He was the Saints' leader. He led the team to its first Super Bowl win in 2010. He was one of the main reasons why the Saints turned from a joke to serious contenders. He is one of the reasons why the Saints have one of the most potent offensive unit's in the NFL.
This season is a different story.
After a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday, the "Who Dat" nation is at a loss for words. An 0-3 start for the New Orleans Saints isn't good for a team and its fans who were used to winning.
Last season, the Saints went 13-3 and were undefeated at the Superdome. And although they spent the offseason dealing with suspensions and litigation, it wasn't supposed to start like this. The Saints returned most of their starters from last year's dominant team that had the potential to reach the Super Bowl if it weren't for their defense.
The team picked up some key players on defense in the offseason, signing linebacker Curtis Lofton and defensive lineman Brodrick Bunkley to reinforce their flawed defense.
Still, they have lost three consecutive games, two of them at home. The Saints have been playing sloppy football. Why?
The big question is: Does it have to do with head coach Sean Payton's one-year suspension?
It's hard to tell, but you have to figure it has something to do with it. After all, Coach Payton completely turned the franchise around.
Is Sean Payton's absence the reason why the Saints are 0-3?
In his first season in 2006, coach Payton led the Saints to the playoffs after the team went 3-13 the season before. Payton also won the NFL Coach of the Year award in 2007. It served as a tribute to his hard and astonishing work in turning around a franchise known for having fans that wore paper bags over their heads.
Words can't describe what Sean Payton means to the franchise and its fans.
After an 0-3 start, the Saints need their leader. They need Payton to guide them back to what they were before the bounty scandal happened—a winning team.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter for more Saints news and other NFL updates: @ItsJPeralta.