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The best Saints team to never win a championship: The case for 2011

We delve into why the 2011 New Orleans Saints team was the best team to never win a Super Bowl.

New Orleans Saints v San Francisco 49ers

Canal Street Chronicles recently ran a poll, as you can see above, asking fans which New Orleans Saints team was the best to never win a Super Bowl. The results were... surprising. Picking the 2018 team is understandable. It is the most recent, it was arguably one of the most complete teams, and that team came within one blown call of going to a Super Bowl.

However, down the stretch that 2018 team became just a shell of themselves offensively. That played a big part in the postseason. In Weeks 12-17 the Saints points per game fell nearly 17 points from their previous average of 37.2 from Weeks 1-11. Furthermore, passing attempts, completion percentage and rating all went down for quarterback Drew Brees during that Week 12-17 span. The 2018 team lost steam heading into the playoffs, and it remains to be seen what tacking on an additional game would have meant even if they were able to overcome the “ NOLA no-call”.

Let’s be honest though, the 2011 Saints team was the best team to never win a Super Bowl in New Orleans history. Brees helped lead the most prolific offense the NFL has ever seen to a 13-3 record. In 2011, the Saints broke numerous records including season passing yards with 5,476 yards, as well as most yards in a season (7,474), and Darren Sproles with the most all-purpose yards (2,696).

Between Brees, Sproles, Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Pierre Thomas, the Saints offense was so weaponized and unstoppable that it is mind-boggling how the 2011 team did not win, much less appear in a Super Bowl.

By far the biggest argument against the 2011 team will be the defense led by Gregg Williams. In an almost “Mandela Effect-like” fashion, many fans recall the 2011 defense being just as historically atrocious as the offense was great. In reality, the 2011 defense was ranked 13th in the league. Far above the “mediocrity” it is often recalled for.

Despite a 36-32 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional round, New Orleans was poised to run the board all the way to a Super Bowl victory. Had the Saints defeated the 49ers in that heartbreaker, the New York Giants were up next. If the 49-24 win over the Giants in Week 12 was any indication as to how the hypothetical NFC Championship game would’ve played out, then the Saints could have been looking forward to a matchup against a toothless New England Patriots.

To make matters worse, an underwhelming Giants team that made the playoffs as a wild card would end up as the Super Bowl champions.

The absolute lethality of the 2011 team’s offense made up for any shortcomings the defense may have had. One bad game plan against San Francisco (all you had to do was cover Vernon Davis) held, quite possibly the best New Orleans team ever fielded from winning a Super Bowl.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

And as always you can follow Canal Street Chronicles at @SaintsCSC and me @KadeKistner.