Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Have A Little Faith
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints were at the epicenter of the NFL universe on Monday night. And oh, what a night.
Anybody who watched that game, watched Brees carve up the Patriots defense, watched how energized the building was, had to feel pretty good about how far the franchise has come from the post Katrina days.
There was doubt about whether the Saints could survive. There was doubt about whether it was fiscally prudent to fix the Superdome. There was doubt about who would willingly come to New Orleans as a free agent.
All it took, was a little faith.
Why did Brees come to a city still flattened by a hurricane, instead of a warm weather city like Miami with a “glamour” coach like Nick Saban?
"Obviously there are great coaches on both teams, but I just felt that energy in New Orleans," Brees said back then. "From the very beginning there was a genuine feeling that they wanted me there. They believe I can come back from this shoulder injury and lead them to a championship. They were as confident as I am, and that meant a lot."
His agent echoed the sentiment. Faith.
"Drew was sufficiently impressed with the organization and the head coach in New Orleans," said Brees' agent, Tom Condon, referring to new Saints coach Sean Payton. "New Orleans was also very comfortable with the risk-reward, based on his rehabilitation from the injury, and Miami didn't have that same level of comfort, so New Orleans made a lot of sense for us."
Faith in sports, is difficult to have. Fans who have too much of it, are branded as fools. But that’s what faith requires. Belief in something you cannot see.
Anybody can believe in the sun coming up in the East. To believe that a franchise can rebound so spectacularly is much harder. But there it was, in full HD glory on MNF.
The city of New Orleans has miles and miles to go, before it is ever what it once was. That day may never come. But it is clear that the entire region lives for that team. The pictures of oil rig workers with their Saints jerseys were perfect.
The Hornets. Eh. You can have ‘em. This is a Saints town, and a Saints state. Period.
“In other N.F.L. cities, it’s different,” said Steve Gleason, a Saints defensive back. “The players and the fans feel totally separate. Here, it’s more like a college. There is a real emotional connection. But if you’re not poised, that emotion can overcome you.”
Even Payton said that the Saints' poor showing in 2005 did not deter him from seeking the job.
"It's hard to look at their talent now compared to their record with all of the circumstances and things that they've gone through," Payton said at the time. "It's a team that's certainly shown that they can be competitive and I would look forward to that challenge."
I am a Redskin fan, whose faith has been tested mightily. But I will try to have some. Faith that someday Dan Snyder will figure out this ownership thing, and back the hell up and hire really good people to do their thing.