It might be preseason, but the New Orleans Saints were back on the gridiron last night against the St. Louis Rams. With all the talk about Michael Sam and his lone tackle and his chances of making the team all over ESPN, the stars of the night were Brandin Cooks and Mark Ingram. Both scored on explosive plays of over 20 yards. Our Black and Gold is the real deal, and will be for years to come!
There was a time, not so long ago, where fledgling quarterbacks, no name wideouts, and underperforming players were synonymous with our team. This offseason, I’ve been a bit sentimental. With the 5 year anniversary of the Saints Super Bowl XLIV win coming this February, it’s hard not to want another trophy to put with the one we’ve got.
Five years seems like the perfect wait.
I promised myself when the New Orleans Saints won in 2009 that I’d never ask for another trophy in my lifetime, because one was enough. This year, though, I had a son, and though he won’t even be two before playoff time, I’m beginning to renege on that promise. I’d say that it’s a selfless motive wanting him to see winning football, but it serves me too, so I’m not completely selfless. I don’t think I’ll have to worry now either.
We don’t have Aaron Brooks under center anymore. The Saints aren’t in the business of Billy Joes anymore either. They won’t always have Drew Brees rallying the troops, but if Ryan Griffin‘s performance last night is any indication of what he’s truly capable of, Tristan and I won’t have to worry for a very long time.
Marques Colston‘s best days are probably behind him, but Jimmy Graham and Brandin Cooks are the wave of the future, which looks extremely bright on both offense and defense. The Dome Patrol that I grew up with has given way to the likes of Cameron Jordan, Aikem Hicks, John Jenkins, and other newcomers on a wonderful Rob Ryan led defense.
To be certain, things change. Especially given the nature of business and loyalty more to money than to a community, the New Orleans Saints might look very different even just a few years from now. However, Sean Payton and his staff have brought a winning culture to New Orleans that consistently has had the Saints ranked in or near the top 5 in power rankings and preseason rankings since the beginning of his tenure. Can you imagine how things might have looked if Daunte Culpepper was our quarterback instead of Drew Brees? That one decision, coupled with the urgency and sense of community that came from Hurricane Katrina and the search for a new time identity sent shock waves through New Orleans, and were the catalyst for what we have today.
I know that if you’re a true Saints fan, you’re on the same page as me. You know what it took to get here. You know that looking back only means a look at what once was and will hopefully never be again – losing, paper bag fans, missed opportunities. We look forward to the future with hope and a sense of pride in that fleur de lis on the helmet of our boys.
I’m looking forward to this season. Kenny Vaccaro is back, and seemingly healthy. Stanley Jean-Baptiste looks like he could be a hit. Brandin Cooks is the talk of the NFL because of his blazing speed and sticky hands. Mark Ingram looks pretty serious about delivering on his longing to finish as the best back in the history of the league.
No one knows what this season will hold. A lot has to break in ones favor in order to take home the Lombardi Trophy, but there’s no reason to think that the New Orleans Saints can’t do it. They’ve done it once before, and what more perfect a way to pay tribute to their fans than to bring home a nice shiny trophy to pair with the one we’ve got? It’s not until 2016 that February 7 is the date of the big game, but that’s ok. Five years of waiting seems like long enough, especially for those of us who waited so long for the taste of the first one.
Come what may, I’m happy that I’m a New Orleans Saints fan, and you should be too. Regardless of record, stats, and who does the scoring, enjoy this season. Really, truly, fully enjoy this season and be sure to share your love for the best team in the league with someone else!