I have been a Saints fan my entire life being that I grew up near New Orleans. As I have gotten older, I’ve found myself gravitating less and less toward […]
I have been a Saints fan my entire life being that I grew up near New Orleans. As I have gotten older, I’ve found myself gravitating less and less toward teams in the world of sports. Above all else, just entertain me. If I find someone or a team interesting, I will follow them.
Call me a front-runner. Call me a band-wagoner. Call me a fair weather fan. I am and I don’t care that I am.
However, the one exception to the rule has always been the New Orleans Saints. No matter what I always watched them and cheered for them.
Despite having the Pelicans in my backyard as well, I just don’t feel a strong connection to them. That doesn’t mean I don’t like nor follow them. I feel the same about them as I do every other professional team. Give me a reason to follow. Now I have one with Zion Williamson. That is another story for another day though.
My dad purchased season tickets for the Saints for the 2003 season and he has kept them ever since. He has added more and I have switched seats over the years. Nonetheless, Sundays were my sanctuary of happiness for the longest time.
Throughout my childhood, high school and college, the Superdome on Sundays was the highlight of my week. I sat through the end of the Jim Haslett era which led to the most fruitful era in Saints history, Drew Brees and Sean Payton. I have by no means sat through the atrocities of Saints football. Even Haslett/Aaron Brooks was successful in terms of the history outside the Dome Patrol.
We clearly picked the right time to start attending games. I used to sit in a less than desirable environment for the Saints games as not many people attended prior to 2006. I loved going though. I loved the section I sat in. I loved being part of the Who Dat Nation.
I was there for the Dome reopening on that glorious Monday Night against Atlanta where Steve Gleason blocked the punt. I was there when John Carney kicked a game winner against the Eagles to send the Saints to their first NFC Championship. I was there when Drew Brees tried breaking Dan Marino’s yardage record for the first time. I was there when Garrett Hartley booted the field goal to send the Saints to Super Bowl XLIV. I was there when Drew Brees tossed a 62 yard touchdown to break the all-time yardage record.
These are all memories I will never forget. Some of them still move me to tears thinking about the emotions myself and 70k plus fans felt on those memorable nights. The Saints are Coming and Wake Me Up When September Ends will forever hold that special place in my heart. That moment was a rebirth for the entire city.
However, somewhere along the way things changed.
I have found myself wanting to go less and less. Honestly, it has more to do with traveling and taking six hours of my last day before the work week. I still cheer for the Saints. I still want to see them win. But, my Dr. Jekyl has turned into Mr. Hyde.
I find myself laughing when the Saints lose. Not because I want them to, but it boils down to the fans and the media in New Orleans. It is the lack of accountability both parties hold for the team. It all began 4-5 years ago starting with the media.
After a run of three consecutive 7-9 seasons, I felt like the media gave Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis a pass for mediocrity. I have always viewed Drew Brees as an elite QB for the duration of the 2010s. I give a pass for the losing season during Payton’s suspension. No head coach, no bueno.
Outside of the that, I always wondered why the Saints could not put together more winning seasons despite having an elite QB. No elite QB or borderline elite QBs loses as much as Brees does. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson COMBINED have less losing seasons than Brees.
I always thought it was a fair question to bring up. But the media has their tail between their legs when it comes to going into heavy criticism against the Saints. It was consistent inconsistency week to week. It was bad contracts. It was constant trading away of assets. It was constant misses in the draft.
In fact, prior to the 2017 season, I was screaming to fire Payton, Loomis and trade Brees to get what you can because there was still a ton of value for him. I didn’t have faith in them to turn things around. There were teams like the Texans who seemed like a QB away from deep runs. I just felt like this team should be winning more with a top end QB. I got tired of watching the mediocrity.
The Saints brought in Jeff Ireland and things turned around in a flash. They stopped handing out miserable dead money contracts. They started collecting assets. They started hitting on those assets. The last three years have been damn good. However, I still feel there is much left to be desired.
One thing I feel I do better than most is objectively look at whether the Saints can win a Super Bowl or not. The last three years have left most fans with a sour taste because of the Minnesota Miracle, the No Call and this season coming out flat against an inferior Minnesota team. They did make the NFC Championship last season. But they played flat most of the game and it was at home.
There is a trend in New Orleans football that says the Saints don’t run the ball enough. All the numbers point that to be the case. The loss to Minnesota this year was no different.
This is a narrative I have been sticking to for 4 years now and I am not backing away from it. The Saints are a much better team when Brees turns around and hands it off allowing him to utilizing play-action and short passes to keep the defense on their heels, especially now more than ever.
The media never goes after the Saints for their willingness to abandon the run far too often which leads to losses. I will never understand why. Stop looking at Drew Brees and Sean Payton through rose colored lenses.
In the playoffs, Drew Brees is 8-7 with the Saints. He is 7-1 when he throws the ball less than 40 times. He is 0-7 when he throws 40 or more passes in the playoffs. That one loss when he doesn’t is this year when the pass to run was 36-12 (4-1). I don’t count the Taysom Hill runs because you know what is going to happen.
The sole reason I find myself laughing is because of the Who Dat Nation.
January 20, 2019 is the day I found myself feeling that way…the NOLA No Call. Let me start with the premise that it was an awful play that absolutely, positively, one million percent was a Defensive Pass Interference. That was one of the worst calls at one of the worst times I have ever seen.
However, one call does not define the entire game nor does it give the Saints a pass for complete ineptitude offensively for 2.5 quarters. It does not excuse them for failing to get six inside the redzone three times. It does not excuse poor clock management on the same series of the no-call after Brees audibles to pass inside of two minutes only to fuck up the throw to a wide open Michael Thomas. It does not excuse them for not finishing the game in OT when they had a chance to do so.
But for most Saints fans, it did. I hate that. Then it became lawsuits. It became “Roger Goodell is out to get us” when there is absolutely no evidence to support that statement. In fact, it is the NFL’s best interest for the Saints to do well. The Saints are one of the biggest viewership draws in the NFL.
This past season, because of that one play, led to constant bitching from fans about every single call that goes against the Saints. For the record, I watched three Saints games in public and all three I heard the same bullshit about the refs. There is a reason I sit my ass at home on my couch watching Redzone these days.
I watched the Cowboys game at a restaurant. There was multiple people whining the entire game. One in particular at the table next to me was my favorite. Every single time there was a hold, the person would bitch about it. They would show the replay as a Saints lineman had their arms wrapped around the neck of the defender and the person was still wondering how that is a hold. It was followed up with “they always want to fuck the Saints.”
They are calling a hold because it is a hold, you moron. At one point, I started laughing maniacally at the person because there was a flag and she absolutely lost it. That person was screaming profusely at the TV about the refs fucking the Saints only to find out it was a call against Dallas. Naturally, I laughed mocking the person.
I don’t remember exactly which game but a scoop and score was called dead negating a long touchdown. Saints fans took to social media talking about being fucked and the refs are out to get them. Just a week prior, the same thing happened to Buccaneers at a more crucial point in the game on a go-ahead touchdown. In fact, that happened twice in crucial moments for the Bucs where they didn’t let the play go. But yeah tell me more how it is only the Saints.
Then of course to end the year, fans were saying the Saints were screwed again because of a late OPI that was not called. There were images surfacing of the Super Bowl OPI call compared to the play in OT. It was shared not only by fans, but NOLA media as well.
My favorite part about the still image is the fact that they were not even comparable for the simple fact that one defender had their head turned and the other did not (Saints). That matters.
When it comes to PI calls, field position, time in the game, distance of throw, type of throw, all of those things matter. The one called on George Kittle was a deep ball where he and the defender were running stride for stride and both tracking the ball. His extended arm created enough separation to haul it in when BOTH were making plays for the ball.
The play between Kyle Rudolph and PJ Williams was not even close in comparison. The Vikings had the ball in the redzone. It was basically a jump ball to one of the best redzone targets in the league against a defender where there is plenty to be desired.
From the beginning of that snap, Williams engaged Rudolph and held that engagement even once the ball was in the air. He didn’t turn his head while still engaged with Rudolph which is a DPI by the rule book. Hence the reason the Saints were the second most penalized team this season for DPI. They are notoriously bad at turning their head and looking for the ball, especially Eli Apple.
Rudolph out bodies Williams and gets the TD, game over. If you are going to sit here and argue that Rudolph should be called, I would argue that everything Williams did on that play led to Rudolph having to fend him off. Therefore, the alleged OPI doesn’t happen without the DPI.
The call stands. You lost. The real bad call of that play was allowing PJ Williams one on one with Rudolph considering that is a six inch and 70 lbs. difference
Speaking of Super Bowl and bad headlines, Bill Vinovich who was the head official for Saints Rams gets the nod for the SB. He is one of the league’s best and has been for a few years. One media outlet posted about it with the headline insinuating he was the one who didn’t throw the flag. It wasn’t his call to make because his position on the field doesn’t warrant priority on that play. It may have been his crew, but it was not his call.
Of course fans and media can’t stop themselves from thinking the NFL is out to get the Saints. As a result, I find myself caring less and less about the franchise I have always loved. It has reached a point where I laugh at the fan base when they lose because of how poorly the Who Dat Nation takes it. There was already a lack of accountability from the media. Now fans and media are feeding into the excuses because of one call.
Let it go, Elsa. You guys are becoming as deplorable as the Cowboys fan base.