I did it today. I subjected myself to the pain and misery of re-watching Saturday's Divisional Playoff loss to the 49ers.
I did it because I had to. As a writer and someone who wants to better understand football, and specifically the New Orleans Saints, I really didn't have a choice.
I felt like a bit of a masochist partaking in some sacred suffering ritual. It was even tougher to watch this time than the first.
And truthfully, I didn't learn much about this team other than what I already knew.
I already knew the offense played well enough to win. I already knew the defense took the exact opposite approach to this game as every other game this season (you know, start slow and finish fast).
Perhaps I learned that the 49ers were a much more worthy opponent than I had given them credit for being prior to this game.
But I think the main thing I learned is that this season's sour ending pretty much killed an otherwise magical season. The 2011 season should have been a memorable one which ended in a culturally-relevant parade.
Instead, it ended in what will likely always feel like a funeral procession. It ended in sorrow and shame.
It ended with a defensive coordinator fleeing the scene without even needing to give an explanation for his porous efforts over the course of the season. It ended with more questions than answers.
But for a few moments, I want to provide some answers and shine some light on what was, and not so much what could have been.