At 6-2, First Place Saints Face Doomed Future
Look at this gif:
Look at it. For a long time.
Now get over it.
The loss to the Jets brought pre-existing Saints fan woes — deconstructed so well by Moose Denied — to a calamitous head. The fan base’s collective season-long impersonation of Unimpressed Guy has, by now, turned into a kind of depressed fatalism. With self-convinced clarity, my Saints fan strawman notes the team’s struggling offensive line and non-existent running game, looks northwest, and lets out a long melancholy breath: The Saints’ season will surely end in Seattle, just like it did in 2010.
Applying narratives to sports seasons is part of that human thing we do, taking chaos and finding patterns in it. It’s only natural for Saints fans to compare this team to the recent one that seems to most resemble it; anticipating future failures by extrapolating from a familiar story is, as a result, also natural. It’d be weird if fans didn’t do so, really, and in a weird world like that one there’d be no reason to have sports-focused blogs like this one.
My response to all this Saints fan discomfort could be to re-state obvious things: The Saints are flawed, but so is every team; the Saints are 6-2; the Saints have Drew Brees; and so on. But those are themselves just script lines that stoke ESPN-subsidizing debate as part of the neverending cycle of shouty sportsness. I’m not going to belabor you with lots of words on all the football reasons you shouldn’t be depressed right now because, after all, this is football, and Nick Foles threw seven touchdown passes. But I’ll give you some bullet points, around which you can construct your own arguments:
- The Saints were 5-3 at this point in 2011
- The Saints lost to bad St Louis and Tampa teams in two of three weeks in 2011
- No other team on the Saints’ schedule has Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson
- The 2010 Saints had no running game, but their passing attack wasn’t very good by Payton/Brees standards, either.
- The Panthers have a pretty tough remaining schedule too
And so on. I’m sure I could come up with a few more, but I’d be making stuff up. The point is, for every jab you have for why the Saints are doomed, I’ve got a counter-punch for why they’re not.1
The real reason you need to chill, though, is because Nick Foles threw seven touchdown passes.
And because the now-0-8 Bucs had a three-score lead over the supposed Seattle juggernaut we’re supposed to be so scared of.
And also because Hakim once dropped the ball.
You get what I’m saying? The conventional wisdom you allow to dictate the emotions you feel about your team says it can’t win if it travels to Seattle in January; it can’t win if it’s a wild card; it can’t win if it’s not the conference’s top seed; it can’t get that top seed thanks to its offensive line and lack of a running game, and so will travel to Seattle in January and lose, just like 2010.
All of that might be true. It’s certainly predictable. But this sport is a crazy one, and assuming any one outcome eight, or nine or ten or eleven, games out is inevitable is the only truly dumb move.
It ain’t over til etc etc.
The next five games will tell us a lot about the 2013 New Orleans Saints. Every one is high-stakes. Every one has big repercussions and destiny-altering potential. It’s going to be tough, intense. There will be lots of Twitter insanity and plenty of gifs, and nobody — not you, not me, not Sean Payton — knows where we’ll be in December, or in January.
I’m excited. You?
Photo via Rayon Sports