New Orleans Saints kicker Blake Grupe joined the Touchdown Club of New Orleans for their second dinner meeting of the 2023 season at Porter & Luke's on Tuesday, September 26.
Down 18-17 with 1:10 left in Sunday's game vs. the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints kicker Blake Grupe lined up to kick a potentially game-winning 46-yard field goal. The rookie out of Notre Dame hadn't missed a kick in the regular season in his young career, making his first six attempts as well as all 11 of his extra-point attempts. The snap was on target, the holder set it down precisely.
No good. Wide right.
Green Bay would come out and take knees to seal the game.
Two days later on Tuesday, Sept. 26, Grupe would come face-to-face with rabid Saints fans. How would they greet him?
They greeted him with a standing ovation.
Grupe spoke and answered questions at a New Orleans Touchdown Club dinner at Porter and Luke's Restaurant alongside co-host of SportsTalk WWL Radio Mike Detillier. Afterward, Grupe took photos and visited with the attendees.
Grupe touched on a number of subjects from New Orleans cuisine, to the history of Saints kicking, to his college experience, his kicking process and plenty more.
Grupe also clarified that he is "absolutely" recognized now when he enters the Caesars Superdome after he was questioned about credentials during his first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Grupe broke down some of the nuances of kicking including things like weather and indoor vs. outdoor kicking for those in attendance as well as described his process.
"When it's time to go on the field and on gameday, especially playing here now, you know there is a lot of juice, a lot of energy that you feel," Grupe said. "All I know is I kind of rear back as far as I can and just let it fly. Most of the time that works out for you and whether it's flying down the field on a kickoff or making field goals, I pretty much put my whole body into it."
Those in attendance, such as Saints fan and member of the Touchdown Club John Robertson, greeted Grupe warmly despite the miscue against the Packers
"He was batting .1000 until then and oh course you can't just do that forever," Robertson said.
Robertson expressed confidence in the 24-year-old rookie and said he can get stronger and better.
"I think we are in good hands to be honest with you," Robertson said.
Detillier too expressed confidence in Grupe saying he has a quality very important for being an NFL kicker, he has "amnesia."
"When you let it dwell in your head, and we've all been through it in life, we remember something bad," Detillier said. "We can't turn the page. He knows how to turn the page."
The Touchdown Club raffled off a number of Saints-themed prizes after the question-and-answer sessions with Grupe and Detillier.
Touchdown Club dinner meetings are typically held every Tuesday before Saints home games. The club is a non-profit organization originating in 1967.
Grupe said the Touchdown Club was a great group of passionate fans to meet.
"I was talking to my Dad and telling him after Sunday, of course, I have some (public relations) stuff," Grupe said. "But, of course, I think regardless, we have loving fans and they are obviously very passionate so you want to go out and do it for them, but it was nice to feel the support."
Check out the New Orleans Saints fans who traveled for the game against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season.