I read a lot of Saints, NFC South, and general NFL blogs. I do this because I love football, I love the Saints, and I enjoy engaging other like minded people in conversation…with some occasional trash talking.
Lately, though, most of those conversations have degraded to mindless drivel. No one wants to talk football anymore.
On one side, you have people choosing to focus on what they believe is the education level of people from the state of Louisiana, the Saint’s new wealth of fans (from all over the world, no less), and how God somehow thought that a Superbowl win would be a suitable break-even for Hurricane Katrina. And on the other, you have some overzealous Saints fans who feel that our team is infallible, even with me in at running back.
The truth is folks, nobody’s used to the recent string of success the Saints have been experiencing…fans and non-fans alike. And as responsible adults, what do we do when faced with something we’re not used to? Resort to name-calling!
In an attempt to add civility to the conversation, I’ll try to explain the current state of the New Orleans Saints. Hopefully it’ll explain why there are some extreme acts of fandom by Saints fans, and also give logical reasons for others to not like the team…and not this other nonsensical crap that they come up with.
Those of us fans who’ve been around for a while knew that empty feeling from last Saturday all too well, the gut turning realization that this season was ending prematurely. It’s happened before, after all. Remember the 2002 season?
When going into Week 15, the Saints only needed to win 1 of the last 3 games to get into the playoffs? And proceeded to lay gold bricks against the Vikings, Bengals, and Panthers? Yeah. We were pretty good that year too, beating the Bucs twice before they went on to win the Super Bowl.
The difference now, though, is when we look forward to next year, its not with cautious optimism. We know our team has a solid core that is capable of competing with the best of the NFL.
Everybody else knows it too, they just can’t understand why they know it. Its like when you watch someone bouncing a basketball on the other side of the gym, and you hear the bounce way after you’ve seen the ball hit the court. You know that light travels faster than sound, but try explaining the specifics to yourself. See, confusing right?
Since the Division realignment in 2002, New Orleans has the best overall record of all NFC South teams (77-67), slightly edging the Falcons (77-66-1) because no professional game should ever end in a tie (my biased opinion, I am aware of that).
After the debacle of the 2005 season (no need in rehashing it here, we all know what happened that year), the Saints have gone to two NFC Championship games, one Super Bowl, and are the only team in the division so far to appear in the Playoffs in consecutive seasons (2009, 2010).
So for you outsiders: NO, we are no longer the Aint’s. But if that’s how you want to refer to the team, fine. Just realize your team is probably not doing a better job, so what does that make them? And for Saints fans: Yeah, its gonna take some getting used to, but Drew really isn’t Superman (bummer, I know) and we should start displaying some realistic expectations of the team. That way, we don’t come off as being new to this “winning” stuff. Honestly, even after a loss, who has a better time than us anyway?
P.S. “Who Dat” has been a part of this franchise’s identity for a VERY long time, even when the answer was “Everybody.” Its not going anywhere any time soon. Don’t like it? Think it’s annoying? Good, just how we like it! Now get over yourselves and find a slogan of your own.