When I was a little girl, the New Orleans Saints weren’t such a hot team. They were bad. Abominable even. As a born and bred New Orleans girl, that was my team. Paper bags, “The Ain’ts,” you name it, I was there for them. Manning is a hallowed name in my home. But, come playoff and (definitely) Super Bowl time, I had to…explore other options. My options were Bret Favre (Gulf Coast boy) and Dan Marino (amazing by any measure). And I still love those guys.* Among the best to EVER do it.
But I’ll let you in on a secret:
I’m a bigger fan of I TOTALLY stan for Andrew Christopher Brees.
Graduate of Purdue University, formerly of the San Diego Chargers, currently the bearer of jersey Number 9 of the New Orleans Saints. He is a badass. More than that, he’s just a nice guy. People can’t say nice enough things about Drew. He and his family have become New Orleans citizens. I will get in arguments over him like he’s my play cousin. Without him, we wouldn’t have won the 44th Super Bowl. He is GOLDEN in the book of any Saints fan. If he never did another great thing, we’d love him. And then last night this happened:
It couldn’t have happened to a nicer, or more deserving guy. Deserving because he is driven in practice and doesn’t see this as HIS game or even HIS record. He simply wants to do his best. It’s the most elementary concept, one that most parents and teachers instill in us as quickly as possible. He does this for his fans and his teammates. He motivates and pulls the best out of eery one of those guys on the field. His teammates’ reaction to breaking the record tells you everything you need to know about how they feel about him. So when I read this article by Pete Prisco, I was more than a little annoyed.
The old “running up the score” bit. Drew Brees is not that guy. Nobody LIKES watching their team lose, much less be eviscerated on a nationally televised game. I get that. I spent many a game watching the Saints get stomped out, and every game sucked. The year the Colts won the Super Bowl, we played them in the opener. They beat us. Badly. It sucked. We LOST our opening game this season to the only man standing in the way of Drew Brees and the MVP trophy. But the onus is upon MY team to play better. Not the other team to make them look good. Drew Brees doesn’t play for the Atlanta Falcons (it hurts to type their name sans snarky misnomer), or Pete Prisco. Drew doesn’t even play for his own ego. In fact, Prisco’s article lets you know exactly who Drew plays for:
“I kind of got emotional before the game,” Brees said. “There was a kid as I was signing autographs who said, ‘I’m here to see you break the record.’ It made me think of when I was a kid.”
And none of that matters. Let’s discuss the fact that the other guys on the field, the ones NOT wearing New Orleans Saints’ uniforms are also professional football players. They play defense. It is their job to DEFEND the end zone. When you do not defend your end zone, the other team will score on you. It is not the other team’s job to make you feel good about it. If you’re tired of him scoring on you, stop him. Stop Sproles. Stop Graham. Stop this guy:
But to complain about running up the score? Ridiculous.
And I would be remiss if I did not share this tidbit: The Atlanta Falcons played the Jacksonville Jaguars on the 15th day of December, 2011 in the year of our Lord, and scored SEVEN times in the first three quarters, before the Jaguars even sniffed, not only the end zone, but the scoreboard. Feel free to verify.
But what about this unconscionable show of disrespect:
This comes a year after the Saints danced on the Falcons logo at the Georgia Dome after beating Atlanta last year with one player [Remi Ayodele] from that team that night saying, “I pissed on the Falcons logo.”
“That’s just who they are,” the Falcons player said. “We’ll see them down the road. We won’t forget any of it.”
Our boys don’t forget either. They don’t forget that Atlanta is not only a division rival, but a division rival with a player who likes to make disparaging Katrina comments shortly before facing the Saints. Sound familiar, Roddy White?
So, there will be no tears for the Falcons, their coaching staff, or their belief that they have earned some sort of extra consideration when their defense decides to phone it in. Play the game. Every drive counts. Every inch counts. If more Falcons had the drive of a Michael Turner or a Tony Gonzales, maybe they’d be a bigger threat. But the school yard taunts mean NOTHING if you’re not putting in the work to back it up. Until they do as a unit, the Falcons will ALWAYS come up short in the league.
In fact, I’ll just say the thing I’ve been erased three times in this post: “The Atlanta who? Fuck those guys.”
* Even now, I have a certain amount of sympathy for Favre, who found it so hard to leave the game he loved, and how he went out. What would I do if I was told I had to stop writing?