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Eight great quotes about Super Bowl XLIV from Saints players

Saturday, Feb. 7 was five-year anniversary of win

Zach Strief, offensive lineman

"I think, to me, the thing that I remember more than anything is sharing that with them (family) afterward. And the excitement – it's like you don't just achieve it for yourself, or your team, or your city, you achieve it for everyone that you've ever known. And that's really the way that that feels after the game and anyone that has ever had any connection to you feels a sense of pride and that's a very special thing to share. I mean, going back to your hometown after that, seeing how excited people are and seeing your picture up in restaurants that you used to eat at and, you know, it's amazing the feeling and the scale of that game and the importance in America anymore, with that game and those are the things that honestly, that stick out more than anything. I mean, the game itself, in the middle of the game, feels very much like the last game. You know, obviously there are moments when you realize you're going to win before you pick the ball off, that game no longer feels normal anymore, but it's really those moments that I shared with my family, after the game that really stick in my memory – the kind of feeling of sharing that with all of the people that have had their hands in getting me to that moment."

Scott Fujita, linebacker

"For me it was just a fun experience. I took everything in, as much as I could. Honestly I felt a lot more pressure with the NFC championship game with the Vikings, than I did with the Super Bowl. I think that's because it was played at home, in the Super Bowl, so that was our big moment and we had to deliver. We had to give all the fans and the community a big night then. And then to go to Miami for the Super Bowl, I just felt like it was hanging out and relaxing, having a good time. Obviously we were there to focus and Sean did a good job keeping the guys focused. Especially on game day, I just felt loose and relaxed and I think most of the guys on the team did as well. Walking around during pregame with some my teammates, who had been in the league for a long time and this is our first time getting to that pivotal moment of our careers and say I think I have actually found the fountain of youth. Running around and feeling young again, all the aches and pains we had all season suddenly just vanished. As much as everyone said to conserve your energy because the Super Bowl game, the pomp and circumstance, and the longer halftime, I felt like the whole thing went by in the blink of an eye. I felt fresh and rejuvenated all the way through. I was honestly like a kid who was out there running around for the love of the game again, which is a special feeling."

Jon Vilma, linebacker

"It'll definitely be with me the rest of my life. You never forget those times. I'll never forget that season with my teammates and how much fun I had winning it all. That's what I worked for my whole career. I was one of the fortunate ones to do it and not only get to the Super Bowl but win it. It definitely won't define the rest of my life. I'm too smart for that. I have way too much fun and way too much ambition for other things. That was a lot of fun and I really did enjoy it. Frankly, I enjoy doing it for not only myself and my teammates but for the city of New Orleans. From the time we won it to even now when I'm not playing football and I go out on the town and I'm eating at a restaurant, at the airport, it's nothing but love. I can feel the genuine respect and genuine admiration from the fans for everything I put out on the field. I put out my blood, sweat and tears on the field and they appreciate it. That I will always remember and that I am always appreciative for."

Jon Stinchcomb, offensive lineman

"What's funny is that I was just talking to my wife about it this week. I feel very fortunate to have played for eight years in the league and a Pro Bowl and all of these things. I'm just really grateful for the game of football. But when I'm introduced or I go to speak to schools, or churches, or wherever I'm at, they introduce me as a former Super Bowl winner – Super Bowl Champion Jon Stinchcomb. That's the tag that I have been given and it's off of one game. I'm just thinking, how about all of those other guys, all of those other players that have played 10-12 years and played great, great players, great careers that don't have that attached to them. You're so grateful for that experience, but you just think, man, all those other guys that have poured into the game and really brought a lot to it weren't as fortunate as I was to have experienced such a cool life experience. It was really something special."

Garrett Hartley, kicker

"Knowing that after watching the clock tick down and knowing that we're Super Bowl champs and being able to celebrate that with my team, on the field, and having my brother and his wife out there, and having my parents and my best friends from high school in the stands and being able to enjoy that moment with them, as well as my teammates and looking up and seeing Drew hold up that trophy. That was just a picturesque moment and something that can never be taken away from you as an individual and as a team and as Coach Vitt says, we will walk together forever for that moment and for Super Bowl XLIV and what we were able to accomplish in the 2009 season."

Will Smith, defensive end

"Just leading up to that game, the NFC championship game, we could feel the energy from the fans, from the city – it was a buzz like no other. Everything, even on the news they reported about what we were doing. After we won the NFC championship game, it was just 24/7 on the TV, it was just Saints, Saints, Saints, Saints, Saints. We all understood the importance of where we were at and we knew that anyone wanted us to win this game, especially the people of Louisiana. It was just the energy that, even when we got to Miami and looked around it was nothing but Saints fans. We knew we had a huge support group and we just thought it was great."

Scott Shanle, linebacker

"I remember not getting any sleep. I purposely wanted it that way. We had a team celebration back at the hotel and my family was in town. I just remember thinking that I wanted to stay up all night. I didn't want that night to end. I know as soon as I went to sleep and woke up, we were going to be on to the next season and that night was going to be over. I remember after the game just sitting in my uniform for the longest time and not wanting that night to end because you know eventually you're going to be on to the next season and worried about doing it again. I just wanted that night to last as long as possible. It was a great night. To have a team party back at the hotel and celebrate that night with teammates and family, it was a special deal."

David Thomas, tight end

"When we started 13-0 that was obviously a pretty big indicator but I think the calm we felt at the end of the season, even though we started 13-0 and finished on a three game losing streak, the calm and the lack of panic at that point… I think a lot of coaches and a lot of teams would have hit the panic button and started questioning everything we had done and worrying about if we had peaked too early. Sean (Payton) really was steady. His leadership really just guided us down the path and got us rolling against Arizona, Minnesota and on to the Super Bowl."

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