The New Orleans Saints are in the Super Bowl. Yep, it's true. The team that has been perennial doormats of the NFL has finally made it to the big game. And for SB Nation's Saints writer Dave Cariello, he couldn't be happier because he happens to be going too. Canal Street Chronicles is our Saints site and the NFL has credentialed Cariello for the big game. Dave will be arriving in Miami right before the game to bring Saints fans on the ground coverage of the biggest game in franchise history. I figured it would be a great time to get to know him.
Tyler Bleszinski: Tell me about how you came to be at SB Nation.
Dave Cariello: I had started my own Saints blog on Blogger. After only a few weeks of doing it, while seeking out the competition, I stumbled upon Canal Street Chronicles but it was abandoned. The most recent post was about three months old. So I emailed you guys at the contact address on SB Nation's homepage and told you why I thought it would be a good idea for me to take over. You guys responded and after about a week of watching me, you gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I really hadn't been blogging for long at all and I feel like I kind of slid in under the radar. Like a lot of the great things in my life, it was just a matter of perfect timing.
Bleszinski: How would you describe the community at Canal Street Chronicles?
Cariello: Awesome. They're the reason I do this. I always try to let them know that. I really believe that Canal Street Chronicles is the best place on the internet for high-level, respectful, well-reasoned Saints conversation. Of course we've got the usual clowns that any community of our size would have but even they're a part of the whole wacky family. I'm just happy to be able to provide a place for fans to meet and share their feelings.
Bleszinski: How'd you become a Saints fan?
Cariello: I grew up in New York but was a hockey fanatic. Played for two ice hockey teams, played street hockey in my free time, went to Islander games regularly. I never really cared much for football so I never had an allegiance to the Jets or Giants. When I moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, hockey pretty much stopped being a part of my life. On lazy Sunday afternoons in college, I would often wake up at noon and just veg on the couch watching TV. The Saints just happened to be on the television at that time and after a few Sundays in a row the games went from being background noise to my favorite part of the week. Something about them was just so lovable and I've always been a fan of underdogs. I never left New Orleans even after college so my interest and obsession just grew from there. Then, when I attended my first game in the Superdome, it was all over. Of course the Saints lost but I'll never forget the way I felt walking out of the stadium. I was hooked. I don't think I've missed and home games since then.
Bleszinski: The Saints have been perennial doormats in the NFL and ever since Drew Brees got there, the team has seemingly done a remarkable turnaround. Do you find yourself having to pinch yourself to make sure it's real? The Saints in the Super Bowl.
Cariello: It's been about a week now so I think it's finally started to sink in. This whole 'Who Dat' controversy has brought us back down to Earth a bit. But it's definitely weird to still be blogging about football in February and sort of be the center of the entire country's attention. Definitely something we're not used to as Saints fans. My one real hope is that this season isn't some flash in the pan and that this is just the tip of a dynasty iceberg.
Bleszinski: Who is your all-time favorite Saints player?
Cariello: Drew Brees. Hands down. As long as he is leading this team, the Saints will always have a chance. I will admit that I haven't been a fan long enough to have seen many of the older players like Archie Manning, Bobby Hebert and the Dome Patrol first-hand but I don't think it even matters. Drew is really that special. On and off the field.
Bleszinski: What is your all-time favorite Saints moment?
Cariello: I just recently experienced my all-time favorite Saints moment when the Saints beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship. Not only was the game just amazing but that win means so much for the city of New Orleans and for Saints fans. I will never forget what it felt like to be in the Dome that night with people crying all around me.
Of course the first game back in the Superdome after Katrina on Monday night against the Falcons is a close second. When Steve Gleason blocked that punt....just wow. Third place would probably be going to London and watching the Saints play the Chargers in Wembley stadium. Not many people get to say they saw their team play in another country.
Bleszinski: What do you anticipate happening in the big game?
Cariello: I think a lot of people are expecting the Colts to win, which is when the Saints usually play their best so don't count them out. This game is setting up to be quite an offensive duel with Manning and Brees, the two best quarterbacks in the league, at the helm. Which is why it might surprise a lot of people when I say that I think it will be defense that wins this game, more specifically, the Saints defense.
Bleszinski: I am going to ask our Colts writer Brad Wells this, but I'm going to ask you too. Who do you think Archie Manning is rooting for? The franchise he starred for? Or his son?
Cariello: Archie has already gone on record to say that he puts his son first and he will be rooting for Peyton and the Colts. I think that's exactly what he should do.
Bleszinski: You're going to the Super Bowl this year as a credentialed member of the media. What do you expect that experience to be like?
Cariello: Scary. The Saints organization doesn't like our kind very much, so I have absolutely no experience being a real media member at the local level and having that kind of access. Now that it's actually become a reality, to have my first credentialed experience be at the Super Bowl of all places is quite a way to make an entrance. That being said, I am completely stoked. I also expect it to be very hectic and fast-paced.
Bleszinski: Thanks so much for your time and best of luck to your team.
Cariello: I should be thanking you, Tyler.