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Fearing the 2010 Saints Season

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Excited about next season?

Yeah, so am I. Sort of, I guess.

Truth is, I'm kinda nervous. More nervous than usual this time of year. Normally I'm anxious and excited, ready to get the season started. I suppose part of it is because I don't want to stop celebrating; every Who Dat and their mother shares that same feeling with me. Part of it is because I know it's never going to be as good as it was last season. But it's mostly because I'm concerned we're being set up for a mother flippin' let down of epic proportions that only a team like the Saints could pull off. Something most people seem to be ignoring. While RalphWang and others are creaming in their pants, I'm crapping in mine. 

I suppose I've suppressed these feelings and kept my mouth shut the entire off-season although I've probably felt this way since, oh I don't know,  February 8th, 2010, the day after the Saints won the Super Bowl. Then I watched the video (below) in this FanPost the other day of the Meacharound* and was reminded of the entire Miracle in Maryland. Then, all of those feelings finally came bubbling to the surface.

It's a sweet play so how could watching it cause such ill feelings? First of all, other than the actual strip and score by Meachem the play is nothing special. The five guys on the line couldn't stop the Skins four-man rush from getting in Drew's face and it doesn't seem like Brees has any business throwing the ball off-balance from his back foot into coverage over the middle, hence the interception. Forget all of that, though, because that's not what bothers me.

It's the simple fact that every time I watch this play and reminisce about that game in Washington, I think about how the Saints needed just a little bit of luck to help keep their undefeated streak alive that afternoon; good fortune was their friend throughout the season. I remember the sheer magic of not only that game but the entire championship run. So what could I possible have to gripe about? Well, for most people it might end there and that's just great. But I've always got one eye on the future so my mind can't help wonder and worry: Will that good fortune really continue through 2010? My heart says Yes but my head tells me No.

I'm not trying to go overboard here. I'm not predicting a complete and utter collapse. That seems highly unlikely. But I do have serious doubts about - gasp! - another Super Bowl championship despite the team remaining relatively in tact. There, I said it. Lock me up and send me to Atlanta. Let's face it: To win back-to-back championships in today's NFL is a rare occurrence. Hell, it's difficult for Super Bowl-winning teams to even make the playoffs the following year. 

Let's be honest, any championship season requires a dash of luck and a pinch of kismet. Talent and good coaching are necessary, of course, but definitely some good mojo helps. The Saints had that last year. You could feel it. It's not something anyone can quantify; you won't find it on any stat sheet. We can argue about it's existence for days and never get anywhere. But over the the course of any given season there is an overall aura of success or failure surrounding every team in the NFL and it's palpable. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

I could be wrong, of course. Maybe teams make their own luck; maybe it's just something else that can almost be coached. Perhaps "luck" isn't luck at all, just an ability to be in the right place at the right time on a regular occurence. After all, is it really just coincidence that the Saints "luck" changed the same time that Gregg Williams arrived on the scene? We know many of those game-changing turnovers, including and especially the Meacharound*, were the result of constant emphasis and practice. To equate the difference between a championship season and a losing one purely on luck alone would just be naive of me. 

In reality it's probably a little bit of both logical circumstance and luck. Meachem knew what to do in the moment because he was well-coached but was fortunate for that moment to even present itself in the first place. Am I making sense anymore? An opponents missed field goal, a questionable yet helpful call from a referee or even an advantageous bounce - there may very well be tangible, legitimate reasons why these events happen. But the sequence and perfect timing of it all is what makes me think there are sometimes forces beyond anyone's control that guide the course of football events. I am not referring to any deity. 

Either way, last year it felt as if the Saints could do no wrong. I don't like to use the word destiny so I'll call it predetermination. Even when they did something wrong, like throw an interception, they somehow managed to turn into six points. The season is long and that's exactly the kind of stuff that happens to all championship teams. Can lightning really strike twice?

The Saints were able to do something differently last season that they couldn't somehow manage to pull off in the forty-three years prior. Whatever it was, I'm worried it's already run out, evaporated or washed away, never to return for a while. Call me crazy. I call it cautiously optimistic.


*Copyright, moosedenied