When Super Bowl XLIV (44 for those who do not use Roman Numerals) rolls around on Sunday, look for Eastern Illinois fans to have a decidely soft spot for the New Orleans Saints.
Not only do the Saints have several Panther connections in head coach Sean Payton, special teams coach Greg McMahon and director of pro scouting Ryan Pace, but you have to love the story of the underdog.
New Orleans has been ravaged in ways that only those who have lived in the city can understand and this team, the heart and soul of the Big Easy, have breathed new life into the city.
Not only could the Saints have the story of the underdog on their side, but EIU has a pretty good track record in the Super Bowl. Former Denver Broncos head coach and EIU alumnus Mike Shanahan posted a 2-0 record in the big game winning numbers XXIII and XXXII over the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers.
Prior to Shanahan winning as the head man in Denver, offensive lineman Ted Petersen was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers championship teams in the late 1970's winning Super Bowl Rings in Super Bowl XIII and Super Bowl XIV over the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams. So all told EIU connections are 4-0 in the Big Game.
So this Sunday when you are sitting down at about 5 p.m. (Central) time to watch the game on CBS. Remember between bites of your cheesy nachos and Hurricane drinks to have a little soft spot for the Saints and their EIU connection as most of the Panther Nation will be saying - Who DAT?