Everyone loves a comeback story, and perhaps there is no better time for a symbolic display of perseverance.
Tonight, ESPN (8:00 p.m. ET) will re-air the iconic 2006 Monday Night Football matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons — a game not remembered for its competitive esteem, but one that will forever symbolize the healing of a city.
Over 70,000 raucous fans packed the Louisiana Superdome for the Saints’ first home game in the building since Hurricane Katrina forced the team to relocate for the 2005 season. It was the culmination of New Orleans’ perseverance for the past year and all their pent-up emotion exploded in the opening minutes thanks to Steve Gleason’s blocked punt which resulted in a Curtis Deloatch touchdown. Although the Saints never looked back from that infamous play and proceeded to blowout their NFC South archrival, the night will forever be an important one in Saints lore.
Nearly forgotten in such a momentous sporting event was that it was the first home game with Drew Brees as the Saints quarterback and Sean Payton as their head coach. It turned out to be a trailblazing year for the Saints, who started out 3-0 after beating the Falcons on Monday night and proceeded to win the NFC South. The Saints then went on to reach the NFC title game for the first time in their 40-year history, which was a mere precursor to their Super Bowl-winning run in 2010.
"We are excited about the ESPN rebroadcast of our 2006 homecoming game against Atlanta," said New Orleans Saints Owner Gayle Benson, via the team’s website. "That game was such a magical experience and a symbol of what we can overcome and accomplish as a community. Our resilience, strength and care for one another is what defines New Orleans and is what will get us through this crisis just as we have overcome so many before. I encourage everyone to wear their Black and Gold on Monday and share with each other, virtually, this opportunity to unite and remind ourselves of the better times that are to come. Most importantly, I hope our fans will use this opportunity to have fun, share a great memory experience and focus on the joy of what it means to celebrate our love of team and home."
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