Archive for the Saints Category

Many times I have heard Saints season ticket holder Pants tell of the goings on in Section 617 in the Superdome. And he has written about it well enough over the years. But I just wanted to add a few observations about it from an outsider’s perspective. I mean, I felt like a freshman up there. It felt exotic. It was a micro environment. I loved it.

A few observations…null

I just call it Section 6000, Seat 6000 because that really drives home just how far up and back this place is. It’s like an outpost. The beer vendors are Himalayan sherpas in the off season. But I will add that it is not so far back that you couldn’t see Rob Ryan on the sideline. Pants did mention that Rob Ryan and the Great Wall of China are the only two human-made objects that can bee seen from space. And you can see Rob from space even when he is inside. Just think about that. That’s how much he sticks out. I have heard of, and even experienced one for myself, many Rob Ryan sightings all over New Orleans since his arrival. People think he’s a man about town but really, Sean Payton or Drew Brees or Pierre Thomas could scoot on past unnoticed but there is no mistaking Rob Ryan when you see him. No one says, “You know, I think I saw Rob Ryan today…” Never happens.

But I digress. Back to Section 6000, Seat 6000.

First, because it is so high up in the Dome, with your back literally against the wall, there is no fuller a view of the field. I know this sounds like poor folks making tricandilles out of pig parts but there is something truly unique about having a full scope of the field. Everyone always wants to be up close and there is certainly an enjoyment to be had by being by the action. Sounds are clearer for example. But, with an expansive view of the field one can not help but analyze the science of the game. You see who was open on what play. You see how offenses and defenses line up. You see plays unfold before they happen because you know where all 22 guys are at all times. On television, a player with the ball is running downfield and tacklers just sort of fly into the shot. But at the game, especially from Section 6000, Seat 6000 you can see whether a guy is going to break the play or not almost from the moment they get the ball. You can see the line move when a rusher takes the ball and you know if it is going to be a big gain or not.

Then there is the wall. The wall of the Dome is at your back. And nobody cares if you bang the shit out of it. Or at least no one cares if someone cares. This is really something special to a guy like me who loves the spirit of things, who gets caught up in the atoms all around us. I mean the Superdome itself is your noisemaker. This hallowed ground. This scene of so much history. This chamber of a million magic moments…and Katrina. There was a certain strange intimacy to it and I banged the fuck out of that wall before every defensive play and after every score just because I could. I bruised both thumbs (incidentally, the thumbs are the second celebration related injury I have sustained. I sprained or strained or did something to my rotator cuff high-fiving after the 2009 NFC Championship).

Nobody sits down. The people in Section 6000, Seat 6000 stand up the whole game. Because they can. No one can complain because they aren’t obstructing anyone. So why sit when you can stand right? It ups the intensity.

And there is a sense of certain lawlessness up there. Nobody got rowdy or anything but I had the feeling you could get away with a little bit more because any law would have to make a trip just to get up there to sort the thing out. If it wasn’t already sorted out by the time they arrived. I mean, I felt bad making the beer man climb up there. You could probably smoke cigarettes up there if you wanted.

Due to the architecture of the Dome, there are all sorts of little nooks where you can put your beer or cocktail or whatever. It’s very loungy.

And within the micro-environment there is this sub-culture. I know season-ticket holders develop relationships with other ticket-holder in the same section. But this being the Machu-Picchu of the Superdome, it felt a little more special. The group in front of us (who looked to be fellow card carrying members of the National Liquor Lobby) had special songs they sung after a particular player scored or had a big play. And they were singing the Sproles one quite a lot this night. I gathered that you could maybe substitute any song that had the word “roll” or “rolls” in it and substitute “Sproles.” For instance “Sprole With It,” “Sprollin On The River” or “Like a Sprolling Stone.” Though, I never actually confirmed this and was quite spirited. And the fella in this group who seemed to be the leader had one of the most fashionable DIY Saints outfits I have ever seen. He was also quite spirited in all usages of the word.

Many thanks to my host, the “Crunk Crown” sporting Ros for allowing me into this realm.

Credit for original image goes to Times-Pic photographer Mathew Hinton and I will certainly cease and desist if they want me too.

For some reason, when watching this…

I couldn’t help but think of this…

Help me! Help me! The linebackers are chasing me! They almost got me! They almost got me. Gott a score! Ima leap! Ima leap! Touchdown! Time to dunk!

Maybe it’s because I’m reading / watching a lot of Joe Campbell lately but I am looking for the narrative in everything these days. And for me, in sports, the narrative is the best part. The long story arch of a franchise over time, a team’s single season struggles, the changing of leads through a game, a player’s rise or descent from the bench to starter and back.Patron Saint of Lost Causes

And the narrative for the New Orleans Saints through the rest of 2011 is rich indeed.

Think of them as the “soul takers.” They are Santa Muerta. They are Azrael, worshipers of Shiva, the Great Destroyer. Beginning with last night’s demoralizing defeat of the New York Giants, the Saints will now face three more teams in the next four weeks that are hoping for a wildcard birth and a chance at Super Bowl glory.

Any win against any of these teams will be more than just a win. Not only will each victory elevate the Saints a notch in the playoff picture and knock back their opponent but will also give the Saints the half point advantage in a tie due to head-to-head victories.

The Saints can take into these battles the experience of a recent Super Bowl victory but also the shame of last year’s first round playoff defeat, wounded warriors they.

And their foes?

Already vanquished was the last-Manning-standing New York Giants, a team that, when defeated in 2006 and 2009 has been a harbinger of deep playoff runs. The Giants now stand on the outside looking in on the playoff picture and it doesn’t get any easier for them this week vs. Green Bay at home. I’m actually pulling for them. Would love to see them back in the Dome in the first round. If we don’t catch the Niners of course.

Next up, a perennial loser franchise in Detroit that started strong but has been showing weakness as of late with a distraction on the Defensive line perhaps giving Drew Brees plenty of time to throw any number of touchdown passes. The Lions are also on the wrong side of the playoff standings. If they want to make the Playoffs for the first time in a decade or even perhaps win a playoff game for the first time since, I don’t know, I was a VIRGIN … then they’ll need to overcome the Angels of Death that are the Saints on Sunday. Further narrative can be found in this match up via the old “Christians thrown to the Lions” and “former perennial loser vs. current perennial loser” match ups.

Then, as if dashing the hopes of NFC teams weren’t enough, The Saints can blow into the AFC picture and badly damage the Titans hopes of getting in. The playoff picture is a little more competitive over there so any loss is going to hurt those teams. In the NFC it’s looking like two teams out of the Saints, Bears, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants and Lions won’t make it in. In the AFC it’s deeper than that as only two games separate the #1 seed and missing the playoffs with 10 teams still in the hunt. Perhaps the Titans will already be out of it by the time we play them though.

Not in contention but still a great narrative will be the Vikes week after next in Minnesota.

Then, a very good Atlanta team in a vendetta kind of mood following their loss at home earlier this year and a bad record versus Payton / Brees in general. Atlanta faces the Texans this weekend and then the schedule eases up for them with the exception of the Saints at home on Boxing Day. I will personally oversee the destruction!

Of course, the narrative could be that the teams are going to be playing their hearts out against the Saints who seem to have some issue with really staying motivated. Either way, the football’s going to be good!

A final note, if the Saints get the first round game at home it will fall right in with the Sugar Bowl and BCS championship, making it three amazing football events in one week at the Dome.

What you see above would appear at first glance to be a mural of Drew Brees and Deuce McCallister. But upon closer inspection, you will see that it actually been modified (using the time honored painting method of using electrical tape) from a Brees / Reggie Bush Mural. I first noticed this General Meyer Avenue mural back in 2007 and immediately thought the artist had depicted Bush on the heavier side and felt it more resembled McCallister.

Well, the Universe has a way with things sometimes and though the arc was long, it bent toward justice as Reggie was traded and I suppose either the artist or the store owner had such animosity toward Bush that they felt the need to erase his image from the painting. Why there wasn’t a bit of thought put into this before hand I’m not sure.

One has to think the commission of a piece of Saints art is much like a Jersey choice, you want a player or players that are going to maintain their value. Same goes for teams who order them. You don’t want to end up like the Seahawks. A Brees jersey is a safe bet as are an Archie Manning or a Rickey Jackson. I have a Tracey Porter because his heroic role is secure pretty much no matter what.

It’s weird to me that last season there were thousands of Bush and Jeremy Shockey jerseys out on the street but after both players left the team there are still more Shockey jerseys out there. Bush seems like a pariah even though he contributed a lot charitably to the city and has showed more character than Shockey.

I just thought I would dig these images out from when The Chicory was just a wee blog.

Please Saints. Fuck these fuckers up and savor the ass whipping…

Yes, I am talking about Remi Ayodelle who will be purifying himself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka next season…

New Orleans Saints DT Remi Ayodele agrees to terms with Minnesota Vikings

Shall I extol the virtues of Remi?

- First of all, he wears his Super Bowl ring, upside down, on his middle finger!

- He was the flyest, most stylish MFer on the team.

- Remi kept it real by sporting his trademark paint-brush style hair do to the White House! He was like, “You be Obama and I’ll be Remi got it?”

- He once scored a 93-yard pick-6 in a Madden 11 game.

- He is the author of the children’s book, “Tubbo Makes a Touchdown” (H/T to Pants but I can’t find where he mentioned it).

Good luck in Minnesota Remi! Try and hook up with Prince and his crew. I think you’ll fit right in!

Edit: How could I have forgotten the top two best Remi-isms?

According to their tweets…

Shockey is pimping an energy drink …

Just wanted to let yall know that I have teamed up with Cult All Natural Energy Activator and we are having a…

Tracy Porter (Doubles Deuces) is still taking shit about that stiffarm…

RT @S_dot_baby42 tha year of marshawn lynch stiff arm<---and the year he went home yet again w/out a sb ring..(U too) lol #pow

Usama Young is rating films on a zero to four fleur de lis system…

Good action, story was weak. And too many ‘foooo!’s. I give it 2 1/2 fleur de lis RT @dr_sojo: @usama_young28 The A-Team?

Darren Sharper is looking for a condo in New Orleans…

Well today was productive, went condo shopping in nola. So many decisions

Lance Moore is visiting Tampa and mocking Lebron…

@NickMoore_1 and I have decided to take our talents to tampa for the wknd lol

Drew Brees couldn’t believe the season was over and hasn’t been heard from since Jan. 11…

Well Who Dat Nation, just like you I can’t believe that football season is over for us. I am confident that there will be better times ahead
11 Jan

Took me a while but I found the “D on the Dirty Bird” pic and it doesn’t seem so bad…

This entire post is just supplemental commentary to this post over at the Yeller…

There was a commercial a little while back that stated the Saints gave the entire city of New Orleans hope. I’d like to go ahead and clarify that statement as it relates to this one guy…

Ways in which the Saints gave me hope:

I hoped they would no longer be associated with mediocrity.
I hoped they would have a winning season.
I hoped they would make the playoffs.
I hoped they would have home field advantage in the playoffs (for them and because it would bring a lot of tourists and media to the city who may frequent local businesses)
I hoped they would go to the Super Bowl.
I hoped there would be many hours of revelry and camaraderie after their victory.
I hoped for many get-togethers to watch games.
I hoped for the long and healthy careers of the players, coaches and staff.
I hoped for many great highlights to watch on Sunday nights.
I hoped the Super Bowl victory would get the Hyatt by the Superdome redeveloped finally.
I hoped more players would take leadership roles in the community through charitable organizations.
I hoped people who worked at or near the Dome would be very busy and make lots of money and maybe even get raises.

Ways in which the Saints do not give me hope:

The Saints can’t lower my health insurance premiums.
The Saints can’t build levees.
The Siants can’t build schools.
The Saints can’t build hospitals.
The Saints can’t build libraries.
The Saints can’t lower the rents.

Pants says so much here…

American football fans spent 40 years not paying very much attention to the way New Orleans had woven its underperforming football team into its highly ritualized civic and spiritual calendar. New Orleans has a way of elevating or infusing joy into things that other cities may find embarrassing or, worse, take for granted. People think this is a lazy or backward or half-assed place but one thing New Orleans does not do half-assed is love. And New Orleans always loved its football team. For a while last year, people outside of New Orleans were forced to pay some attention to that. And many of those people, as is often the case, just didn’t get it.

Was the Saints Super Bowl victory cathartic? Certainly. But it wasn’t exactly a catharsis for Katrina. First and foremost, it was a catharsis to the many many years of (in good years) mediocrity and (in worse years) ineptitude. We are talking about touchdown play with four laterals and no time left to stay in the playoff hunt negated by a missed extra point. We are talking about never winning a playoff game in the twentieth century. We are talking about a quarterback with his helmet turned backwards stumbling around the field thinking he was blinded by a hit. This franchise broke down Mike Ditka and immortalized Jim Mora Sr. as man with no illusions about the performance of his team.

But I will admit it was a bit more than that. It also a catharsis to the struggles many of us face just living in New Orleans and witnessing the poverty, violence and victimization that exists here. And honestly, those things are what the flood was about in case anyone missed it while uttering, “they deserve it for living there.”

And the Super Bowl celebration was only marginally different than what I experience on most Fat Tuesdays. We are some cathartic motherfuckers. The Super Bowl celebration attached itself to us. We didn’t attach ourselves to it. There is some sort of catharsis on many Saturday and Sunday nights for me honestly.

Jonathon Vilma, Drew Brees, Sean Payton and the other Saints are being amazing community leaders. They are a great group of guys and I thank them for it. But there are many moms and dads out there doing the same.

Back to Pants…

We do what we do. Other people do what they do. Unfortunately what happens often when people who don’t get something are asked to explain that which they do not get is they make something up that they can get. The thing that made the most sense to national media covering the Saints in 2009 was the Katrina meme.

Yes! At the paper we used to call that the “hook to hang it on.” The flood is a good way for America to sum up New Orleans. The story is already there so the journalist has less work to do. The complexities are dismissed. And that’s why Steven Godfrey ended up looking like a jackass. That’s why many people who live in other cities and comment on New Orleans seem like jackasses. They are in such a hurry to assert themselves they ignore the details.

I am actually surprised Godfrey fell for it. I’m thinking if one is in the business of writing commentaries, there should be more critical thought. Everything should be considered. He apparently was critiquing the Saints fanbase for milking Katrina when that really wasn’t a huge part of it. But it’s too complicated (even though it isn’t) for short attention spans.

I never got to read the entirety of his article but if it was taken down by the publisher then he must have failed in his task as a writer somehow. It seems as though he was attempting to justify hating our city because we use Katrina as a way to elevate ourselves. It is amazing that he never considered that his own colleagues perhaps were the ones orchestrating the entire thing. He fucking FELL for it!

I guess when the Lions finally win a Super Bowl they will hang it on the collapse of the auto industry hook rather than the fact the team has been losing for many seasons now and has never made it to the Super Bowl. The Detroit fans need something to rally around and it will be football that gives them hope. Sounds like bullshit doesn’t it? I suppose John Lennon could have wrote that we are doped on religion and sex and football. Only many of us know where football ends and life begins.

I love the Saints. I watch every game. I listen the radio. I holler at my friends about them. I have much love for the defense. I watch replays a little too much. The teams gives me a certain amount of hope. But that hope remains in the realm of football and football related activities. My finances, my health, my marriage, my community – those things remain the same regardless.

And Katrina? I’m not sure if the national media knows this or not but sometimes, I actually go a whole day without even mentioning it. Without even thinking about it. But very rarely do I go a day without showing at least some sort of quiet love for New Orleans.