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Championship video means another party in Big Easy

Posted Mar 8, 2010

Saints-Championship Video

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -One month after the New Orleans Saints' first Super Bowl championship, the team and city were holding yet another party.

It took 43 years for the Saints to win their first title, and four weeks for NFL Films and Warner Home Video to complete a commemorative video recapping the best season in franchise history.

``The tears will be running out of my eyes for sure,'' Brees said as he walked the red carpet, a throng of fans screaming his name, at the video's premiere Monday night. ``So much of it has been about reflecting back on the journey and the moments that I've tried to enjoy. ... That's what tonight is, too. It's a reflection on everything we've been through, especially this season, and the guys that you did it with, and obviously our fans, the Who Dat nation. We accomplished something really special and we did it together.''

The video's official release was set for Tuesday, hours after the premiere at the 95-year-old Prytania Theater in New Orleans' historic Uptown neighborhood.

Along with Brees, the guest list included Tracy Porter, Will Smith, Darren Sharper, Deuce McAllister and others.

Porter said he'd enjoy reliving his late-game interceptions of Brett Favre in the NFC title game and of Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, the second of which gave the Saints an insurmountable two-touchdown lead over the Indianapolis Colts late in the fourth quarter.

Having grown up in Louisiana, he said it was a thrill beyond his imagination to attend a premier for a championship video in which he stars.

``It was beyond me when I got drafted here,'' Porter said. ``Not many guys get the opportunity to get drafted by their hometown team that they've been watching and supporting growing up, so that was a dream come true all on its own. But to be on the red carpet, to make two significant plays to help us get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl, and being a fan, I'm just in awe right now.''

Sharper, currently a free agent, showed up on crutches because of recent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Having played with Green Bay in a Super Bowl - and lost - during his rookie season, he'd been waiting 13 years to get back and win.

``When you play in a game like that you want to try to visualize and absorb everything that goes on around you, but it's tough because you're also so focused and a lot of times you miss out,'' Sharper said.

Jeff Brown, a Warner Home Video executive vice president specializing in TV sports and animation, said orders from retailers were already 25 percent above expectations.

``We definitely find a correlation to the first time a team wins and sales, and our orders from retail partners are confirming that,'' Brown said.

The video covers the season game-by-game, with highlights from key plays and in-game audio from players and coaches.

Curious about what kind of gum Sean Payton was craving during the final minutes of the Super Bowl? Now you can hear it from the head coach himself.

Then there's Payton's well-chronicled exchange with Garrett Hartley moments before the young kicker made his field goal to send the Saints to their first Super Bowl.

``You just groove this thing,'' Payton says. ``I don't want you thinking about anything but hitting that fleur-de-lis. Just hit your kick though, son. Here's why. You deserve to be here.''

Linebacker Scott Fujita, who spent four season in New Orleans before signing as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns the day before the premiere, is prominently featured in clips from the Super Bowl.

In a segment from the first half, Fujita jokes with Colts quarterback Peyton Manning: ``How about throwing us a few.''

Manning grins and facetiously responds, ``Yeah, OK,'' the exchange foreshadowing Porter's game-breaking interception later on.

In the fourth quarter, Fujita walks toward Manning and yells, ``Peyton, I can eat Oreos faster than you,'' a mocking reference to one of Manning's many endorsement deals.

Fujita then turns to linebacker Scott Shanle and says, ``I just told him the Oreo joke. I don't think he liked it.''

Fujita had to be talked into wearing a microphone during the Super Bowl, ``because I tend to say some really off-the-wall, outlandish things,'' the linebacker said Monday by phone from his home near Monterey, Calif.

``I'm glad I did it because it was hilarious,'' Fujita continued, adding that leaving the Saints won't lessen his enthusiasm for the video. ``No matter what color I'm wearing, I'm always going to have this past season and all those experiences, not just of the 2009 year and the Super Bowl, but everything the last four years. Those are things we will carry forever.''

The video frames the Saints' march to their first championship in the context of the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the uplifting role the franchise has played in the community since the storm struck in 2005.

``That's so appropriate,'' Brees said. ``This city has fought through so much adversity as have our team and the guys who came here back in '06. ... We knew we had a long road ahead of us then, but we felt like all along, as long as we did things the right way and believed in one another, and leaned on one another, we could accomplish something great and be world champions - and so much of that, too, was the strength our city gave us.''

As the credits role on the video, there are scenes from the Saints' championship parade back in New Orleans, accompanied by an instrumental version of the classic ``When the Saints Go Marching In,'' the song for which the team was named.

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