Two seasons ago, the New Orleans Saints lost in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs to the Minnesota Vikings. History repeated itself in 2020.
The New Orleans Saints were a young team with a bright future and after three consecutive 7-9 seasons, a playoff berth was fantastic. The game was ours for the taking, but for one unfortunate play.
Last season, the Saints were phenomenal, making it to the NFC Championship. We’ll spare the details of how that turned out. The NFC Championship was a tough, hard-fought game that the Saints, unfortunately, came out on the short end of.
There was a lot of pain and disappointment in those losses. In both games, the Saints played well, and the disappointment was that we were the ones on the losing side of a well-played matchup.
This year was different.
The Saints came in as one of the most respected teams in the playoffs. After their second consecutive 13-3 season, the Saints were one of the favorites to make a strong playoff run.
Despite three teams tied for the top of the NFC with the same record, no one was seen any stronger than the Saints. So, the performance of Sunday’s wild-card round game against the Minnesota Vikings was not only disappointing but also disheartening.
The Saints lost three games in the regular season. But only one game was so disappointing. The game in which we faced Atlanta in the Superdome was the only game where we were so dominated by an opponent, prior to this Wild Card game.
Minnesota represented a lot of things tough for the Saints. It starts with coaching. Mike Zimmer and Sean Payton are good friends. They coached together in Dallas for three seasons. They are also friends off the field.
That type of familiarity can be uncomfortable in a football setting. This game worried me from when we lost to San Francisco and knew we were likely going to be saddled with the three seed.