NFL almost back
The start of the 2014 NFL season is less than 24 hours away. By this time tomorrow night, the KIckoff Game between the Packers and Seahawks should be finished or very close to it.
I have not been to an NFL game since November 14, 2004. It was the Chiefs and the Saints in the Superdome. Kansas City rolled up 497 yards, including 186 rushing on 33 carries by backup running back Derrick Blaylock, but the Chiefs’ defense kept letting the Saints march down the field, and with 5;28 to go, ex-Chief Joe Horn caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Broks which put New Orleans up 27-20. The Chiefs drove deep into Saints territory in an attempt to tie the game, but they turned it over. Once that happened, my dad and I left and beat the traffic out of the Superdome parking garage.
Eight days after the game, I was in a hospital in Chalmette, fighting for my life due to pneumonia and a collapsed lung. That’s another story for another day.
My dad’s company, Air Products and Chemicals, had a great set of four tickets on the 50-yard line on the east visitor’s) side of the Superdome in the Club Level. The tickets at that time cost $130 to $!50 per game; today, they’re $400 an outing. Not only were the seats awesome, but they came with full access to a club lounge where there was an expanded food collection, and those who wished to imbibe could purchase just about any cocktail imaginable. The concession selections were also much more extensive than the other levels.
My dad and I had the four tickets for the Saints-Lions game scheduled for Christmas Eve 2005, but of course, Hurricane Katrina happened, and
We did go to a Saints-Lions game on September 3, 2000, the last time the NFL opened its regular season on Labor Day weekend. The game itself was not memorable, as the Lions won a 14-10 snoozer. The lone highlight was a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the third quarter by Detroit’s Desmond Howard. Howard was used to big games in the Superdome; he earned Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honors in Super Bowl XXXI with the Packers, when Green Bay beat New England 35-21 in the BIg Easy.
It was my second consecutive day of watching football in the Superdome; the day before, I watched two high school games between four of Louisiana’s top programs. West Monroe easily beat John Curtis 25-7 in the first, but in the second, Archbishop Shaw defeated Evangel Christian of Shreveport 22-19, ending Evangel’s 60-game, four-year winning streak. Evangel’s players, coaches and fans were so stunned they didn’t know how to react to a loss. The Shaw player who blocked Evangel’s game winning field goal attempt as time expired, Cameron Vaughn, was a starting linebacker for LSU when it won the 2003 BCS national championship vs. Oklahoma in the same building.
I was bad luck to the Saints in 2000. I went to games later that season vs. the Raiders and Broncos some of my friends from Baton Rouge, and New Orleans lost both. In the Denver game, Mike Anderson rushed for a Broncos record 251 yards in a 38-23 victory.
My dad and brother got to go to the playoff game vs. the Rams, which the Saints won 31-28.