By: Mark Fitzgerald
The Super Bowl victory edition of The Times-PIcayune is the best seller ever with more than 500,000 single-copy sales by Monday afternoon, the New Orleans daily said.
As evening approached, the paper said its presses would continue to roll to meet demand.
By noon Monday, The Times-Picayune had printed at least 200,000 copies over its ordinary number of single-copy papers — and the printing presses were still running to keep up with the extraordinary demand for newspapers proclaiming the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory.
“It’s a totally moving target,” Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss said of the ever-growing press run. “The presses are still going and we are trying to satisfy a demand which doesn’t seem to slack.” A normal press run for single-copy sales would be about 25,000.
When Amoss arrived for work at the paper Monday morning, he said, the line of people waiting to buy copies stretched all the way around its imposing building. “When I drove up this morning,” he said, “I literally gasped. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Waiting in line was a cross-section of New Orleans of all occupations and races. Walking away were buyers with bundles of 20 or 30 papers, Amoss added.
The coveted front page pictures a triumphant Saints quarterback Drew Brees under a five-inch single word headline: “AMEN!”
The Times-Picayune last week held a contest among readers to come up with the victory headline, and within 24 hours received 800 entries. Among the suggestions from Saints fans, who call themselves Who Dat Nation, were variations on the theme: “WE DAT,” for instance, or “BELIEVE DAT.”
But in the end, Amoss said, the headline was thought up in the newsroom, from “a couple of people, especially the Page One editor,” Terry Baquet.
And while there may still be no cheering in the press box, there was “unrestrained jubilation” inside the Times-Picayune newsroom when the Saints clinched their upset victory with a 70-yard touchdown on an interception of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
“Even among the sportswriters, who usually have an arms-length approach to things like this,” Amoss said.
The victory resonated deeply in his city, Amoss said. “It affirms what a strong community there is in New Orleans, and in many ways is tied to the recovery after Hurricane Katrina. The fate of the Saints has become a kind of metaphor for New Orleans’ larger recovery. And the players know that.”