The New Orleans Saints were this close……and yet oh so far away from their ultimate goal.
As the New Orleans Saints as a team, franchise, and fan base try to process another playoff debacle, they do so with some finality in mind. In all likelihood, this is the end of an era.
An era in which future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton truly brought the Saints into the Golden Age of football for the franchise. An age and run we might be hard-pressed to see around here for a while.
The Saints were a bumbling franchise, to say the least, before these two took the helm in 2006. The franchise had only had one playoff win ever and only had five postseason appearances ever.
The dynamic duo quickly changed the team’s fortune and turned them not only into an offensive juggernaut but a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. The Saints piled up stats and wins and the franchise’s coronation happened on February 7, 2010, when the Saints won their first (and still only Super Bowl) in franchise history.
The funny thing about being on top is that not only that you won’t stay there, but it’s also that there is no guarantee you will ever get back there again. Ask Brett Favre, ask Kurt Warner, ask Aaron Rodgers (for now), and ask none other than Drew Brees.
The latter has by all accounts finished his career getting to the Promised Land one time. While that is an accomplishment in itself, Saints fans feel as though too many missed opportunities have doomed this team from having more trophies in their case.
Case in point, the last four years have been marred by one playoff disaster after another. From miracles, to blown calls, to utter disappointment, this team and it’s players have underachieved in the moments that have meant the most.
No team has won more regular-season games than the Saints in the past 4 years. Other than the Chiefs, no team has won more division titles in the last 5 years. To add insult to injury, the Saints are apart of the kind of history that’s not so good.
For the baseball enthusiasts out there, it may call to mind the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s. A massively talented team that seemed to squander so many opportunities to win. They broke through in 1995 but never won again.
While the ride was successful, history always looks back on them as underachievers. The Saints may face that same stigma when history looks back on this team. No longer were Saints fans wearing paper bags to games or the opposition calling them the Aints.
The Saints under Sean Payton and Drew Brees earned their respect throughout the league and its fans were rewarded with bragging rights to speak. They were proud to represent the Black & Gold and the Saints represented them well.
20-30 years from now, we can all sit back and marvel at the Golden Age of Saints football.
A time where year in and year out this team had a chance to compete for Super Bowls. Yes, history may look at the one Super Bowl as a failure, but Saints fans will always look at February 7th, 2010 as the day we all succeeded.