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- The NFC South Division Champion New Orleans Saints (13-0) have the ability to clinch home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs this weekend. The Saints, who already have secured the division title and a first round bye in the playoffs, would need to defeat or tie the Dallas Cowboys (7:20 pm; Dec. 19) coupled with a loss or tie by the Minnesota Vikings (7:20 pm; Dec. 20 at Carolina).
- One other scenario possibly exists for the Saints to secure the home field advantage throughout the playoffs with the number one seed: a tie by the Saints against the Cowboys coupled with a loss by the Vikings in Carolina.
- "That's what we're playing for right now," said head Coach Sean Payton. "Last week, as we approached the Atlanta game, the only thing we could do was to secure a first-round bye-and we accomplished that. Right now, our focus is strictly on Dallas and no one else."
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The SAINTS HALL OF FAME at the Superdome gets in the holiday spirit for the next two home games on December 19th and 27th, 2009. with aspecial exhibition entitled:.
"SANTA IS A SAINTS FAN FROM WAY BACK....and we have Santa's Scrapbooks to prove it!"
The display features a collection of SAINTS memorabilia compiled by Santa Catlett. Born on All Saints Day, Catlett was named SANTA -- another version of Saint. It is only natural that Santa would be a New Orleans Saints fan.
Among the exhibited items are letters to Santa from owners Tom and Gayle Benson; Coaches Jim Mora, Mike Ditka, Bum Phillips, Dick Nolan, John North and others. Especially interesting is one from John Mecom, Jr, original team owner, which almost reads like a real letter to Santa:
I am in receipt of your letter of October 26th, relating the difficulties you have encountered in locating New Orleans Saints gift items.
As you may know we attempted the operation of a NFL Properties Shop at our administrative office location. Due to lack of interest and very low sales volume, the shop was closed in February and all available stock was sold to Security Sporting Goods.
I am at a loss as to a recommendation for adult gift merchandise. However, my secretary informed me that she has already received some of our employee Christmas stock orders for sale to players and employees.
I am having her enclose a list of these items at our employee cost.Please feel free to contact Debbie, if any of these items would be on your gift list. Thank you for your continued loyal support of the New Orleans Saints.
John W. Mecom, Jr. President, New Orleans Saints"
When Ms. Santa Catlett relocated from New Orleans to an assisted living facility in Mississippi, she sought to find a good home for her collection of Saints memorabilia -- years of New Orleans football memories neatly organized into four big scrapbooks.
"These SAINTS scrapbooks are like my children," Santa explained with relief after learning the SAINTS HALL OF FAME had agreed to accept her donation."They belong in our SAINTS museum."
Now in her 70's and in ill health, she remains a devoted follower of the SAINTS. After every victory in this more than Merry 2009 season, Santa exclaims in her frail voice, "How 'bout dem SAINTS!"
Museum guests can browse through her scrapbooks Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 27th at the museum located at gate B in the Superdome.
The Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization established by die-hard SAINTS fans with one sole mission..... to honor the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS Football Club.
The museum opened on July 16, 1988 with the induction of Archie Manning and Danny Abramowicz. The officers, board members and staff accepted donations of artifacts from the owners, administrative staff,
players, coaches, members of the media and the best fans in the NFL -- to preserve and publicly exhibit New Orleans Saints memorabilia in its original Rivertown location.
Their dedicated efforts proved to be even more significant when hurricanes Katrina and Rita wiped out the personal collections of countless Saints fans in the Gulf South.
"When we were forced to relocated from our damaged Kenner facility to the Superdome in 2007, we were overwhelmed by the flood of emotion and tears from the fans," said Gordon Linge, the SAINTS HALL OF FAME museum exhibition designer.
"They expressed their appreciation to the SAINTS HALL OF FAME for having the foresight and vision to assemble the collection," he continued. When then Kenner Mayor Aaron Broussard established the SAINTS HALL OF FAME, he knew that that someday the history of the NFL's unique team and fan base would be valued ... and that someday is now," Linge said.
The SAINTS HALL OF FAME Media Selection Committee meets once a year to nominate and pick inductees from among the former players, coaches or top administrative officers. They abide by the same rules and voting procedures as adopted by the NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The museum then commissions painter, Bob Graham of New Orleans to create an original portrait. The first to see the painting is the honoree himself, when it is unveiled at the Induction Luncheon. To date, 22 Induction ceremony weekends have see nearly forty alumni enshrined.
The Media Selection Committee also selects the recipient of The Joe Gemelli Fleur de Lis Award -- presented to a dedicated individual who has worked diligently towards the betterment of the New Orleans Saints Football Team.
The 2009 SAINTS HALL OF FAME inductee is kicker Morten Andersen and the Fleur de Lis honoree is Jerry Romig, the SAINTS stadium announcer -- a capacity he has filled for the past 40 years.
The SAINTS HALL OF FAME has had only two Presidents, -- Joe Gemelli, an owner of the Gemelli Clothing Store and Joe Impastato, internationally known for his football-themed Metairie restaurant.
Veteran New Orleans Sportscaster and journalist Ken Trahan of New Orleans.com/Sports and WGSO, 990 AM is the museum's General Manager. Saints Fans use him as a major source of current and historical SAINTS information. "He is a walking encyclopedia of statistical data and a huge reason for the museum's success," said Linge.
The fans always get a positive spin on the team regardless of the team's current success on the field."
At first, everyone wondered why the SAINTS would have such an institution, opening on the heels of the team's first winning season ever. After all, the [Green Bay Packers](http://www.packers.com/) were the only NFL team to have one, with obvious reasons.
"This turned out to be a win, win for everyone," said Trahan, whose father was and remains an original season ticket holder, whose sister danced for the first three Saints dance teams and whose wife danced for the Saintsations. Trahan also worked Saints' broadcasts from 1995-2000 and has covered the team in his media capacity for 32 years. "Alumni coaches and players appreciate it and the fans love it." Fans have an outlet in which to participate while the team owner's reaped priceless, posiitive public relations and publicity.
A dozen or more NFL teams have consulted with LINGE and have been given a personal tour of the SAINTS HALL OF FAME. They all wish to emulate the museum idea in their stadiums," Linge says. "I tell them to use this as the model, it has worked brilliantly," he concluded.
The non-profit Saints Hall of Fame, Inc. raises funds to operate, maintain and upgrade exhibits through donations, admission fees, event ticket sales, fund raisers and sponsorships.
The museum's Title sponsor is Coca-Cola. The local bottling franchise saw the Hall of Fame as an authentic tribute to the lifelong Saints
Fans and Team Heroes. "The SAINTS HALL OF FAME established the enshrinement to be of the highest caliber and the results have been gratifying," said Trahan.
Santa's collection expresses the spirit of dedication, devotion and continuity of support by all Saints Fans since the Team's birth in 1967. Look back at of four decades of fans commitment and you see the strength, spirit and soul of New Orleans.
The SAINTS HALL OF FAME is located at Plaza gate B in the Superdome and is open three hours before kick off on home game days. Admission is free on game days as a courtesy to the SAINTS ticket holders and other times by appointment only at a cost of $7.00 per person.