Did Hurricane Katrina actually save the Saints?

File this one under “Anniversaries not worth celebrating.”

Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina smacked New Orleans into a sudden state of disrepair, but the hometown team is the reigning Super Bowl Champions. Whoa.

Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune proposes “no other conclusion is possible” that the storm was, in fact, the greatest thing ever to happen to the once ain’t-worthy franchise.

The Saints had been mired in mediocrity for years (and, for many years before that, had been slightly south of competitive) pre-K.

However, here’s a look at what’s happened since as a result of the devestating storm:

– The Superdome was completely renovated using exclusively Federal money. (In other words, it was free.)

– The chaos-filled 3-13 season following the storm cost head coach Jim Haslett and many others their jobs, making wholesale changes possible, including drafting Reggie Bush.

– Those wholesale changes included Sean Payton and Drew Brees coming aboard.

– Fans and businesses, as well as the national media, rallied around the Saints, providing an influx of taxpayer/ticket-holder money. The value of the Saints increased by 25% over the past five years.

It’s an interesting take, and one that’s surely going to create some controversy given the sensitive nature of the subject and the hardships created in other parts of the city. Ask Spike Lee.

But, there’s no arguing with the results. The Saints became the new “America’s team,” and open the season as favorites once again.

Sometimes the hardest winds are needed to be the winds of change.

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