Many New Orleans fans still remember the 'Aints. This was the popular name for a team whose fans wore paper bags over their heads when attending games. The Saints were the most lovable inept football team in the USA. From their inception, in 1967, until Jim Mora brought nine if his USFL defensive players to the Crescent City they were failures. Mora and his leadership resulted in the Saints first winning season and their first playoff appearance in their 21st year of existence. From those humble beginnings, who would have thought that we would ever see an 11-0 New Orleans team?
Using the current vernacular, these Saints " blew up" the New England Patriots on Monday night. Drew Brees threw for 229 yards in the first half. The Saints defenders played as if the whole Patriots team had insulted their mommas. The Saints turned people upside down on tackles. On one kickoff, the Patriot kick returner looked as if he ran into a clothes line with his feet flying up in front of his face before his backside hit the ground.
For Tom Brady, the defense brought to my mind a video of a pack of wolves chasing down a caribou with Brady as the target. He was sacked, harassed and pulled down while in the process of throwing. There was virtually no protection for him. This game was so one sided that the Pat's pulled the plug with 5 minutes left in the game by pulling their major starters, (Brady and Randy Moss).
The game began with both teams scoring once in the first quarter, the Saints a field goal and the Pat's a touchdown. In the second quarter, the Saints outscored the Pat's 21 to 3. This left the Saints ahead with a half time score of 24 -10. Both teams exchanged touchdowns in the third and the Saints added another score in the fourth. The final score of 38-17 looks better than the actual play of the game.
Drew Brees completed 18 passes of 23 attempts for 371 yards and 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. Tom Brady threw 36 passes to complete 21 with no touchdown passes and 2 interceptions. The quarterback ratings were more indicative of the dominance of the Saints. Drew Brees had a rating of 158.3, Tom Brady ended with a rating of 55.0.
We, meaning those of us who watched the game, were treated to a vision of what the best team in the NFL looks like. There is no doubt that the Saints are presently the most dominating team in the league. A football has a funny shape and bounces erratically which is a great metaphor for a football season as well. This simply means that things can happen that don't make sense, but barring any funny bounces, the Saints should be in the Super Bowl this year.
Should they make it that far, I hope that they invite Archie Manning back. As one of the most talented quarterbacks of his generation, it had to be frustrating to play for the "Aints". Yet he stuck it out and did not leave the team until the twilight of his career.
I hear faint strains of Louis Armstrong's song, "When the Saints go Marching In", and cheers of who 'dat? Prediction Saints 16-0 in the regular season