Ad Spot

Saints playing for home field advantage

By Staff
Thoughts whizzing about as I wonder what the decibel level was at the house party when Tampa Bay scored that last touchdown.
NEW ORLEANS There are no more ifs, ands or buts, no more conditions. The New Orleans Saints are NFC West Division champions for the first time since 1991 and for only the second time ever.
Sunday's post-game party in the Superdome picked back up at former Ole Miss standout and current Saints defensive lineman Norman Hand's house in Destrehan Monday night where many of the Saints piled up to munch down on a veritable cornucopia of snackage and watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers deliver to them the NFC West crown.
Hot wings and pizza aside, Monday night's thrilling 38-35 Bucs victory, not only clinched the title for the Saints, but it put the Rams (9-6) behind the eight ball.
If the Saints win the Christmas Eve matchup, the defending Super Bowl champs are out of the playoff picture.
But even though the division is already all sewn up, New Orleans still has a lot to play for.
A win Sunday and losses by both the Giants and the Vikings will give the Saints home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
A five-way tie at 11-5 between the Saints, New York, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia who ends the season against Cincinnatti breaks in favor of the Saints by virtue of a superior conference record of 10-2.
The Bucs playoff-clinching win Monday night also opened the door for the Detroit Lions (9-6), who should finish the season with a win at home over the Chicago Bears. The Lions clinch the sixth seed with a Saints regular-season finale win.
The Saints, however, lose any head-to-head or three-way tiebreakers against Detroit and Philly because of the early-season losses to both of those clubs.
The way things are shaking out to this point sees the NFC six-team field as New York, Minnesota, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Detroit.
In the locker room after the 23-7 Sunday win over Atlanta, special teams player and reserve running back Fred McAfee admonished everyone to keep their feet on the ground.
And coming from a seasoned veteran who has experienced both the depths of Saints history and the heights of reaching the Superbowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the rest of the locker room should take heed.
USM fans need to get up
Two days before the Mobile Alabama Bowl officials reported flirting with a near sellout. Here's hoping it does and here's hoping Southern Miss fans step up to the plate and make a big showing at what promises to be the most talented bowl opponent the Golden Eagles have faced in years, not to mention USM's biggest game of the season.
The game is only 90 miles or so from Hattiesburg and 130 from Meridian so there's absolutely no excuse for USM to not have at least half of Ladd-Peebles Stadium to themselves.
USM should take anything less as an embarrassment, and if the folks from Fort Worth outnumber them, well that would be pretty pathetic and USM could probably forget about getting bowl invites if they don't win Conference USA outright.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. Email him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.

News

Russellville Elementary students celebrate Board of Education Appreciation Month

News

BTCPA stages ‘Bad Year for Tomatoes’

Franklin County

County takes needed steps to continue broadband expansion

News

Russellville High School holds Community Partnership Breakfast to connect with community

News

Sign up now for youth rec sports through March 1

News

Russellville club names Bob Seeley Civitan of Year

Franklin County

New year brings official end to concealed carry permit requirement

Franklin County

Schools recognize Franklin County Board of Education

Columnists

Book Lovers Study Club submits 2022 reports

News

RHS alum receives Keller Key at UNA

Franklin County

Cattlemen convene for annual banquet

Belgreen Bulldogs

Belgreen hires football coach for fledgling program

News

City approves temporary fire department promotions

Franklin County

Commission decides to request bids for elevator maintenance

News

Whimsical window art brightens RPL

Belgreen Bulldogs

Belgreen gets football coach

Franklin County

Martin Luther King commemorative march takes place in downtown Russellville

Franklin County

New district attorney swears in

Franklin County

Cattlemen’s Association prepares for annual meeting

News

Russellville Public Library director speaks at Book Lovers meeting

Franklin County

Vina native returns to hometown church to share her story

Franklin County

Couple continues annual Christmas jail ministry

News

City officials reflect on old year, look toward new

Franklin County

MLK march returns to Russellville this year, set for Jan. 16

x