Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Orleans Saints: Back to Normal

There are many things in a person's life that are purely fantasies. There are things out there each person holds as an absolute dream. It varies for each person, but the general guideline is the same - it's a fantasy, and despite the impossible nature of it, you still desire it.

Exhibit A: The New Orleans Saints

For much of the franchise's existence the team has been, well, lousy. For years the team has continuously disappointed the fanbase and has miraculously found ways to lose in the most incredible of scenarios. Sure the franchise had some good years, but they were short lived...and then 2009 came. The year we, the fans, someone started to put Saints with Super Bowl.

For thirteen straight games the New Orleans Saints dazzled fans across the country. In an unbelievable course of events the Saints were 13-0. When victory seemed impossible the Saints won. They found a way every week. It did not matter what the deficit was, the team would rally together and overcome the obstacle.

Last Saturday this fantasy world burst. In the Superdome the Saints lost to the Dallas Cowboys 24-17. The team made a late rally, but at the end of the day the Saints had their first loss of the season. It stung, but we, the fans, convinced ourselves it was good. In fact it was great because now the undefeated talks could be sweep up under the rug. Is that not how the conversation went?

Then it happened. The fantasy world exploded. With a thud the Saints, in classic Saint manner, lost to the 2-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-17 in overtime. In every imaginable way the Saints found a way to lose. First, they gave the fans the perception they were going to win easily when they built up a 17-0 lead in the first half. Next, the team installed a lousy style of defense that again let the opposition's running back run for 1.2 miles. Then, in the biggest moment of the game the Saints did not convert a 3rd and 7. Next, they gave up a punt return for a touchdown in a classic Saints manner. (Wait, we are not done yet!) After that the Saints' kicker Garrett Hartley shanked a potential game winning 37 yard field goal. (Thanks Garrett! You managed to lose all credibility with one swing of the leg!) And finally, but most importantly, the defense allowed Tampa Bay to drive right down the field and kick a field goal to win in overtime.

Wow. What a list! At moments like these you have to admire how this team managed to convince a fan base and a country that these Saints were different than past teams. We were lead to believe they would stop working so hard to lose a game. We were wrong.

I am a fool for falling under the spell of the 2009 New Orleans Saints. Please do not think I am rooting against them, rather I know what to expect for future games. I understand they are 13-2, but the thing is they showed their colors today. They showed that classic find-a-way-to-lose Saints attitude that fans have grown to hate over the years. And now it's back at the worst part of the season.

I wrote this article with one thing in mind - warning the masses. The ingredients seem to be coming together for a meltdown in the Big Easy. Again, I have watched this team my entire life. When they find ways to lose like they did today the season melts away.

I am not a negative person, I am a realist.

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