NBC Super Bowl pregame show to feature former Saint Steve Gleason

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Fans of the New Orleans Saints were sorely disappointed when they saw that they wouldn’t be watching the team play in the Super Bowl on February 5.  Fortunately, they will get to see something that will be simply inspirational.

It involves a feature on former Saints safety Steve Gleason and his battle with ALS or what people refer to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Sports Illustrated’s Peter King actually spearheaded the project and visited Gleason many times since he went public with the diagnosis in September 2011.

Gleason will always be remembered for the blocked punt against the Atlanta Falcons on the night of the re-opening of the Superdome after Hurrican Katrina.  The blocked punt occurred early in the game and was returned by defensive back Curtis Deloatch for a touchdown.

The Superdome erupted as Gleason flew along the sidelines with outstretched arms and his long hair flowing from his helmet.  That sparked the team into a blowout victory over the Falcons that night and will go down as one of the defining moments in Saints history.

Once Gleason went public with his ALS diagnosis in September, he appeared as the honorary captain in the game against the Houston Texans on September 25.  We watched from our seats as he held onto quarterback Drew Brees for assistance in walking to the field to lead the crowd in the “Who Dat Chant”.

Gleason has been a fixture at all the games with his wife, Michel, and their son, Rivers.  Fundraisers for his organization, Team Gleason, are helping raise awareness about not just Steve, but ALS itself.