What’s up Who Dats! We’re in Week 14 of the 2016 NFL season and the New Orleans Saints are 5-7 with four games remaining on the schedule. The team was once again on the brink of pulling to a .500 record, but fell flat against a tough Detroit Lions team. Who Dat Nation and those close to football almost immediately closed the book on the Saints season and began making plans for 2017.
With no regard for the fact that the Saints are still alive in the playoff hunt and believe it or not, a chance to win their division and get a home playoff game, services were held for the 2016 Saints season. Wow...this reaction solidified my reasoning for a 24-hour media blackout for Saints news after losses. No app updates, little involvement in CSC activities, and most definitely, no game analysis individually or with friends - it’s the only way to to avoid a full meltdown.
Unlike those guys, I still believe!
This story has been told before - we as Saints fans were here last year. It’s easy to say ‘ugh, same old Saints’ and wash away the good vibes that are bubbling just below the surface. But that approach, good people, is not for me. Not in the slightest of ways would I subscribe to giving up while mathematically alive or tanking to get a better draft pick.
What I will do is cheer very hard for this team to take this most recent beating and use it as fuel for a fire that appeared to be missing in their matchup against the Lions. In the midst of the Brandin Cooks media circus of last week, many people did not address the idea that an emotional let-down was waiting for the Saints on Sunday. It was a perfect storm for a failure - the team coming off of a big win, an unnecessary distraction by a star player, and savoring the taste of avenging a wrongdoing by a hated foe. Yep, no team is immune to showing up flat and losing potential momentum with a loss. Okay, that happened - now what?
I’ve been fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you look at it) enough to have been employed at companies who gave yearly evaluations. Yearly evals means raises, in most cases anyway. If in any year I expected a maximum raise because I gave max effort and didn’t get that, my response wasn’t to lay down before the next eval, it actually pushed me to go harder.
In connection to these current Saints, it’s time to play for a maximum raise each week for the rest of the season. Again, I can relate to the feeling of riding high after a win (or raise) and taking the next move for granted. It’s human nature, it’s why the Superbowl hangover is often a real thing and you rarely see two of the same teams get back. It can be difficult to manufacture intensity when coming off such a high. It is much easier to muster up the desire to play better after getting man-handled in your own house. This team has it in them to bounce back and I believe they will.
With four winnable games remaining against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, and Atlanta Falcons on the schedule, this season is not a lost cause. Hope is very much alive and giving up to get a potentially higher draft pick is not the route any professional team should choose. It’s not a good look, to say the least. Not only is it bad for business, it would say something more about the infrastructure of the franchise and its fanbase.
My own opinion is that this team needs to focus on the playoffs, not the round of games scheduled to begin in one month, but instead, the playoffs which started at the final whistle of their defeat on last Sunday. Each week is a win or go home scenario. The singular focus must be on the team on the schedule for that week, do or die. there should be no concern for other teams beating another wild card chasing team to ‘help’ the Saints out. The formula is just win - nothing more. And for the fans, our just role is even simpler, do not succumb to the talk of playoff odds and probabilities. We should sit back and enjoy a young team on the brink of success!
I believe in these New Orleans Saints and the idea that success is just ahead. As always, Thanks for reading and Be Cool Who Dats ! Don’t forget to check out Tee’s Corner Podcast for more Saints talk!