METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Sean Payton still hadn't gone home yet when the New Orleans Saints returned to work the day after the biggest win in franchise history.
Drained after an emotional overtime triumph that set off celebrations all across the city, Payton joined family and friends for dinner downtown and then relaxed in a hotel.
"There was just so much emotion," Payton said Monday at the team's suburban training center.
"You know, when you finish with the locker room…you just try to find your family. My son's concern is the confetti's going to keep us from being able to play catch on the field. That was his concern. It was just good to hug them and be around the family and enjoy the time. There never seems to be enough of it."
"For them to have a chance to be part of it I think it makes it really special," Payton continued. "Obviously, the same goes for this upcoming game."
The upcoming game happens to be the first Super Bowl involving the Saints in the franchise's 43 years of existence.
This is only the ninth winning season the club has had. The 31-28 overtime victory over Minnesota on Sunday night marked the first time the Saints had hosted an NFC championship game. So when it was over, fans in the Louisiana Superdome and residents of a city that already acts on any excuse for a party spilled into the streets and toasted the Saints' success.
Bourbon Street was mobbed with revelers in Saints jerseys letting out high-pitched howls of delight and stirring up impromptu chants of "Who dat say dey gonna' beat dem Saints!"
Some exchanged watery-eyed embraces after watching their team pull out a high-stakes thriller that appeared to be going the Vikings' way before Tracy Porter intercepted Brett Favre's pass in Saints territory in the last minute of regulation."It was crazy. It was almost like Mardi Gras," said Porter, who would know because he grew up in south Louisiana.