Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fully Analyzing the Saints' NFCCG Victory

With the Super Bowl left then two weeks away I felt like it was appropriate to bombard my readers with articles daily. Earlier this week I touched on the aspect that indeed this Saints' season has been fairy tale-like and that I was curious as to how this team would go down on history. Tuesday I posted a letter from the devil detailing how Hell is freezing. Go figure. But for once let's breakdown the game.


Minnesota got New Orleans to play their game. The Vikings succeeded at slowing the game down and giving Drew Brees limited opportunities. Despite this, New Orleans did an excellent job on forcing turnovers. As oppose to most defenses, Gregg William's defense deals uniquely with putting a lot of emphasis on forcing the turnover. There's two sides to the story. One side states, "we gave you the ball," while the other states, "we just made a play."

At the end of the day this game was won by the defense. Drew Brees, honestly, looked like he had jitters most of the game. He was overthrowing wide receivers. I am sure a lot of this had to do with a constant pass rush, but still it was very unBrees. Yet with that said you have to say that the Saints kept the Vikings defensive line in check most of the game. Jared Allen did not have near the impact I thought he would. I was expecting him to have a couple sacks and a forced fumble.

I am sometimes blown away at Reggie Bush's decision making. He wants to score a touchdown so bad that he's willing to make an extremely stupid decision. The fumble before halftime highlighted my biggest issue with Bush. At times he shows a very low football IQ. He has to have more sense than to catch a punt with a guy right in front of him. You are quick Reggie, but not that quick.

One thing that aggravated me more than anything during the game was the Saints' inability to get 3rd and 1s. ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC. It must of happened three times during the course of the game. At times this team seems like it does better on 3rd and 10s than 3rd and 1s.

When the Vikings got the ball with 2:37 and the score tied at 28 I began to dread the worst. Ironically the Vikings let the clock run down for a couple plays, but regardless they still kept moving the ball. (I remember thinking to myself during this drive, "Is Childress hoping for overtime?") To no one's surprise the Saints gave up a huge third down. I hate to say it but the defense on third down reminded me a little too much of John Chavis's LSU defense. The team needs to do a much better job of ceasing the moment and stopping the opponent on critical third downs. That 3rd and 7 was brutal to watch. If the Saints made the stop there they would get the ball back with just under two minutes and the ball around midfield. As the drive continued my worries increased. What surprised the most was the fact that on 1st and 10 at the Saints' 33 yard line Brad Childress ran back to back running plays. When you look back at those plays it makes you think two things a)Childress had no confidence in Favre fearing an interception was coming or b) he felt a field goal around 50 yards was a sure thing. I remember texting my dad on first down, "Saints' need a miracle." On 3rd and 10 Minnesota only needed seven yards to really make the field goal a gimme. After all the kicker, Ryan Longwell, made a 52 yarder last year in the Superdome. The 12 man penalty was a huge blow for the Vikings because it really got the Saints' crowd back into it. Still, with Favre at quarterback everyone was uneasy. I remember watching the play and thinking Favre was going to scramble for several yards and Longwell would then follow up with a 50 yard field goal. The thing that is interesting was what my dad said after the game. My dad told me how throughout the game Favre was threading the needle and becoming extremely close to throwing interceptions. Basically things were going his way if he only had one interception on this night.

As we all know Tracy Porter read Favre's eyes and saved the season for the Saints. The overtime drive was as gut-wrenching as it comes. The 4th and 1 dive by Pierre Thomas was as close as it gets. And the field goal could not have been anymore perfect. Just when it seemed all hope was lost the Saints, yet again, gave us reason to still believe.


The atmosphere in New Orleans was beyond anything I have ever experienced. LSU has won 2 National Championships in New Orleans, but this was more over the top. Why you ask? The answer is that the entire city was behind the Saints. Everyone. Every culture, every race was behind the New Orleans Saints. Even as I type this I get goosebumps because I have never seen a city 100 percent behind a team. The Superdome was electric the entire game. It reminded me of Tiger Stadium. When the Saints did win the game I will never forget the people around me crying. From an outsider's perspective it might be difficult to understand why some men where inclined to cry. In all, it's a combination of things. The Saints became a franchise on All Saints Day November 1, 1967. (Now you know why they are called the Saints). Despite the city's high hopes, lousy general managing caused years of frustration for the fan base. As I have stated before it took the Saints 13 years before they had a non-losing season, 20 years before they went to the playoffs, and 33 before they won a playoff game. Pretty grim. Now I do remember Jim Mora and how he put together some special teams, but at the end of the day their seasons all ended disappointingly. It was routine. We all became accustomed to losing.

The other key element as to why so many people where crying deals with Hurricane Katrina. Only five years ago 70 percent of that city was underwater. I distinctively remembering the very real possibility of the Saints moving. Even more remarkable is how the Superdome, the home of the Saints, was the epicenter of some of Hurricane Katrina's worst moments. Six people died in that stadium, four from natural causes, one from an overdose, and one from suicide. Things got so bad for one man during Hurricane Katrina, so unbearable, that he took his own life by jumping from the rafters. The city was in so much pain. You put that all together - the years of losing, plus the horror of Hurricane Katrina - and you have the reason why people broke down and cried after the Saints' win.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prince of Darkness Writes Letter to City of New Orleans

(photo courtesy of DrTyger of

Dear City of New Orleans,

Hey it's me, Satan, the Prince of Darkness. Look this is kind of odd for me to be emailing you, but I have to get something off my back. Something is going on down here. Something I've never experienced. To put it boldly it's starting to, well, get cold down here. Just the other day I found myself sneezing. I really have no idea why it's getting chilly down here in Hell. Someone told me you guys are the people I should contact about this. Do you guys have any idea why things are getting cold down here? I mean in all honesty it gets colder every day. If I don't find the answer soon this place is going to freeze.

Hit me back,

Prince of Darkness

P.S. I have a Facebook account too!

Monday, January 25, 2010

How Does This Fairy Tale End?

Recovery is not always meant for the players on the field, sometimes, like last night's NFC Championship game, it applies to the fans as well. Moments after Garrett Hartley kicked the game winning field goal to put the Saints in the Super Bowl, I had to recover. I, along with 71,000+ fans, had to recover after screaming for four hours. The stress and uneasiness throughout the game was over, wiped away.

I told myself going into the game I would cheer and not submerge myself. I lied. Better yet, I could not stop it. And at the end of the day it was all worth it. The Saints beat the Vikings 31-28 in overtime and the fairy tale continued. But with this latest victory I have to ask the question- how does this fairy tale end?

The Saints have catapulted themselves into the Super Bowl to face the Indianapolis Colts. Countless time in the history of the Super Bowl teams have made the jubilant trip to the Super Bowl. Despite their loss in the Super Bowl the season was still marked a success. Indeed I do agree with that assessment because regardless of what happens on February 7th this Saints team will be remembered for years to come.

With that said, I can not stop thinking about the "ghosts" of Super Bowl past. The unlikely Philadelphia Eagles made an incredible trip to the 1981 Super Bowl. Their story is lost after they lost to the Oakland Raiders. More recently the 1998 Atlanta Falcons who beat the Minnesota Vikings in an epic NFC Championship game. Again, their story, their legacy has been lost somewhat. The Tennessee Titans in 1999 came one yard short of tying the score. Despite their monumental effort what that team accomplished that year is somewhat forgotten. And finally last year when the Pittsburgh Steelers triumphed over the Arizona Cardinals.

The pinnacle moment in one's career is to say that you were number one. That your team was the best. I am thrilled New Orleans won the NFC Championship, but I want more. This fairy tale has been more amazing than anything I could ever have imagined and I do not want it to end.

So what happens next? Does the dream end? Does the team wake up or do the New Orleans Saints live happily ever after?

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's Been A Long Road for the Saints Fan

It's an abnormal feeling for the month of January to almost be over, yet the New Orleans Saints are still playing football. I, along with countless other fans are in the state of denial.

I have followed this franchise my entire life and the good memories have been very short lived. I can still vividly remember the Saints pulling out a 33-30 victory against the Miami Dolphins in Week 6 of the 1995 season. The victory, which I thought was so incredible at the time, pushed the Saints to an amazing record of 1-5.

For year's this franchise has specialized in finding ways to lose and revolutionizing the art of failure. My dad watched it growing up and I watched it growing up. I will never forget my dad telling me about the first game in Saints' history. Saints' John Gilliam took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown.

"Man, we really thought we had a team," my dad would joke.

We, the fans, just became use to it. Use to having seasons fall apart, use to seeing the Saints disappoint us again, and most importantly use to losing. We all became accustomed to the hearing the phrase "well if anyone could do that the Saints could" uttered for every hapless, mishap the team ever endured.

It took this franchise 13 years before they had their first non-losing season, it took 20 years before they ever made the playoffs, and it took 33 years before they every won a playoff game. Yet despite all that fans never lost hope.

Hope. Nothing describes the Saints fan better. Regardless of how bleak things looked fans have always continued to believe good times will eventually come to the Saints. The purest example of this is Hurricane Katrina. Every sign said the Saints were done in New Orleans and that the ship had sailed.

At the worst moment in the city's history, at the very time so many people lost their lives, people came together. They believed. Sure it did not make sense, but it represented more than rooting for a simple sports team. That team symbolized that the city would rebound and recover.

Now here we are on the brink of the New Orleans Saints' second NFC Championship game in four years. It's beyond incredible. I do not know what tomorrow holds in store for the Saints, all I know is the fans, like they have been doing since 1967 will be there and certainly enjoying it.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Breaking News: Jason Bourne Loses Basketball Game

It may very well be the story of the decade, better yet the story of the century. Numerous reports indicate that Jason Bourne, the ass-kicking special agent from the Bourne trilogy, lost a pick up basketball game in Miami, Florida Thursday afternoon.

Eye witness Louie Reese stats that Bourne challenged Miami resident Jeff Wittzelberg to a pick up game at the Sapphire Beach Courts.

"Bourne walked on the court and looked discouraged that all the baskets were taken up. To win the court he challenged the worst athlete on the court - Jeff Wittzelberg."

As Reese describes Wittzelberg was a balding man of 40 years old with a prominent gut and an embarrassing display of back hair. He height was a pathetic 5'4".

"For some reason Wittzelberg took up Bourne's challenge. It was silly no doubt, but maybe the chubby, bald, hideous man saw something."

And saw something he did.

In a game to ten by ones Wittzelberg quickly got jumped on 4-0, but the short, stocky bald man made his move.

"The left baseline, that's what Bourne's weakness was and Wittzelberg exploited it."

As Reese details, the game got really heated when the score was tied at eight a piece. After a missed shot Bourne claimed he was fouled, Wittzelberg took the rebound in for a layup to go up 9-8. For the game winning point the Wittomeister hit a leaning one hander by the right baseline to pull off the 10-8 victory.

"It was magical," Reese stated. "I wept a bit."

Despite the remarkable feat, Bourne insisted the Wittomeister stepped out of bounds. When other spectators sided with Wittzelberg all chaos broke loose.

"It was bad. There were about 20 of us watching the game. Once Bourne realized the audience disagreed with his call he attacked everyone."

Even now with a broken collarbone and a shattered wrist, along with a court full of weeping men and women (including Wittzelberg), as well as watching five people get beaten to death, Reese still idolizes the experience.

"To being a Detroit Lions season ticket holder to a passionate Los Angeles Clippers fan, I have seen my fair share of amazing sporting events, but today's game where the ugly man beat the special agent that takes the cake. Jeff showed us all today that it doesn't matter how many bad guys you kill, or how many times you sneak by security, at the end of the day if you can't beat a fat guy in pick up basketball you ain't squat."

Jason Bourne could not be reached for comments.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2010 NFL Wildcard Weekend

The NFL Playoffs are the best playoffs to experience. The MLB only lets in six teams, the NBA lets everyone in (and runs way too long), and the NHL is not shown in Louisiana. Otherwise I really might watch it. But with the NFL you have twelve teams that are all capable of running the table and forever changing a player's legacy. Look at the 2007 New York Giants. The team wins three grueling playoff games before facing the undefeated New England Patriots. New York pulls off the unlikely upset and for all eternity, regardless of what he does, Eli Manning will always be a Super Bowl champion.

In short, the playoffs are career defining.

With that said here's a look at the wildcard games and who I like to win.


6 Eagles @ 3 Cowboys

Ever since the Cowboys' dismantling of the Saints the team has gotten better each week and the thing of it is the competition has been no pushover. Look at the Eagles last weekend at Cowboys stadium. Cowboys blanked them 24-0. Talk about a statement game. This weekend will be the third meeting between the two teams this year. Here are the three questions looming in my head - 1) Can Dallas beat a good team three times in the same year? 2) Will DeSean Jackson show up for Philadelphia when they play Dallas for once and 3)Are we going to see the Old Playoff Tony Romo or a new and improved Playoff Tony Romo?

Here's the thing Dallas is as good as anyone in the NFL right now. No reason to think this team can not run the tables, much less defeat a Philly team one weak after they embarrassed them. Philly will be pumped after a disappointing loss last week. Dallas will have a small halftime lead, but the third quarter Romo will blow things open, and in turn make Minnesota fans shiver in their sleep. I will take Dallas winning this game by 17 points.

5 Packers @ 4 Cardinals

Here's another matchup between two teams that played each other in Week 17. Despite Green Bay's 33-7 win in Week 17, Arizona was playing it easy as the game was irrelevant to their playoff standing. Add in the fact that the game is indoors (where the Cardinals thrive) and not outdoors (where the Packers thrive) and you see why I have Arizona winning this one. Arizona has showed that is very capable of stepping up for big games. Sure the team has looked shaky, but rest assured when engine is pumping they can compete with anyone. Green Bay will get jumped out right out of the gates and go down 14-0. Green Bay will rally, but ultimately Aaron Rodgers's and company will lose by 14.


6 Ravens @ 3 Patriots

Talk about a playoff changer. Wes Welker's season-ending injury in Week 17 was one of the worst displays of bad luck I have ever seen. You have to feel for the Pats. Despite the notion that with Welker gone New England will be significantly weaker, I still have trouble with ever picking against Belichick in New England. The Pats beat the Ravens early in the year 27-21. Look for round two to be a little more open. The Ravens D will keep Baltimore in the game, but ultimately Joe Flacco will not be able to hang with Tom Brady. Patriots win by 12.

5 Jets @ 4 Bengals

And for the third time a team plays it's wildcard game against the same opponent from Week 17. It's no secret Cincinnati did not intend on playing 60 minutes of football when they came to New York during their 37-0 loss. Do not be fooled. One of the most underrated defensive units this year are the Bengals' D. At the end of the day I look at the fact that Marc Sanchez has been playing very quietly. Meaning? The running game is carrying New York. Sanchez is not forced to make big plays. Cincy will slow down that New York run to the point Sanchez will have to make a big 3rd & 8 play. He will not. Carson Palmer, despite going up against a good New York defense, can do this. That will be the difference. Cincinnati wins this game by 6.

Look for the Cowboys to play at the Vikings, the Cardinals to play at the Saints, the Patriots to play at the Chargers, and the Bengals to play at the Colts. Enjoy the games.