New Orleans Saints: 97 seconds away from the NFC Championship game

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Sean Payton and Drew Brees (Source: news.daylife.com)

During the 2009-2010 playoffs the Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings in overtime by a Garrett Hartley field goal.

A glorious moment to be sure, but one that fans will probably admit they didn’t think would happen.

As Hartley lined up to make that kick doubts surely crept into the minds of the thousand of Saints fans either watching or in attendance.

See the Saints have always been a franchise that can never seem to catch a break.

Botched snaps, wobbly passes, and unlucky bounces have been common throughout their tenure in the NFL.

Naturally it was easy to assume something would go wrong — Hartley would miss the kick — or it would be blocked.

The result was quite the opposite, he booted it right down the middle, and the Saints were NFC Champions for the very first time.

Much was the same this time around when the 49ers took over with 97 seconds to go.

Doubts crept in, and like so many times before, that old familiar feeling came around — the Saints were going to lose.

Everyone could see it coming, but no one could do a thing to prevent it from happening.

Now it’s on to the off-season and a laundry list of things the Saints must accomplish.

Drew Brees needs a new contract, as does wide receiver Marques Colston and guard Carl Nicks.

The Saints will also likely need to find a new defensive coordinator as it looks as if Gregg Willaims will head to the St. Louis Rams to coach under his good friend Jeff Fisher.

Williams departure may be bitter sweet, after all he is the man that helped the Saints achieve their first Super Bowl win, but is also the architect of a defense that has crumbled in the playoffs in consecutive years.

Maybe next year Saints fans, maybe next year.

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