The tale of “the nun and the football” is one of those stories.
During the Sunday afternoon Saints game coverage, a guy named Rick posted a photo on Twitter, along with the caption, “Guy seated immediately in front of me caught that ball Meach tossed into the crowd; gave it to the nun in front of him.”
The ball in question was a pass from Drew Brees to Robert Meachem, a wide receiver who recently returned to the roster. Meachem’s first act after scoring his first TD on his return was to toss the ball up into the stands of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
A big Saints fan, wearing a Saints jersey, caught the ball. After a few seconds, he gave it to a little nun sitting nearby.
Rick’s photo of the Saints fan posing with the nun went viral, and deservedly so. But, there’s a story-behind-the photo.
I tracked down Rick, the photographer, and he told us he was trying to get a shot of the play on his camera phone, but it didn’t work out. As he was putting the phone away, the play developed further, and, he thought he might be the one to catch the ball.
“The play happened so quickly, and I wasn’t able to get the shot,” Rick said. “I was in the process of putting the phone on standby, and I noticed that he (Meachem) came up and flipped the ball up. And I was scrambling to put my phone in my pocket and put my hands in the air…and the ball was coming right to me, but this very tall guy snatched it right out of the air.”
Rick’s loss is the Who Dat Nation’s gain. He went on to photograph the scene after Meachem flipped the ball into the stands.
“Everybody patted him on the back…and the little lady in front of him turned around, I guess to take a look at the ball, and that’s when he decided to give it to her. It was very well-received in the vicinity, a lot of pats on the back.”
Rick described the scene: “The lady was a tiny lady, I don’t think she was five foot tall. The man who caught the ball was a pretty good-sized man. It was kind of the strong helping the weak, or the strong not forgetting the weak, or the meek, for that matter, to remember the religious significance.
He went on to say, “The meek inherit the football, in this case. It epitomizes New Orleans, where everyone helps everyone else out. “
Rick said it was one of those moments that keeps him coming back from Houston to watch his Black and Gold play in the Superdome.
“It was a pretty amazing moment, one of those moments that just make you shake your head and say, 'Man, there’s no city like no New Orleans, that’s wraps its arms around you.”He doesn't know who the guy was who gave the football to the nun. And, Rick offered his take on the game, in which the Saints dominated the Cardinals, 31-7.
“Let’s look at the silver linings, first, and then look at the cloud” he said. “We needed to get out there and hang 30 on somebody, sort of as a reassurance…sort of as a reassurance that we’re still the Saints, and we still swing the heavy lumber in this league.”