The season ends with a Saints victory over a crippled Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Hooray! We’re 7 and 9! Ugh! But what is the larger message we can take from this whole season?
One, I like Rob Ryan, and I still think he’s the right guy, but we don’t have any franchise-defining players on defense. We don’t have anyone who gives this team an identity. Junior Galette is good, and so is Cam Jordan, Akeem Hicks, and Broderick Bunkley, but not one great player. Where is that talented leader of men that lifts up the team late in the 4th quarter, and you need a stop? I think you would agree that this was proven in that Falcon game, we don’t have it, baby.
We need that fiery, double-tough, imposing, linebacker that tells the opposing side, ” You ain’t gaining another inch!” And then go out and make good on it. That’s the kind of cat that we like in New Orleans.
Two, we have too few players locked up with all the money. Those who are in the know have told the story, the Saints are in salary cap hell. We built the team to win in the short term and we are, and are going to continue to pay for it. Yes, haggling, begging, cojoling, and cutting will happen in the off season, but it might not be enough to return to the team we’ve become accustomed to for the last 8 seasons. We shall see…
But what is really interesting are the people I’ve termed casual bandwagon ass fans. On Sundays, it’s hard to find any place where you don’t hear or see, “Who Dat!” But this week, with nothing to play for, no playoff implications, social media– in particular–was as quiet as a mouse pissing on a piece of cotton in China. Why? The die-hard WhoDats will always represent, but the “casual bandwagon ass fans” jumped off last week.
You know the type, they are the ones who say stupid shit while you’re watching the game. The ones who jump off the bandwagon at the first pick or fumble. They know next to nothing about football or its intricacies. Before the Sean Payton era, they were often found bashing the “sad- ass Saints.” When the Saints became contenders they were the same ones rocking Drew Brees and Reggie Bush jerseys with no shame.
Now that the Saints are struggling and let’s say, the Cowboys are contenders, it will be interesting to see how many Tony Romo and Dez Bryant jerseys we are gonna see?
These folks watch the Saints like a hit TV show. When the show gets played out, they move on to a new show. But the WhoDats ride for the Saints, all day, and every day. It seems to be embedded in our collective DNA. Yes, we are critical. Yes, we hurt when they lose, but we always ride with our team. The good part about that bandwagon, is that now that the CBAF’s are gone, I can see some familiar faces. They are still there, they were just lost in the crowd.
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