I stumbled upon this article and, in hindsight, I guess it makes sense. But at first thought, I was truly blown away by the idea that over the last five years the Saints have the best record in the NFC. Can you imagine? Not one team has done better. Not the Philadelphia Eagles, not the Dallas Cowboys, not the New York Giants, not the Chicago Bears... not anyone. Here are the top five records since 2006:
1. New Orleans Saints: 49-31
2. Philadelphia Eagles: 48-31-1 (if only Donovan McNabb knew there were ties)
3(t). Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers & New York Giants: 48-32Now granted, these records are so close that one bad season is all it would take to potentially drop you from best over the last five years to 5th or 6th. Still, that's got to make you feel good that over the last five years your Saints have posted more wins than any other team in the NFC. They've won a Super Bowl and they've been to an NFC Championship game in that span, so you already knew they were doing something right. But to me this almost validates it further.
In a league that has so much change and fluctuation, the Saints have been a constant the last five years. Have they reached Indianapolis Colts or New England Patriots status in terms of being a franchise juggernaut? I don't know that we're quite there yet. Still, they're getting awful close to building something similar.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I realize that the Saints are respected around the league as a premiere franchise. While it comes with the territory of winning, respect is something different. It makes you feared and it earns you clout. Oh, you root for the Saints? Good team. Remember when that used to be accompanied by a scoff or a sigh instead?