A History Lesson
Mark Hutson writing as a guest collumnist for football outsiders..........................
the Saints have the edge in terms of per year misery. In their 37 year history, the Saints have played seven winning seasons, five .500 seasons, and 25 losing seasons. The Saints have had 18 years out of 37 where, according to the Ho-Hum Theory, they have been unable to say, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Well, this year was an off year, but did you see us last year?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? Half of the time the Saints have been in existence they have had a losing season that couldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t be offset with a winning one to look forward or backward to. Ouch. Peal the band-aid off quickly next time.
Amazingly enough, even though the new Browns have been around for five years and only made the playoffs once, they actually are on pace to make the playoffs more frequently than the Saints. The Saints have only made the playoffs five times in 37 years, winning the division twice. Essentially, in the terms of the playoff success point system laid out above, Saints fans are appeased with a wildcard less than once every five years.
The Fab Five of Failure after December are the Saints, Cardinals, Falcons, Seahawks, and Bengals.
Positive and Negative
Negative: They didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t have a winning record until their 21st year
Positive: Uh, Bourbon Street?
And finally, we see how often the teams we had made the playoffs, and how they did once they got there. The Saints seemed to strictly adhere to the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s a moral victoryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? meal plan.
And The Loser Is...
The Saints! With two first places and a third place, the Aints have wrestled with futility throughout their entire existence, consistently rising up to take the brass ring of ineptitude. All that skipping of hard work seems to have paid off. While the Falcons and Cardinals were close on their tail, the Saints' stats donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t lie, they just lie down.
As a long suffering Saints fan since birth, I agree.
Sophandros | 05/11/2004 - 11:23 AM
I moved to Tampa in 1977. I was surprised to learn they'd had a team since 1976. Somehow the news never reached rural North Carolina.
Skip ahead to 1978. Tampa was 0-25 or thereabouts. They went to New Orleans. My first introduction to the Saints. The fans with the bags on their heads. The coolest signs. "You'll only beat us by 40." "We'll score a touchdown this week." I abandoned my newfound hometown loyalty long enough to fall in love with those Aints fans. Oh, but Tampa won. First time ever.
Now when my USFL heroes, led by coach Jim Mora, turned the Aints briefly into winners, I was elated.
But, yep, worst team of all time is New Orleans, even tho I love 'em.
Good article. I think the Saints win the contest, hands down. Only the Cardinals since 1976 can compete with them. A few horrific footnotes to the Saints history:
In their first regular season game in francise history in 1967, they returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Talk about high expectations. They lost that game to the Rams, and sunk into oblivion for the next ten years.
In 1979, they had a competitive season, and with three weeks to go, were tied with the Rams for first place in the NFC West at 7-6. Their offense was first rate, with Archie Manning at QB, a strong offensive line, Chuck Muncie at running back, and Wes Chandler at wide receiver. That week, they played the Raiders at home on Monday night, and led 35-14 in the third quarter. The Saints fans were going nuts, realizing their day had finally arrived, after a decade of despair. The Raiders then roared back and scored 28 unanswered points to win the game 42-35, a loss from which they wouldn't recover. The Rams won the division, and went on to the Super Bowl.
If that ending were not cruel enough, expectations were dashed the next year as the team went 1-15, and fans started wearing paper bags over their heads.
In 1983, the Saints stood at 8-7 on the last weekend of the season, when they hosted the Rams, who were also 8-7. The winner would be a wild card team, the loser was out. Fans went crazy in the Superdome when the Saints scored a come-from-behind touchdown in the final minute to lead 24-23. However, the Rams kicked a field goal as time expired to win the game and take the final playoff spot.
Four years after that, the Saints look like they're for real. They go 12-3 in the strike season, have a dominating defense and home field in the first round against the 8-7 Vikings. The Saints score first to go up 7-0, then fall far behind and end up losing 40-10.
After a few more years of solid teams that aren't quite good enough to make the playoffs (they were in the same division with San Francisco and Los Angeles), they break through in 1991 and win their first division title. They host a decidedly mediocre Falcons team in the first round, and lead at halftime, but end up losing, 27-20.
The next year, they improve to 12-4, but can only qualify for a wild card berth, because the 49ers are 14-2. They host the Eagles, lead 17-7 in the third quarter, and seem to be moving the ball at will as they get down to about the Eagles 20 yard line. The Eagles look like they're on the verge of getting blown out. But on a pivotal third down, Reggie White sacks Bobby Hebert, the Saints have to settle for field goal, and the Eagles rally to score 26 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win the game easily, 36-20.
Most everyone knows the rest of the sordid story. They sink into mediocrity for the next decade, until they finally win the division in 2000, and beat the defending champion Rams in the first round of the playoffs. Although they lose to the Vikings the next week, expectations are high for the next year.
...Only to be dashed in successive seasons, as they race out to 7-5 and 9-4 starts, only to lose their last four and three games of the year, respectively. Then they miss the extra point on the last play of the game against Jacksonville last year to lose the game.
The track record is beyond torture. It's stark, raving insanity. How many critical home games can one francise lose? How many times can fans of a team get their hopes up, only to have them perversely shattered time and again?
I agree with the other posters who believe the big game losses by teams like the Bills and Vikings can't compare with the heartbreak of constantly falling short of respectability. Even the Bucs had it relatively easy. For ten years or so, they sucked, and were so bad their fans never got their hopes up. Then, in 1997 they were good, and have been good ever since, capped by their Super Bowl win two years ago. Compared to the frustration of the Saints, their history has been pretty low stress.
The Saints are like a drug. I know that they aren't good for me but I start jonesing for them. I blame my father for this because we moved to New Orleans when I was a teenager and you know those teenagers; they just want to try new things. Now I am hooked and I can never get off of the Saints. Oh I try other teams but I keep coming back to the Saints. Damn them!
The one other variable that I considered to put in for this was the "crippling, devastating, Jim please pass the kool-aid" type losses, but Tim L has made me realize that is pretty much uneccesary with the Saints history. Man, that sucks.
I'm a transplanted Packers fan who has the good luck of living in New Orleans... as I grew up the Packers became decent, went to a couple Super Bowls and won one, and of course they are in my blood no matter what.
I got to NOLA just in time for the Saints improbable 10-6 + playoff victory season. While Packers fans are the best in the world, hands down, Aints fans sure do have a lot of charm... since then, the Saints have absolutely choked away two seasons, looked ridiculous, heartless, and silly doing it, and basically have been embarassing to the city. What I love about the fans is their inability to be too serious about it. Of course you have the handful of crazed maniacs and sports radio hosts screaming for blood, but generally, its assumed the Saints suck, and we cheer for them when they do well, laugh it off when they inevitably lose. A stark contrast from Packerland, but enjoyable nonetheless
Tim L., thanks for the Saints history lesson, that was interesting. So what do you think about the owner, front office and staff of the Saints? Bumbling? Average? Decent?
Since Tom Benson bought the team, the Saints have moved out of the perennial loser category, and have become pretty consistent contenders. That may be coincidence, but my sense is the improvement is due to the owner. Their drafts, from what I recall, have been good but not superior over that time. I'm not that impressed with their head coaches, excepting maybe Jim Mora. It's hard to say, because I'm not that knowledgeable about who wields power within the organization and what their influence is.
A History Lesson
A History Lesson
and i, i\'m glad i did\'nt know
the way it all would end
the way it would go
our lives are better left to chance
i coulda miss the pain
but i\'da had to miss
the, dance..........garth brooks
the real question is ....................
would i trade places with the vikings......
been there how many times? 4?
i wanna be there once, and win.........
so, bye, bye, miss american pie..........
drove my chevy to levi, and i saw the superdome
them good ole boys were rooting for the saints
saying this will be the yr. that we win...........swamee
A History Lesson
Similar to the Saints - we go round and round but never get anywhere ...... ;)
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