I want a Super Bowl champion, and I’m tired of waiting.
As a die-hard New Orleans Saints fan, my hopes of the next year are usually dashed before the next season even begins. But before the preseason this year, like last year...I was sure this was it.
This would be the year all of New Orleans, all of the Gulf Coast, all Saints fans everywhere have been waiting on for 41 years. The Super Bowl.
To even think about getting to the big game, let alone winning it, is enough to make me giddy. And this year, I thought we would have it.
We added Pro-Bowl middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma to address the weakness in that unit. To stop the big play, we brought in two-time Super Bowl cornerback Randall Gay. We drafted one of the best cover corners coming out of college in Tracy Porter. To help with the pass rush, we traded up to get the No. 1(a) defensive tackle in the draft, Sedrick Ellis.
To top it all off, we traded for an explosive offensive weapon at tight end, Jeremy Shockey.
Oh yeah, this was the year.
Then, we started to play the games.
The big-name upgrades on defense that guaranteed so much hope and excitement have, thus far, yielded the same results as last year’s motley crew. No pass rush; can’t stop the big play.
Though the Saints offense is ready-made for the Super Bowl, the defense is holding the team back. If they don’t play any better, it will be next year before this season even starts.
Well, I’m tired of waiting. I want a championship now. I want to feel giddy and excited. I want to brag on my team and rub it in the faces of my co-workers who root for everyone but the Saints.
What if…? What if…?
Remember when the Dome Patrol ruled defense in the NFL? When Ricky Jackson, Sam Mills, Vaughn Johnson, and Pat Swilling swarmed the carpet of the Superdome, knocking quarterbacks senseless? Do you remember Toi Cook and Gene Atkins in the secondary picking off passes that hurried quarterbacks abandoned in favor of maintaining life in their body?
Yeah, I’m giddy already.
That team's fans lacked what we have today—a great offense. We lack today what they had then—a great defense.
What if…what if the Saints took their offense of today and teamed it with a defense of the past? Oh, let’s say the best defense, the 1992 New Orleans Saints Dome Patrol.
Can you imagine the terror the 2008 Saints would wreak on the league? On the NFL record books?
Maybe you guys don’t remember the 1992 New Orleans Saints defense. It is only the most underrated defense in NFL history.
We are talking about a defense that allowed only 12.6 points per game. The 202 points they allowed still rank as the seventh-lowest total in a 16-game season in league history.
We are talking about a defense that never gave up more than 21 points to a team the entire regular season! To put that into context, none of the commonly acknowledged all-time great defenses could duplicate the feat.
Even more impressive is the fact that the '92 Saints played multiple high-scoring offenses—the Steve Young West Coast 49ers twice; the run-and-shoot Atlanta Falcons twice; the K-Gun Buffalo Bills; and the Dan Marino-led Miami Dolphins.
The '92 Saints defense led the league in sacks with 57; pass defense, allowing 154.4 yards per game through the air; and they scored six defensive touchdowns.
They were an awesome defense, just awesome.
Combined with the offense they have now, who would beat them? Oh, I’m so giddy!
They should win those games pretty handily, but let’s say they lose. They would still end the season 14-2 and have home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs.
After dispatching whatever measly foe that made it through the wild-card game to the divisional round—the Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, or maybe the Vikings again—they would likely face the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game.
No problem. Their pass rush would harass Tony Romo all night, and the secondary would make Terrell Owens a non-factor. After the game, T.O. would flip out like Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb were sitting next to him on a 20-hour flight to wherever.
Finally, the Super Bowl! They made it. I’m so excited.
They play the Chargers again in a rematch of the regular-season meeting. Whether they won or lost that one, this one they don’t lose.
All of New Orleans is erupting, all of the Gulf Coast, all Saints fans everywhere are giddy and excited!
Ah, well…what if...?