See that picture up there? That picture was taken within a second of Garret Hartley's game-winning field goal kick split the uprights and sent the Saints to the Super Bowl. Of all the pictures I took on Sunday, this has to be my abosolute favorite. The hands in the air, the complete and utter joy on the faces of the fans and - the best part - the two men in front who have yet to react, still digesting the fact that their team is in the Super Bowl.
Sorrow, disbelief, doubt, distress, joy, and elation; the finals minutes Sunday's game ran a complete gamut of emotion and it was almost unbearable to watch Saints fans go through them. Follow the jump to check out all the emotions.
After the Vikings scored to tie the game at 28, the Saints took the ball and, the way the Vikings defense had been playing at that point, you had to start wondering if the Saints could move the ball for one last scored. With less than five minutes remaining, the tension was thick.
The tension was not helped at all by the Saints who then four-and-out with a Drew Brees fumble and a false-start penalty on their first punt attempt. Brett Farve then did his best to rip out the hearts of everyone in New Orleans and they started a drive that the defense didn't seem to be able to stop.
And then this happened. Yea. People were excited.
And then the Saints won the coin toss to take possession of the ball to start overtime and people got happy yet again. But, of course, the game wasn't over yet.
Saints fans may not want to hear it but that final drive in overtime wasn't exactly the best game-winning drive ever (not that they care). The Vikings defense had all but shut out the Saints in the fourth quarter and, with three plays having called down from the officials booth for review, they weren't exactly inspiring confidence in their fans.
And then the refs helped the Saints out with a pass-interference penalty that may or may not have been legit and all of a sudden they had life. It was just up to their kicker to do something kickers accross the league couldn't seem to pull off to save their lives.
Annnd we've come full circle. This is a few seconds after the kick went through and