Some people are fans of the New Orleans Saints. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the New Orleans Saints. This 2014 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: New Orleans Saints
Your 2013 record: 11-5. Let's see how it ended, guys!
That is the anti-Music City Miracle. That play deserves some kind of historic moniker, like the Marques de Sade, or the Seattle Steamer, or The Who Dateral, or some other name that is as poorly executed as Marques Colston's throw was. Keep in mind that Sean Payton designed that play. Always a good idea to entrust the final throw of a playoff game to someone other than Drew Brees.
Your coach: Sean Payton, who is Josh McDaniels but with actual football acumen. Here is Mike Freeman with a prime example of Sean Payton's paranoid dickishness (the original CBS story this story came from is curiously no longer online):
This is one of my favorite Payton stories: In 2007, a Saints beat writer wrote a story about a player who was going to miss an upcoming game. The writer asked the player if he was going to participate in the game and the player said he wasn't. At the time, Payton claimed the player would indeed play.
So the writer wrote the accurate story — not playing. The following day, around 8 a.m., the writer received a call from Payton, and Payton cursed out the writer calling him a "negative fuck" about a half-dozen times before hanging up.
Payton calling up writers to berate them isn't unusual.
Payton got to martyr himself during the whole Bountygate scandal two years ago, because he's shrewd enough to know that Roger Goodell is the only person in football who is a bigger cock than Sean Payton. I'm sure Payton can hang a cinder block on his dick any time he thinks of himself as the NFL's great outlaw, when in reality he's just a sleazy, paranoid bro-coach who assumes he's smarter than everyone else in the room. If he weren't coaching the Saints, he'd be out making titty videos on Bourbon Street.
If only he were more that like Rob Ryan. GOD BLESS WOLFMAN ROB. Now there's a real outlaw. There's a man who will spend one hour a week designing low hits and the rest of the week importing THC-infused HGH from across the Mexican border. In this offseason alone, Rob went to Hooters, Mardi Gras, a St. Patrick's Day parade, the airport, and a Greek festival. Now that is a full, rich life. That is a man with culture, god dammit.
Your quarterback: Drew Brees. Drew Brees gets a pass from scrutiny because he is a very good quarterback and a nice person. But holy shit, is he a cheesy motherfucker. He is the Adam Levine of football. I saw him host a party during Super Bowl week and no quarterback fits into a crowd of white dudes in Affliction shirts drinking Bud Light Lime-A-Rita better than Drew Brees. Those are his people, man. When his career is over, he's gonna go right into working for ESPN and the transition will be seamless. He'll go from Hall of Famer to talking piece of white bread in no time flat.
What's new that sucks: For the second time in three years, the Saints decided to piss away all of their good will by needlessly picking a fight with one of their best players. I hope winning an argument in semantics with Jimmy Graham was worth the $5 million they saved in the process (lawyer's fees not included). They also dumped Darren Sproles on the Eagles for a fifth-rounder, a trade that will almost certainly result in Sproles catching 17 passes for 178 yards in a divisional playoff game against his former team. This is the reality of the Saints. The Saints love to present themselves as a cute little underdog franchise here to save a downtrodden-but-wonderful city. But at their core, they are still a heartless team run by a skinflint who essentially lucked into seeing his franchise become a beloved public institution just as he was poised to ship them out of town. The stadium is sponsored by Mercedes Benz, for fuck's sake.
On the field, the Saints drafted Brandin Cooks at wideout, and holy shit are people way too excited about Brandin Cooks. SUCH A BURNER. I have lived through Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson. I know exactly how disposable every super-quick Saints wideout is, whether they can throw a lateral eighty feet the wrong way or not. The rookie wideout everyone loves is NEVER the rookie wideout who ends up tearing shit up. Last year's breakout rookie was Keenan Allen, and if you're some fantasy asshole who says you knew totally knew Keenan Allen was gonna be awesome, you are a liar and I will stab you in the hand.
Also, Champ Bailey is here! This was the fourth best pass defense in football last season (such are the wonders of hiring Wolfman Rob), and yet I'm sure the average Saints fan creamed his jeans knowing Champ is here now to collect his golden parachute playing nickelback. Bailey and Jairus Byrd were signed as pass defenders but their main job this season will be to make 200 tackles apiece once the opposing running back has busted through the front seven.
Final note: Turns out your former All-Pro safety is an alleged serial rapist. So that's fun.
What has always sucked: I actually went to Louisiana for the first time last year. I even had gumbo! GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO NOBODY MAKE GUMBO LIKE MY MOMMA MAKE GUMBO YOU CALL THAT GUMBO? GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO. Turns out gumbo is just a bowl of gravy with shit in it. It's fantastic. When I asked my hotel clerk how long the drive to the airport was, she responded, "By gosh! I've never even SEEN our airport!" So there you go: Louisiana™: Enjoy Your Gumbo, Because You Don't Know How To Leave.
I did not actually venture into New Orleans for that trip, which means 50,000 of you are now shouting at me that I didn't get a sense of the real Louisiana. Louisiana is a conglomeration of 90,000 redneck parishes all vying to be the realest part of Louisiana. Suffice it to say the New Orleans remains the place you go to for a bachelor party and end up being unable to find your hotel at 3:00 in the morning. And Bourbon Street remains America's premier destination for people looking to wake up with crabs. The old mayor is in jail. They couldn't keep the power on during the fucking Super Bowl. Worst of all, our Tim Burke reports that there is no live sex at the Live Sex Show. And here I thought you people knew how to cut loose.
Louisiana is also the place writers go to train in all aspects of being a professional southerner: the arrogance, the liberal outrage, the overlong paeans to the food, the insistence that everyone outside of the Deep South has no idea how to live life correctly, the Jack White-ish brand of music snobbery, the mandatory "you've never been to a football game until you've been to an LSU night game" brag (LSU night games are pushed on people more than The Wire itself), and all the fucking vampires. Holy shit, that's enough Southern vampires, guys. We're on good on the Southern vampires. No more vampires.
By the way, the WHO DAT! chant? That's from minstrel shows. So that's fucked up. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS is in better taste.
What might not suck: Brees is still Brees and will still throw for 5,000 yards with a pity handoff to Mark Ingram thrown in once every twentieth play.
Hear it from Saints fans!
I might be the only fan in New Orleans who is tired of watching Drew Brees use a hard count to draw the other team offsides. If you can't count on your stable of eight mediocre running backs to get you one yard then send in the punt unit.
The bandwagon stretches all the way to Alabama now. If the Titans or Falcons win a Super Bowl watch our fanbase decrease by half.
Drew Brees is a boring man. I appreciate his gaudy stats but in any interview he is total canned processed QB. People give Peyton Manning shit for being a football robot. Brees is just running on a more advanced operating system.
We bolstered our perpetually floundering and Vaccaro-less secondary by letting Malcolm Jenkins walk, signing a busted up Buffalo Bill and the ghost of Champ Bailey, then presumably exhausting remaining funds footing Rob Ryan's Blimpie tab.
1) Mark Ingram has one good game and suddenly the fans are giddy again. We are more fickle than a 16 year old girl deciding on prom dresses.
2) While I'm happy for hardcore fans that finally got to see our team win one, we are now so overpopulated with bandwagon fans that it's beyond maddening. Seriously, Facebook is one big living room that you can't leave. "I'm turning this crap off. . ." "I've seen enough . . ."
3) That "prolific" offense spun wheels in the mud all year last year. What did we do to fix that? We replaced Sproles with a fast, short rookie wideout. Surely that will get things going again.
4) Did you know Jimmy Graham has a basketball background? I haven't heard that enough from announcers yet.
5) Stop with the "Who Dat?" already. I will make an exception if you've never owned a cassette tape. If you have, you're old enough to know better.
6) I swear, if you listen to local sports radio long enough, you'll still get at least one caller saying we should consider "bringing back Sharper".
It has been nine goddamn years since Katrina, and it still gets brought up before and during every fucking Saints game.
Our fans are so stupid. If you dare criticize our QB for doing dumb shit on the field, you get called a "closet Falcons fan." Drew Brees threw 12 interceptions last year and 19 the year before, but according to our mouth breather fans, none of them were his fault.
I was planning on proposing to my then girlfriend (now my wife) at the Superdome, so I called the Saints organization to try and get field passes. After being transferred numerous times, I somehow got Mickey Loomis' number and explained to him how my girlfriend was a die-hard fan and how it would make her very happy to propose to her on the field. He told me, "We don't do that" and hung up on me. Dick.
The city wasn't even dry yet from the worst disaster in its history, and our used car salesman of an owner was toying with the idea of moving the team to San Antonio. Our head coach looks like Frankie Muniz grew up, got the mumps, then got handed a headset. Drew Brees named one of his kids Baylen, that sounds like some hipster skydiving company. Our radio hosts consist of two former players, one of whom sounds like coach Fran from the Waterboy, and the other is usually loaded by halftime...and that's if we're winning. At one time, our team had not one but TWO quarterbacks named Billy Joe on the roster. Our most recent HOF inductee once owed the largest child support back payment amount in state history. The only bright side is that football season at least allows us to be distracted from the next mass shooting on one of the most famous tourist streets in the world.
This team is a perennial contender that cannot get up to play crappy teams. Every year it never fails, the Saints will look like world beaters until God forbid they have to go play Sam Bradford's backup. Literally the only time the Saints have convincingly beat the always terrible Rams under Sean Payton was the one year that Sam Bradford actually played in the game. In both 2011 and 2013 the Saintscould have secured a higher seed in the playoffs by just beating the godforsaken Rams. And they couldn't do it. Even the 2009 Super Bowl team lost to the 3-13 Bucs with homefield advantage on the line. The Saints play the Browns this year, so watch out. In 2010 in the Superdome vs. the Browns the Saints were blown out as Brees threw two pick-sixes to a defensive lineman who weighed like 300 pounds, and still no one could stop him from scoring. Don't put your money on the Saints in any game they are supposed to easily win, especially with playoffs on the line, because chances are they will lose in embarrassing fashion.
Because we forgot to pay the light bill before hosting the Super Bowl.
Last season we scored 142 points on the road compared to a bolstering 272 at home.
That's a 130 point difference. We're like two totally different teams, you can barely recognize us outside the dome.
The most we scored on the road was 27 points against New England in a game that we should have won. We ended up totally fucking up vs the Panthers in another game we should have won that ended up costing us the division, a home playoff game, and a possible entry into the NFC Championship game. This is exactly what they did in 2010 and 2011 when they laid down and blew it against bad teams we should have blown out, costing us a high seed in the playoffs and ultimately the reason we can't get past the fucking divisional round ever since lucking into that magical 2009 season where our offense was smoking hot and our defense somehow caught every interception.
Sean Payton's head is a very strange shape and too small for his body. He has the head shape of a person who snorts Vicodin and has sex with random skanks.
The Saint's alleged league-best fan base is entirely a post-Katrina development. The upper deck of the Superdome was entirely empty for the 10 years before Katrina. The Saints used to struggle to sell out playoff games.
Tom Benson is by far the richest man in Louisiana, threatened to move the team multiple times, and yet the state falls over itself to give him free stuff as opposed to mitigating some of the most desperate poverty in the country.
Drew Brees is a very greedy man. He's basically one of those crazy people who thinks Jesus wants us to make as much money as possible and produce as many kids as possible. He makes $20 million dollars a year sees it necessary to degrade himself in Pepsi commercials with One Direction.
Drew Brees is getting older and less grittier. Threw some very un-Brees like picks late last year. He won't be dead by Week Three like Locker or Romo, but everyone has this team figured out offensively.
Another year of Wolfman Rob and his chinese takeout menu defense, another year of Arena League scores. Wet, 1 ply, hotel room toilet paper can stop more shit than the Saints.
Personal anecdote: When the Saints had to play the Falcons in San Antonio after Katrina, Tom Benson came zipping through the parking lot while we were tailgating like Douglas Fucking MacArthur. The Saints were a heartbeat away from relocating permanently to the Home Depot pop up barn known as the Alamodome. Good luck with that, Raiders!!
The conspiracy crowd is still going to have legs this year. The same crowd who blamed every loss in the bounty suspension season on the NFL. And did the same last year as well. Why? Because people are actually pissed down here that New Orleans got passed up for hosting the Super Bowl for Minneapolis. It had to be a conspiracy, not the fact that the lights went out at the Superdome. JUST THINK A THA TAX REVNU WE HAD GOTTEN YAYAYAYAYA. Goodell is always going to be some shifty character to the crowd down here. The Saints will never lose on their own merits.
Get ready for it. Every Drew Brees interception is going to be an Illuminati-inspired event caused by chemtrails somehow penetrating the roof of our domed stadium. Or GMO food. Or Katrina. Again.
But every time Drew Brees throws a touchdown, a rebuilt house gets its siding.
Our fan base is made up of drunk Boudreaux's and the Thibodeaux's arguing over whose maw maw makes the best gumbo and douchebag "artists" who take themselves wayyy to seriously. Our coach is buddies with Kenny Chesney. Most Saints fans are LSU fans (because, you know, LSU fans). Our mascot is a dog and some type of gremlin that has a gigantic ass attached to the front of his face.
Just go to a game, the dome is full of south Louisiana mouth breathers who have two articles of clothing, an LSU jersey and a Saints jersey. Some even have a bastardized version with a fleur de lis in LSU colors. They started drinking Saturday morning before the LSU game and have a BAC of .999 by the time the Saints kick off because "we party in Norlens".
If you think the Ray Rice suspension was light, just remember Goodell did absolutely nothing when Marshawn Lynch did the same thing to the entire Saints defense in the 2011 Wild Card game.
1) Our fan base can't seem to grasp the concept that Goodell really suspended our coach because Payton was an unrelenting, arrogant prick towards him for two years after winning the Super Bowl. Instead, the fans really believe that Goodell has some unquenchable lust for fucking the wet, dirty asshole that is the city of New Orleans.
2) It's basically impossible to have a coherent discussion with another Saints fan since every topic somehow drifts to either drunken optimism or shifty-eyed paranoia about Goodell that would make a Sandy Hook truther sound like Neil deGrasse Tyson.
3) We got clocked by Seattle twice last year because our receivers are fucking pussies. So we get rid of Sproles and replace him with the 5'8" Brandin Cooks. Yeah, that'll fucking work.
Fuck Gregg Williams.
WE CAN'T WIN A GAME PLAYED OUTSIDE.
"I'm supposed to talk shit about the Saints?! No way! We (I say 'we' because I helped rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina just like those heroes) have the best quarterback and tight end to ever play the game! And Rob Ryan made our defense the best ever! There's no way that the Saints win less than 15 games in the regular season!"
-That one guy from New Orleans that now lives in your city, has fleur de lis on everything he owns and never shuts up about XLIV.
One of the biggest dilemmas I have as a Saints fan is reconciling the fact that I love Sean Payton to the point that I'd fight a dragon with my bare hands for him with the fact that he is, well, a big ole douche. Anyone (who's not a douche) who's seen him out and about around town knows this. I'm talking full douche here — Affliction shirts, jeans with those thick-ass threads (True Religion and whatnot), spiky gelled hair, fake tan. Basically he's the kind of guy you always see boarding a flight to Vegas. And if that weren't all enough, he's also a rabid Crossfit bro. Toss in an extreme cockiness that borders on a God complex and, well, we're talking about a rather substantial bag of douche here. I also have it on good account that he loves to fill text messages with emoji. I have a hard time respecting any grown man who uses any emoji beyond your basic smiley face and frowny face.
My mother-in-law loves the Saints. So much so that whenever ANY play is run by the Saints against my team (even a rush for no gain), I receive a text message saying "Wooooo WHO DAT". Horrible.
Also, fuck Harrah's.
Because "next season Mark Ingram will really step up and take our running game to the next level!" is something we've heard every year since we burned two draft picks on him. Next season has not come yet, and it never will. By comparison, Ingram makes Trent Richardson look like Barry Sanders.
I'm a New Orleans transplant who until recently worked at a bar in the city. Every Sunday, employees would wear Saints jerseys. Since I collect throwbacks, I decided to buy an Archie Manning jersey to wear to work. Hey, everyone down here claims to be "a lifelong Saints fan," so surely they'd appreciate the organization's first quarterback/one of only four retired numbers in team history, right?
To date, maybe three people I've interacted with while wearing it didn't bother asking me outright whose jersey it was. One of them was Archie Manning himself. He was literally shoved out of the way by some mouth-breathing hick in a Drew Brees jersey who asked me where I got "dat custom jersah wid yo name awn da back."
That was almost as sad as the time this exceptionally trashy group of Metairie people - yes, even trashy for Metairie's non-existent standards - wanted to know why I'd be wearing an Eli ManningSaints jersey, before explaining to each other that the Saints drafted Eli Manning, but traded him for Drew Brees and a first round pick "and dey used dat first-rounda ta draft Reggeh Bush da yeah dey won da Supa Bowwwwwwwwl."
Cowboys fans may be fair-weathered scumbags, but at least they'd recognize a Roger Staubach jersey if they saw it in public. Then again, so would the "lifelong Saints fans," since most of them cheered for the Cowboys until Katrina.
The Ricky Williams trade was like the NINETEENTH-STUPIDEST THING the Saintshave done in the first round of the NFL draft. And if you think I'm exaggerating, here is a sample of the other things they have done:
1. Drafted KICKER Russel Erxleben in the first round in 1979. And it's not that he's a kicker. It's that he's one of the worst kickers in nfl history.
2. Traded a first round pick for a washed-up Earl Campbell.
3. Traded a first round pick for a washed-up Richard Todd.
4. Traded a first round pick for a washed-up Jim Taylor.
5. Traded the first overall pick in the 1967 draft AND Bill Curry for Gary Cuozzo and Buford Allison. The Colts took Bubba Smith.
6. Selected Les Kelley with their first ever first round draft pick. He lasted three seasons.
7. Passed on Eddie George and took Alex Molden in 1996. The best RB on the Saints roster at the time was Mario Bates.
8. Traded two first round picks in 2006 to move up to #6 overall and picked Johnathan Sullivan, who ate his way out of the NFL in three years.
9. Selected Royce Smith 7th overall in 1972. 13 career starts for the Saints.
10. Traded the second overall pick in the 1973 draft to the Colts for Billy Newsome.
11. Selected Lindsay Scott 13th overall in 1982. 69 career receptions, one career touchdown.
12. Selected Larry Burton 7th overall in 1975. 44 career receptions.
13. 5 picks later in the 1975 draft, selected Kurt Schumacher. 17 career starts.
14. Selected Rick Middleton 13th overall in 1974. His Ohio State teammate and fellow linebacker, Randy Gradishar, was the selected with the next pick.
15. Selected Alvin Toles in the first round in 1985. 17 career starts.
16. Selected Vaughn Dunbar in the first round in 1992. 935 career rushing yards.
17. Selected Shawn Knight in the first round of the 1987 drafted. Traded for spare parts one year later.
18. Traded a first, second and third round pick to Dallas for Steve Walsh. Dallas selected Erik Williams with one of those picks.
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks: personal anecdotes, encounters with fans, etc. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: THE CHARGERS.