"Rage and sympathy in the City of Brotherly Love."
I presented myself at City Hall that afternoon to see if I could find the mayor of Philadelphia. Turns out he wasn't in, so I went to the mayor's press office, and as I walked in, the office TV was tuned to a CNN report on crime and murder in New Orleans.
Great, I thought. Something we can all be proud of. But I wanted to stay with the Saints storyline, so I introduced myself to communications director Joe Grace, who asked if I had a business card.
I just paused and laughed. I told him that, in fact, I did not and that he was actually the first person to ask me for a business card in 17 months. And that is the truth.
He accepted my word that I was a reporter in good standing and invited me into his office and asked what he could do for me, and I laid out my pitch:
I asked if he was familiar with the tradition of mayors and governors making symbolic bets on big games, stuff like college bowl games or World Series -- or NFL playoffs. He told me that the Philly press corps had just asked him the day before whether their mayor had been contacted by the mayor of New Orleans for any such deal, but he told them there had been no contact between the two executive offices this week.
"That's why I'm here, then," I told him. "Our mayor is simply way too busy to take the time to make such a bet. Busy, busy, busy. So I'm here to do the city's bidding, and I propose a bet and it goes like this: If the Eagles win, we'll give you a thousand quarts of gumbo."
"OK," Grace said to me. "And?"
"And if the Saints win," I said, "you get our mayor."
He and his assistant just looked at me. "I have the proper authority to make this offer," I assured them.
After a brief pause, Grace told me, "I'll certainly convey that offer to the mayor."