold, and couldn’t win a playoff game on the road.
After all, all five of the Saints’ losses this season were on the road, and the the team has struggled in the postseason cold — from the snowy Chicago game in 2007, to Marshawn Lynch’s Seattle “Beast Quake” run in 2011.
In fact, the Saints had never won a playoff game on the road. Ever. That is, if you don’t count Super Bowl XLIV.
Saturday’s game was a tough one, in frigid, hostile territory. But New Orleans is no conventional team.
Nor are their fans. In an only-in-NOLA ritual, hundreds of people lined the roads outside the airport at 4 a.m. Sunday to welcome the team home.
Now it’s back to Seattle, to face a dominating Seahawks squad that beat the Saints handily just a few weeks ago. Seattle is well-rested, having ended the season with a 13-3 record and a first-round bye, and is favored by many to win it all this year.
That game is this Saturday, at 3:30 p.m.