Sunday, January 24, 2010

Win, Lose, Or Draw

I'm opting for a philosophical approach to today's NFC Championship game. This is different than anything this franchise has experienced in it's history. A new benchmark. Yes, they played in the conference championship game in '06, but that was in Chicago, this is at the Dome, one of the most unique stadiums in the world, that also served as shelter of last resort to thousands trying to escape the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Indeed, the Dome itself barely survived the storm, and some even called for it's demolition in the immediate aftermath. But much like the City, and the team, the Dome was repaired and now is hosting, arguably it's biggest event ever.

There are only a handful of bright spots in the history of the Saints. And even those were not all that bright. Billy Kilmer and Danny Abramowitz? Both great Saints, but both also widely considered overachievers. The type of players that are regarded as "gutsy" or "scrappy". Archie "if they could've ever put a team around him" Manning? Yeah, well, they didn't. As a result, his achievement was mostly measured by his mere survival behind some of the worst offensive lines ever assembled in professional football. Love Saint Archie, but there is no hardware in his area code.

For a long time, the only positive league record we owned outright belonged not to a quarterback or other play making superstar. No, our record belonged to a kicker, the great, Tom Dempsey. And it was only for one kick....his 63 yarder. Kids in my neighborhood got a lot of mileage out of boasting about that kick. It's only as an adult that I realized one matter how great it was, is not something to hang an entire franchise on. Not really boast worthy.

Some years later, we got Coach Jim Mora who brought with him one of the best defensive units in NFL history...and also one of the most conservative, inept offensives...ever. Teams couldn't score on us, and we couldn't score on them. Still, it was a pretty awesome team, and we were building a bit of legendary status when Mora squandered most of it away with one idiotic phrase: "diddly poo". If you don't score points and win games, you can't say stupid things like "diddly poo". Nobody remembers tackles and low scores, but they remember "diddly poo".

So, here we are, our second conference game appearance in four years. Not exactly legendary, but it's a start. Should we win today, it will be historic. If we win again in two weeks, don't even bother going to work for a while. New Orleans will be on permanent "snow day" status until further notice. Regardless of today's outcome, this is the best team ever assembled by this franchise. This is something to enjoy and remember....and maybe boast about. Yeah, this team is definitely boast worthy.

Photo by eiratansey

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