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Saints wager at Mississippi bank could pay off

BILOXI, Miss. – If you are looking for a die-hard Saints fanatic, Peggy Byrd would be the one. Her entire office is decked out in black and gold. And you won’t believe what’s in her home.

“I have a Saints clock, Saints rug, Saints jewelry. I even have embroidered Saints ‘Who Dat’ toilet paper,” said Byrd.

And a piece of paper on her desk serves as a true testament of her faith in her favorite team.

Byrd is an investments vice president at Peoples Bank in downtown Biloxi. Thirty-one years ago, she made a bet with her boss, bank president Chevis Swetman. It started off as a weekly wager paid with beer.

“One day, he said, ‘Peggy, you’ve paid me so much beer, just forget it. You’ll never go to the Super Bowl.’ So that’s when I came up with the idea of doing this contract,” said Byrd.

That contract states that if the Saints ever make it to the Super Bowl, Swetman would pay all the expenses for Byrd and her husband to attend the game.

That includes tickets to the game, travel and lodging. Byrd even had the contract signed, notarized and hidden in a safe deposit box.

“Otherwise, Mr. Swetman would be searching my office,” Byrd said.

Now that the Saints are just one game away from the big match in Miami, Byrd already has her bags packed. She is looking forward to having a hotel suite on Miami Beach and a limousine ride to the game and to NFL parties.

When asked how much the package would cost, Byrd answered, “Oh, probably about $25,000. What’s that to Chevis? He’s the president of a bank.”

“She said she wanted low tickets on the 50-yard-line. But if you look at that document, it doesn’t say anything about 50 yard lines. So she’ll be lucky to get nose bleed end zone,” said Swetman with a smile.

Swetman said he signed the agreement because he gave up on the Saints back in 1979.

“I have to admit, I’m a little concerned at this point, just a little,” said Swetman. “They’ve never been this far before.”

While Swetman is pulling for the Vikings this weekend, the bank staff is rooting for Byrd and the guys in black and gold.

“I have faith in history and she’s going down,” said Swetman.

“No, I’m up for the fight.” Byrd told him.


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