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Preseason Ruins It For Fans !

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Scooter Hobbs column: NFL preseason spoils it all for Saints fans (9/2) PRINT THIS STORY Click for a printer-friendly version, then use your browser's print function. By SCOOTER HOBBS AMERICAN PRESS Never mind what the NFL's so-called "preseason" did to ...

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Old 09-02-2003, 09:04 AM   #1
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Preseason Ruins It For Fans !

Scooter Hobbs column: NFL preseason spoils it all for Saints fans (9/2)
Click for a printer-friendly version, then use your browser's print function.

Never mind what the NFL's so-called "preseason" did to Michael Vick's leg and Chad Pennington's wrist.

You've heard before what a shame it is that every year the league's most valuable limbs and tendons will be sacrificed for nothing more than greed.

Old news. And injuries could happen anywhere. A Steeler linebacker got shot in the caboose while innocently hanging outside a sports bar over the weekend.

I have another gripe.

The NFL, in its lust to turn fans upside down and shake out all the remaining spare change, is destroying something far more essential to its fan base than healthy quarterbacks.

What about the hope of a fresh start?

What about the Saints?

That's what the preseason is supposed to be for. To build up expectations.

It's about optimism. It's about knowing deep down that offseason moves were divinely inspired and that the draft class is a future Pro Bowl portrait.

It's about finally being on the eve of that ever-elusive "next year" because Ashley Ambrose is back and Aaron Brooks' elbow is fit as a fiddle and the Deuce is looser than ever.

Instead — Bam —those illusions have been dashed again.

Folded, bent and mutilated by a senseless preseason.

Oh, the humanity.

Losing strong safety Mel Mitchell might be the least of the Saints' preseason regrets.

Remember, these are not "exhibitions" — the NFL tells you so when it prints full face value on the tickets and requires their purchase as part of any season ticket package.

Major League Baseball doesn't get much right these days, but they've got spring training down pat.

They play an "exhibition" season, labeled as such, with a corresponding adjustment in ticket prices.

Whatever cut rate you're paying, it's with the clear and expressed understanding that it's only to be a part of a gentle, lazy rite of spring.

It's all up front, above board.

Even if you catch a high-price ace on the mound, you know he's probably working on a new pitch, not really worrying about getting anybody out.

Guys probably get fined for homers that send those affairs into extra innings.

When they break camp and head north, the regular season starts like nothing down there — good or bad — ever happened.

It's understood.

As for football, yeah, we know these "games" mean nothing. Or we should, at least. We also know that, although they mean nada to any NFL team, Saints coach Jim Haslett cares even less about them than most of his compadres. He seems ready to fine his players if they break a sweat.

Thus, a Saints' fan can only hold out hope that Haslett didn't really want to score any touchdowns in the preseason.

Even the eternal optimist must now wonder if the Saints defense could slow down a garden slug.

It didn't have to be this way.

If not for the preseason games, the Saints' regular season would be starting anew this week with unbridled optimism — just like all other NFL teams'.

For over a month, you'd have been hearing breathless reports from training camp about how plain it was to even the naked eye to see how much more speed that leaky defense had. Or that it was now evident that last year's late-season meltdown really was due mostly to Brooks' ailing wing (which is, if anything, now even stronger than before).

There would even be whispered rumors of a logical backup for Deuce McAllister if, God forbid, he should pull a hamstring or worse.

Instead ... well, go ahead. Just name one thing you've seen from any of the Saints' four preseason games that makes you think they might win even one game this year.

Time's up.

Yeah, they did beat the Jets, but even that seemed to be a random accident.

OK, maybe it's all a ploy. Maybe the Saints are playing opossum.

But if you're looking for any optimism from this year's training camp, this is the best I can do:

Only once in Haslett's four years have the Saints won more than one exhibition game.

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E-mail Sports Editor Scooter Hobbs

Preseason don't mean squat ! It's just a way for teams to look at what they have,which they could do in closed scrimmage games against other teams.This however wouldn't bring revenue to the owners.Sometimes I think they care more about their pocketbooks than what is best for the teams.

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