The measurement of success for the Saints shows the tragic state of the franchise

In recent years, the standard of success for the New Orleans Saints has been lowered, and that shows the franchise is trending in the wrong direction.
New Orleans Saints OTA Offseason Workout
New Orleans Saints OTA Offseason Workout / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints are entering a critical season in 2024. The team has missed the playoffs in three straight seasons, finishing 9-8, 7-10, and 9-8. Additionally, the fact that the Saints are playing in a pretty bad NFC South, only makes matters worse. The team understands that if the squad is going to stay together, coaches and players, there must be success this coming season.

The question, though, is what does success look like for New Orleans. For every team, success is defined differently. Sure, everyone wants to win a Super Bowl, but goal setting requires a sense of reality. For some, the standard is truly Super Bowl or bust. For others, making a playoff run or just making the playoffs would be a successful season. Then there are some teams that will be happy to just improve their win total by a few games.

Which group are the Saints in? Adam Rank answered that question in a recent state-of-the-franchise piece on the NFL’s website. For New Orleans, Rank defined a successful 2024 season as earning a playoff berth.

"The Saints haven't made the postseason since the 2020 campaign, so it's time to get back there… You kind of get the feeling that if the Saints don't make the playoffs -- and I don't want to put that out in the universe (but I will) -- there will be huge changes in store for 2025."

Adam Rank

Making the playoffs would be a success for the Saints

Rank isn’t wrong, and that’s the problem. Just a few years ago, when Sean Payton and Drew Brees were still at the helm, New Orleans entered every season as a contender. A deep playoff run wasn’t just an expectation, it was the standard. Now, just three years removed from Brees retiring, and two removed from Payton leaving, the Saints have quickly descended away from that culture of winning.

This is why it’s understandable when analysts argue that the Saints need to start a rebuild. While rebuilds can get pretty ugly, there’s usually a path back to dominance, which would be better than toiling away in a state of mediocrity.