For all the bad news, bad actors, bad decisions, sometimes sports can offer something good.

Outside of Indiana, most of the nation will be New Orleans Saints fans Sunday when they play the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, there were doubts the Saints would stay in the city as they were likely to relocate to another city that was willing to take the franchise with the sad-sack history. After all, even bad teams make money for their cities.

This is the team that fans had once labeled the "Aints" while wearing bags over their heads.

This is the team that was known mostly for futility than the few winning seasons it had in its 40-plus years in the NFL, and it was in danger of leaving a city that seemingly had nothing left to lose.

But if the Saints had left, New Orleans' heart and soul would have been ripped from its proud citizens.

And if it had left, there would not be this season.

This is the season fans have long waited for; this is the season the city needed.

A trip to the Super Bowl was the last thing on their minds as residents sat in the Super Dome nearly five years ago as that vicious storm ripped through their city and sent their homes, buildings and livelihoods swirling into oblivion.

But here they are. The New Orleans Saints. When I was growing up, the Saints were the NFL follies. They were the team whose highlights were lowlights.

The only image that showed them doing anything right was Tom Dempsey's record 63-yard field goal (since tied by Jason Elam of Denver) against Detroit in 1970.

That was it. One defining moment.

Even local hero Archie Manning, father of Colts quarterback Peyton, was never able to lift up the Saints.

The newer versions of the team have been successful, and quarterback Drew Brees is the new hero in town for his work on and off the field. But nothing has equaled this season.

If we, as Americans, like our heroes humbled and able to rise from the ashes, then we love New Orleans and its Saints this week.

No city epitomizes the ability to pull together, pick itself up and try to make itself better than ever like this one is trying to do.

While the devastation can still be seen, and the city is far from being completely rebuilt, it is trying.

If ever a city needed a team to follow, to take pride in, to take its mind off the bad times, it is New Orleans.

I expect a partisan Saints crowd Sunday at the game, and around the country.

The Saints' rise is a good story without the backdrop of a city once under water, but the fact New Orleans is rising above the tide makes its history more enduring.

I mean, who would have ever thought the Saints would reach the Super Bowl? At times the organization seemed like it could not get anything right.

The team was laughed at. They were the team you wanted your favorite team to play. It was a bye week on every team's schedule.

All that is in the past. The team has hoisted the city on its back and the city has embraced the team, and together it is in the headlines for all the right reasons.

Sometimes sports gets it right. Sometimes it is good news. Sometimes it is about character. Sometimes sports can be very good.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.