Assistant coaches and numerous players from the Saints and Hornets exited the Lil Wayne concert in the New Orleans Arena Monday night to some great news.
The Bears won a thrilling 36-30 overtime victory against the Vikings.
Minnesota's loss is New Orleans' gain: the Saints have clinched a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the #1 seed in the NFC for the first time in team history.
The Bears won after an Adrian Peterson fumble was turned into a Jay Cutler touchdown pass on Monday Night Football, the day after the Saints' puzzlingly bad loss to the Bucs in overtime.
At 13-2, the Saints have a two-game lead on the rest of the pack with one game to go. The Vikings and Eagles are now 11-4. Minnesota has technically dropped to the #3 NFC seed with the Eagles needing to win in order to clinch a first round bye. Minnesota must win in the regular season finale and have the Philadelphia lose.
Despite Sean Payton claiming today that he will make his team treat Sunday's finale in Carolina as a must-win game, the Saints will likely now approach their Week 17 game as if it were a Week 5 game in the preseason - starters make only a token appearance. The Saints have nothing to gain but experience and injuries against a suddenly white-hot Panthers team that has dominated the Giants and Vikings in the past two weeks.
Saints head coach Sean Payton did say the Saints had some issues and problems to fix, the only understandible reason for giving starters significant playing time in Week 17. Payton said he wanted to fix the issues before they really mattered.
DT Anthony Hargrove wrote: "Oh yeah road to super bowl goes thru new orleans"
RB Pierre Thomas wrote: "Home Field Baby!! Let's Get It!!!"
QB Chase Daniel, who might be playing this Sunday, wrote: "So ready to see the "Who Dat" nation out in full force!!!!
WR Courtney Roby wrote: "Who Dat Nation its ALL on US now!! The road to the Super Bowl comes thru the New Orleans Superdome. New Orleans Saints NFC #1 seed. Blessed."
And Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald wrote: "2b honest,Playoff seeding sometimes doesnt even matter.Its about the team w/ the hot hand. As u saw last year w/ our team in the playoffs."