It was the first home game in the Superdome. New Orleans was still a post-Katrina wreck. Remember when Steve Gleason of the Saints blocked an Atlanta Falcon punt and the Saints recovered it in the end zone? Of course you do because every New Orleanian remembers that play as the first time since the storm we New Orleanians were not victims. We were not losers. Atlanta folded soon after that blocked punt. No team in the history of football could have beaten the Saints in that game.
As Japan plays the US in the Women's World Cup finals tomorrow, they will be us, post-Katrina New Orleanians. Like us, they have the burden of upside-down lives and civil engineering failures. Not of failing levees but of their society's unique historical terror – widespread nuclear poisoning. And late at night when they're very alone, they too imagine their deceased's last moments. How they tried to push open the door. Tried to get to the roof. Tried to hold their breath.
By simply making it to the World Cup competition, Japan had its Steve Gleason blocked punt moment. Surprisingly, when they then advanced through the entire field, they had the Saints improbable run to the Superbowl. Tomorrow, they play in the World Cup final in the role of the Saints at the Superbowl.
Remember those feelings? Gleason's block. The Superbowl season. The Superbowl win. That is what tomorrow's game is all about.
Game starts Sunday at 2pm
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