Pacifica bartender guest of Saints coach
High school teammates still friends
As a tight end at Naperville Central High School outside Chicago, Charlie McLaughlin caught then quarterback Sean Payton’s first and last touchdown passes.
On Sunday, with Payton now the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, McLaughlin, a longtime Pacifica Del Mar bartender, caught his first Super Bowl victory.
Sitting in the club level of Miami’s Sun Life Stadium with relatives of other coaches, McLaughlin savored the experience of watching Saints cornerback Tracy Porter return the game-clinching interception, running toward the end zone in which he was sitting.
“It erupted when that happened,” he said. “It was nerve-wracking up until then.”
After the win, McLaughlin was able to go down on the field for the trophy presentation, enjoying it with one of his closest friends.
“I’m a fan of whatever team Coach Payton is on,” he said, adding he is still “kind of” a Chicago Bears fan.
McLaughlin attended all three Saints’ postseason games, thanks to Payton. He stayed in New Orleans for both the divisional win over Arizona and the NFC Championship game victory over Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.
“It’s like my buddy said this morning, ‘How are you going to top that?” McLaughlin said. “He said, ‘You pretty much got to kick a field goal next year.’”
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