Archive for the ‘New Orleans Saints’ Category

The Super Bowl (and the blog), a year later

February 5, 2011

A year ago today, Tracy Porter was returning the Super Bowl-clinching interception for a touchdown. On Jan. 8, he was just one of many Saints who forgot how to tackle when it came time to stop Marshawn Lynch in Seattle. Photo: Jim Bryant/UPI.

It was Saturday, Jan. 8. I just had a weird feeling that morning that my New Orleans Saints weren’t going back to the Super Bowl this year — and that the euphoria that had followed them since the start of the 2009 season would come to an abrupt thud of an ending in the cold, dark gray of Seattle.

The wild card playoff against the Seahawks — the first sub-.500 division-winner in NFL history had “trap game” written all over it. The Saints seemed oddly flat after their Monday-night win at Atlanta right after Christmas. They couldn’t get up a temperature for the Buccaneers — same as the end of last year, but somehow different. And Seattle was heading into the playoffs with a lot to prove after its 7-9 season, and how better to shut people up than to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs?

There hasn’t been a repeat Super Bowl winner since the ’03-04 Patriots, but there wasn’t a reason, during the winter and spring of post-victory feel-good, to believe New Orleans couldn’t do it again. After all, save for Scott Fujita bailing for Cleveland, the core of the team was essentially intact. But the Saints actually couldn’t get untracked the whole season, and that was well before the season actually started. There was that messy allegation brought up by the team’s former security director about Sean Payton and assistant coach Joe Vitt and some missing Vicodin — a story that somehow seemed to magically vanish. There was also the announcement that Drew Brees would be testing the jinx as the cover boy for Madden ’11. (He didn’t get hurt, didn’t have a bad year — maybe, hopefully, the jinx was just that he didn’t return to the big game.)

And when they did hit the field when it counted, starting with the Thursday-night opener against the Vikings, something was definitely amiss. Minnesota had a solid defense, but let’s just say I would’ve expected 14-9 to be a halftime score, not the final. And there were little things, too. For the second straight year, I drafted Marques Colston in my fantasy league, expecting him to be a touchdown machine once again. He didn’t get into the end zone the first six weeks of the season. Reggie Bush broke his leg, a harbinger of things to come. By the time of the Seahawks game, seven running backs were down and out (!!!), which usually puts a crimp in any team’s postseason plans. The Saints managed to rack up an 11-5, but it wasn’t convincing, even after beating the Steelers on Halloween night. And the Falcons game was merely a flag of false hope.

And besides, my heart wasn’t as much into it this season. As I wrote going into the season, I’ve had a lot of second thoughts about how deeply I want to invest anymore in a sport that turns many players into cripples and/or vegetables long before their time. I’ve felt myself pulling away, and these Saints didn’t quite encourage me to stick around.

So anyway, rather than sit at the folks’ house and rant and rave and cuss out the TV in a most unladylike manner, the way I did when the Giants pulled off their choke job against the Eagles my first Sunday home, I decided to do what every black-and-gold-blooded Saints fan would do in my situation — at least the unemployed ones, anyway: forsake the game all together and go to a Starbucks and crank out four resumes.

And I’d like to say that my prescience was rewarded — and, at least in the moment of the game, I was spared the agony of seeing Gregg Williams’ defense going all Greg Brady against Marshawn Lynch. (Fucking Marshawn Lynch! A guy who hadn’t gained 67 yards the last three seasons combined!) However, I didn’t even get a nibble out of any of those applications. One way or the other, it seems as if was a wasted day. Except that, by applying for jobs, I at least gave myself the illusion I was doing something constructive.

Anyway, same as last year, I’ll be at the Landmark tomorrow for the annual Super Bowl party. I don’t have a horse in this game, but I guess I’ll be pulling for the Packers. I never hated the Steelers by any stretch, but I’m certainly pulling against any team with a Roethlisberger, I’m an NFC gal (Saints and Giants), the Packers were one of my first ins into understanding football as a fifth-grader (when I read Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap’s groundbreaking “Instant Replay”), and besides, I have one of those cool 1994 throwback Packer replica jerseys that I can rock.

And I’ll celebrate the first anniversary of this here blog, which actually is today. But I began it with posts before and after the game last Super Bowl Sunday.

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And now, it’s the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints — but is it worth the price to the players?

September 8, 2010

The last time the Saints played a game that counted at the Superdome, the NFC Championship, Tracy Porter was picking off a boneheaded last-second Brett Favre pass, turning a near-certain Vikings win into overtime and a Saints triumph. Photo: Reuters.

Well, I’ve had an entire seven months to gloat about this — actually, glow more than gloat — but now, playtime is over.

Let the games begin.

The NFL season starts officially Thursday night with my New Orleans Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings — right on the Superdome floor, where the Vikings’ season came to an unexpected end in January and the euphoria began in earnest.

My Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

And it still feels great stringing those previous words together.

Except that officially — at least for the fans; the team itself stashed the rings at the start of training camp — as of the opening kickoff Thursday evening, they’ll no longer be the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

They’ll be the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Big difference.

It officially means, at least in the realm of the fan, that 2009 is over. Time to stash the memories away in a sacred place.

Besides, I’m not sure I’m as excited about this season as I was last one, even though the Saints are a solid choice to repeat. And it’s not totally because of the post-championship hangover or even the dread of Drew Brees facing the Madden Curse.

I’m actually rethinking this whole football fan thing. And it has nothing to do with a certain writer’s gender transition, either. It has everything to do with whether it’s worth seeing and hearing about these guys suffer so much later in life just to satisfy our immediate, vicarious lust for excitement. And not so deep down, I think I know the answer.

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ARCHIVES: The perils of living a double life (NFL style)

June 1, 2010

Roman Harper makes sure native son Eli Manning's first Dome game is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Photo: UPI.

This Franorama World post was from my MySpace blog Oct. 16, 2009, 6:44 p.m. PDT, two days before my New Orleans Saints hosted my New York Giants, both undefeated at the time. I thought it was a 1 p.m. game, only to wake up at 10:30 and find that the Saints were already up 28-10 en route to a 48-27 rout:

I’m a full-fledged, hardcore, middle-of-the-period Gemini, so living a double life is no big thing to me. Two jobs at once (I was a sportswriter and music writer at the same time at my first job, and both entertainment editor and music writer at my second), two genders at once (ask me how), two major life changes at once … and two favorite football teams at the same time.

And it’s inevitable that once in a while, they’ll meet — and one will win and one will lose.

But never have they met when both have been unbeaten.

Let’s just say come 1 p.m. Sunday, I will be planted in front of a set somewhere watching my 4-0 New Orleans Saints host my 5-0 East Rutherford Giants at the Dome. I plan to wear my road Eli jersey one half, my home Deuce McAllister jersey the other. (A coin flip will determine who gets to receive.)

And it’s gonna be great.

And it’s gonna suck.

But hey, there are worse things. Like when both teams suck at the same time, like in the mid-to-late ’90s.

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Oh shit! Drew Brees on the cover of Madden ’11!

April 23, 2010

Duuuuuum da-DUM-dum! So much for the Saints' 2010 season.

I didn’t pay any attention to Thursday evening’s first round of the NFL draft as it was taking place. But now that I’m catching up, I do know my Super Bowl champion Saints (I sooooo dig saying that) wrapped up the first round by taking a cornerback, Florida State’s Patrick Robinson, who’s suposed to have a million bucks of athleticism but lacks in the mental skills. But if Sean Payton and crew can work some magic with him, they could be set at the corners for a long time; last year, they drafted Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio State, who started to really come around by year’s end.

And my Giants, at No. 15, took South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul; he’s supposedly a boom-or-bust player who could complement Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck and hasten the departure of Osi Umenyiora.

So I should be happy, right?

No — actually, I’m not.

Because I just saw the above image.

Drew Brees on the cover of Madden ’11. EA Sports made the announcement Thursday.

The strongest jinx in sports this side of the Sports Illustrated cover.

Shit.

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Such a night (Who Dat and all that — the sequel)

February 8, 2010

Tracy Porter, with bodyguards Will Smith and Scott Shanle, runs the clincher 74 yards back to the house.

So this is what it feels like — once again.

Twenty-three years ago (already!), when the Giants won their first Super Bowl, we were a bunch of drunken idiots dogpiling and dousing each other with Gatorade on the floor of the house my pal Ron Johnson was renting in New Haven.

My second and final first time — tonight, the New Orleans Saints’ turn at last to hoist the Lombardi Trophy — I was a little more subdued. Well, if yelling “WHO DAT!” and “WOOOOOOO!” at the top of my lungs at the Landmark, my hangout bar in Fresno’s Tower District, is your idea of subdued. But no piling on the floor. I was in Fresno, thousands of miles away, hoisting a shot of Jameson and a Newcastle chaser to toast the people of New Orleans.

Who Dat? Who woulda thunk that? Gawd, this is great!

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Who Dat and all that

February 7, 2010

So I’m killing time, about two hours from kickoff of what will be the greatest day in the history of New Orleans — well, aside from the time Andrew Jackson and crew needlessly slaughtered 2,000 Redcoats in a battle of a war that had officially ended already, or the time Thomas Jefferson bought Louisiana from the French for $15 mil, but no one apparently is alive to remember those things …

I’m doing this backwards, I know — I should offer an introductory post first, but this is a big day, so I’ll get to the how-do-you-do next time. For now, I can’t let this day slide any longer without my 59 cents on a day I never thought I’d see.

The New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl.

It feels weird saying it.

It feels great saying it.

I’m sitting at my usual coffee shop (how cliche, I know) in the Drew Brees game jersey that arrived yesterday — with a Super Bowl patch.

I never thought I’d see the day.

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