The New Orleans Saints, too often the “Aints,” still were the rage when Reggie Wayne and Peyton Manning were youngsters in New Orleans.
So many years later, their hometown team is squarely in their professional team’s crosshairs. On Feb. 7 in Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, Wayne, Manning and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts must deal with the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. Not surprisingly, the pending game on a worldwide stage has memories bubbling to the surface.
“At the time I was growing up, there was a lot of brown paper bags, a lot of (television) blackouts,” said Wayne, who attended New Orleans’ John Ehret High School. “Had to listen to the game on the radio.
“But those times are gone.”
The Saints have reached the Super Bowl for the first time in their 43-year history. The days of fans wearing paper bags to the Superdome — local sportscaster Buddy Diliberto implored fans to wear them over their heads after the team lost its first 14 games in 1980 — are a distant memory.