As it is blatantly obvious to any reader of this blog, the Saints are my favorite NFL team. I have grown up with them, suffered through terrible seasons, and celebrated the Super Bowl victory in 2009 with thousands of my best friends in the French Quarter. I have been embarrassed this offseason, but optimistic towards this season, and I greatly anticipate the upcoming football season, where my team will hopefully prove the skeptics wrong and become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their hometown.
That being said, I’m not watching tonight’s Hall of Fame game.
I have a number of excuses for this, the primary one being that I currently don’t have any basic or cable TV channels in my home. But that’s a flimsy excuse, and if you asked me why I won’t put on my Lance Moore jersey, head on over to the local bar, and hijack our twitter account to post shamelessly biased tweets about Kevin Kolb’s ugly face, I would have had trouble coming up with a suitable answer.
Until now. Today, over the course of a conversation with my friend Matt, I realized why I’m not excited about tonight’s game.
It’s going to be three hours of Saints condemnation. It won’t matter what we see on the field, because obviously the results don’t matter. Drew Brees will throw a pass, and someone will catch it. Mark Ingram will probably have a decent run. The Saints first unit might get into the end zone once or twice, but there’s a 99% that the announcers won’t talk about any of that. Instead, they’ll be talking about the bounty program.
I’ve done a decent job of keeping my thoughts of the bounty program off of this blog. This is because I’m obviously biased, and I don’t want it to taint any part of this site. Ben and I are devoted fans of our teams, but I think it’s more important that we’re football fans, and we want to talk about all things football related. So rather than sit here and turn this into the Fuck Roger Goodell Happy Hour, I’ve tried to make fun of Tim Tebow instead (mostly because it’s easy).
But the fact of the matter is I hate hearing anything about the bounty scandal. As I said earlier, it’s embarrassing to my team. And even though I feel the NFL has made a fool of itself as well, shouting that to the heavens and taking it personally only makes me look like a biased fanatic. It’s important to me not to look like a biased fanatic, especially if the result isn’t funny. But that doesn’t mean I have to sit and hear announcers talk about the Saints’ sins ad nauseum.
This talk will surely roll over into the regular season. It’s impossible not to notice that Sean Payton won’t be roaming the sidelines, that Mickey Loomis won’t be in the stands, that Jonathan Vilma won’t be on the field missing important tackles. I can’t expect this talk to just go away. But at least during the regular season, Drew Brees will be able to respond to it, and his response will matter. He can eliminate the bite in the word “incorrigible” with a 22 yard strikes to Jimmy Graham. Curtis Lofton can sack the quarterback seconds after the announcer says something about “pay-for-performance.” These responses will help the Saints win, and as every talking head says, winning cures all ills.
But the Saints can’t win tonight. Even if they destroy the Cardinals, even if every unit delivers a skilled beatdown that will make Larry Fitzgerald blush, there will be no win that counts for my boys in Black and Gold tonight. So I won’t sit through three hours of TMZ style reporting just to see Drew Brees play for one series in a game that doesn’t matter.
I look forward to writing snarky comments about every team this season, even my favorite one. And at some point, I’m sure I will make a bounty joke that part of me will hate. But at least it will be during the season, when Drew Brees can throw five touchdowns, then comment on my joke, “U mad bro?” And I surely won’t be mad.