February 28, 2007 | New Orleans

With my history of being a Tom Benson critic; I think it's time to give credit where credit is due. Tom, thanks for keeping the Saints here in New Orleans, and thanks for hiring Sean Payton.

I can't begin to say what this team has done for the spirit of the people here in New Orleans. Through "hell and high water" our city was on the difficult road to recovery, and making progress albeit sometimes at a big easy pace.

Many of our people have not returned, and for many different reasons. While I thought that I loved the city more because I stayed; I now realize that many didn't return for that exact same reason: that they loved the city.

Regardless of where we all are now, the success of the Saints this year has been a uniting force that's put smiles back on the faces of many people still grieving the many losses they've faced since August of 2005.

This team's comeback from the difficult season last year has been little short of an NFL coup d'etat. Sean Payton and his gang have defied the odds and shown all the critics what they are here to do.

Saints fans all over the country finally have a chance to live the dream we never thought possible.

Thank you, New Orleans Saints, for the incredible gift you've given our city and your fans all across America.