The New Orleans Saints have 48 years of history, and many, many years more to come in the future. In fact, believe it or not, I can tell you some of that future right now. Make yourselves comfortable and get ready for a wild ride, just like the one I recently experienced.
Last night, having spent the day at Universal Studios here in Hollywood, I saw an employee doing some maintenance on the actual DeLorean used in the filming of the Back to the Future Trilogy. He had stepped away from the car, leaving it momentarily unattended, and I figured there wouldn't be any harm in my taking a closer look at the iconic "time machine".
The driver side door was open, so I sat inside. It was pretty amazing, everything was exactly as it was in the films, every last detail. I got caught up in the moment and must've lost track of time because I looked up and there was a figure standing outside the passenger side door, holding a socket wrench and expressing a less than pleased look on his face.
It was the mechanic, he looked pretty old, too old and thin to be working on cars at a movie studio, probably nearly 70, but a guy's got to make a living. He deliberately labored his way around the car to the driver's side. I stepped out, apologized to the man and let him know that I hadn't touched a thing inside. No harm, no foul, right?
He took one look at my Saints jacket, smiled wryly, and reached out to shake my hand. He said his name was Steve, and asked if I was familiar with the car. I told him it looked just like the car from the movies, ridiculously authentic. He smiled again, an almost familiar smile, and said the car was no replica, it was the real deal. Not only that, he said it was an actual time machine.
Of course, I laughed at the very notion, but he didn't blink. He said he'd show me if I had a few minutes, then laughed and said we had all the time in the world. I thought he had to be senile, but played along anyway, figuring they couldn't have hired a dangerous old man, right. This was all part of the show I figured, theme park magic, so I played along and settled into the passenger seat.
He got behind the wheel and drove the few moments it took to arrive at the actual Back to the Future Hill Valley set on the backlot. Nice touch. He asked if I wanted to see the future, I played along and responded with a sarcastic "yeah". He flipped the time circuits on, thought for a moment, and chose a date. He said he knew a date that as a Saints fan I would appreciate, and smiled. He entered October 21, 2045, turned on the Flux Capacitor, revved the engine, and took off from the far end of the set.
We picked up speed fast, and I immediately regretted the decision, hanging on for dear life. As the car reached the end of the set, we hit 88 miles-per-hour and the car began to spark and flash. Once again, nice touch. But this was no special effect, we had apparently actually travelled thirty years into the future. The car came to a screeching halt just outside of an enormous domed stadium. I opened the frozen door in awe of the structure that stood in front of me.
The stadium was flanked by statues, some familiar and some not, but one thing was quite familiar, a fifty-foot fleur-de-lis that adorned one side of the stadium. It was clearly the Saints new home, and despite 30 years of advancement, we were still clearly in the historic city of New Orleans. The new stadium also has a new name to go along with its new look.
We stood in front of "Gayle and Tom Benson Field at PepsiCo© Dome presented by NaturalEnergy, Inc™". The new building took the same footprint that once housed the Superdome, but this new stadium dwarfed it by comparison. We passed the Benson statue, we passed a Brees statue, which was pretty awesome, and of course, the Gleason Rebirth statue, which the old man said is still his favorite. In fact, we stopped to take a picture in front of it.
He took me to a private entrance, he waved, and whispered in the doorman's ear and we were let in, no questions asked. I was handed a jersey, it was still black and gold, but it looked strange to me. Future jerseys, not a fan. It had the number 10 on it but the name was familiar, BREES. Brees?! What?! I needed a lot to be explained. We reached our seats and the old man began to explain what had been going on over the past 30 years.
He told me he chose this date, this game, because it was the first time in GFL history... Oh yeah, apparently it transforms from the National Football League into the Global Football League in 2025, but anyway, on this night the Saints become the first team in GFL history to score 100 points in a game. Halftime is just ending and the Saints already lead the 49ers 64-16. It was then explained to me that by 2045, defense has been so marginalized and neutered that most teams can score 40 points a game on a fairly regular basis.
I began to ask about all of the major milestones that have occurred over the last 30 years and the old man rattled off a variety of outrageous things that occurred during the timespan:
- In 2015, the Saints battled valiantly to a 7-9 record and actually qualified for the playoffs despite the sub-.500 record before falling in Arizona when their sixth kicker of the season missed a 25 yard field goal attempt right off the upright. Sean Payton had Joe Vitt "take care of the problem" after the game. The kicker was never seen again.
- All was made right over the following two seasons, as the Saints won Super Bowls 52 and 53, becoming the first repeat champions in over a decade.
- At Super Bowl 52, Sean Payton laughed right in Goodell's face as he reluctantly handed over the Lombardi. At Super Bowl 53, Payton slapped Goodell at the podium and mocked him as the commissioner nursed his wound.
-Goodell went mad not long after. In 2020, he was sued by the NFLPA after the "IdiotGate" scandal in which he videotaped himself dressed in a Drew Brees uniform deflating footballs and giving unprotected chair shots to opposing players all while yelling "Payton made me do it!". Goodell was declared mentally unfit to perform his duties as commissioner, spending the rest of his days in an upstate New York mental health facility.
-Drew Brees retired after his second consecutive Super Bowl MVP, successfully ran for Mayor of New Orleans, and actually didn't become corrupt, then became Governor of Louisiana, once again miraculously not becoming corrupt.
-Drew Brees eventually became President of the United States, beating out David Bush-Clinton his first election, then Stephanie Clinton-Bush in his re-election. President Brees is actually in attendance at this game to see his youngest son, Callen, start a quarterback. In fact, all three of his sons and his daughter have played for the Saints at various points over the years.
-Sean Payton surprisingly continued to coach the Saints until 2026, when a senile and delusional Jerry Jones offered him an astounding $38 million-per-season to coach Dallas. The team never went on to win a Super Bowl because the 84 year-old owner refused to stop making personnel decisions.
-Bill Belichick made GFL history in 2041 by becoming the first ever "head" coach, as in just being a disembodied head in a glass case roaming the sidelines for New England. Yes, they put a hoodie over the case, yes he's still better than most coaches, and yes, he's still a miserable SOB.
-Speaking of the Pats, they endured three more scandals over the last three decades. There was 2021's "ZipperGate" followed by 2035's "Inferno!Gate", and most recently, 2042's "GateGate". I didn't bother asking what the hell any of that meant.
-Oh, Los Angeles still doesn't have a team, but "progress is being made".
-Not only football, but civilization as we know it almost came to an end, when the Lions and Browns were set to meet in the Super Bowl in 2030. Protesters mobbed the site of the game, Whataburger Global® Stadium in Houston, TX, fearing that the matchup was a sign of the forthcoming apocalypse. Thankfully, the rapture did not come. Well, Detroit did burn after winning the title, and Cleveland burned after losing it.
-Carolina never won a championship with Cam at quarterback, and Tampa is still looking for their franchise quarterback.
Well, of course, I just had to ask about Atlanta. It was then that the old man lost it. He laughed the hardest, heartiest laugh I think I've ever heard in my life. He was running out of breath as a tear ran down his cheek, I feared he might die of laughter at that moment. After he caught himself, he told me the fate of the Saints' arch rival.
Apparently, due to the failed global expansion of the NFL in 2028, franchises needed to be dissolved. One of the ways to facilitate this was the NFL/GFL's "futility rule", whose first victim was the London Jaguars. Under the rule, if a franchise does not qualify for the playoffs for 10 consecutive years, has no semblance of a fanbase, and has rampant incompetence from ownership, to the front office, to the coaching staff, it will can be voted out of the league.
In 2033 the Atlanta Falcons finally folded. The end began when the Falcons were swept by the Saints in 2015 and got worse as the subsequent years went on. By the 2020 season, the Falcons' new stadium could barely draw a crowd, and the franchise once again found itself embroiled in controversy as they filled the empty seats with blow-up people armed with "Rise Up" towels. It was a sad, yet hilarious, road to ruin from there.
The stadium, lovingly known as "SphincterDome" has since been reclaimed by the Earth, as it has been completely covered in moss and ivy as if, like the team itself, it had never existed. The old man claimed that Saints fans even held a funeral march for the team out of Atlanta, and he was proudly in attendance. As that story ended, so did the game, with the Saints crossing the goal line as the clock expired, making the score 104-32 Saints.
With that, we left our seats and made our way back to the DeLorean. The old man found an open stretch of road away from the stadium and he punched the time circuits back to just minutes after we left 2015. I asked if we could make a quick stop to pick up a copy of Gray's Sports Almanac 2015-2045 and he just laughed, stating that physical books don't even exist in 2045. He kicked it up to 88 MPH and back we were.
As I exited the car, I shook the old man's hand and thanked him for the unbelievable opportunity he presented to me. I asked him if I'd ever see him again. "Maybe sometime in the future. I've been known to surprise people." he replied, with that familiar smile. He then told me he had to get the car back to the team of doctors and scientists he had borrowed it from without implicit permission. We bid each other farewell and the car was gone in a flash.
That Steve was a pretty outstanding guy. I think I'll have to print and frame that photo we took at the "Rebirth" statue. After meeting back up with my family in the park, I knew I had to chronicle this amazing experience for all of you today.
Happy Back To The Future Day, Who Dat Nation!