Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Saints Nation: The Saints Will Have to Earn Their Respect in these Playoffs

As Saints fans we know this story all to well: The Saints Get No Respect. Granted, historically, it's a pretty deserved reality. The Saints have only won 2 playoff games in their history and they've only gotten as far as the NFC Championship once, in 2006. We're used to all the negative national talk that surrounds the Saints, and their 3 game losing streak to end the season has done nothing to help common perception going into the playoffs. Going into this game against the Cardinals, you'd think the game has already been handed to Arizona. Why even show up to play our HOME GAME based on the certainty that they will beat us, right? Heck, even some of our local media lacks any shred of optimism going into this matchup.

Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN had the following quotes:

"We can see New Orleans has problems."
"Anybody can win in the Superdome. And you can bet the Cardinals are thinking exactly that as they prepare for this game."
"The Cowboys still seem like the best team in the NFC these days. Meanwhile, the Cardinals just beat the team that appeared capable of making a long postseason run. So it appears Dallas owner Jerry Jones might want to start making party plans, because his team is going to be playing host to Arizona for the right to go to the Super Bowl."

The ESPN Power Rankings Dropped the Saints to 5th Overall. We're listed below the Cowboys and Vikings despite the NFC top seed.

Clark Judge of CBS Sports: "Green Bay ranked second in overall defense and fifth against the pass, yet surrendered 51 points to Arizona. Now along comes New Orleans, which ranked 25th overall and 26th against the pass. How in the world are the Saints going to stop a blitzkrieg the Packers could not?"

John DeShazier of the Times-Picayune: "Arizona Cardinals still best in NFC until proven otherwise"

And that's just a sample size. It seems like Arizona can go ahead and just assume they're headed to the NFC Championship because everyone already has them winning this game. Even if, "by some miracle", the Saints are able to beat the Cardinals, you can bet your life savings that the Saints will be underdogs the rest of the way. Regardless of who wins that Cowboys-Vikings game, do any of you think there's many people out there that will pick the Saints in that matchup? The Cowboys are the national media's darling, and the Vikings have Brett Favre. Then, if "by some miracle" we win that game which no one will give us a chance in, we'll likely have to face the Chargers or Colts. Again, I'm sure it will be said the Saints have no chance.

But that's ok, because the Saints had no chance against the Jets, Giants, and Patriots this season. The Saints had no chance of coming back against the Dolphins. They had no chance of winning the Redskins game after it got out of hand. Similarly, we have no chance in the playoffs, so I guess it's time to just go home and not bother playing the game? I bet the national media would like that. 

Perhpas I'm in denial, and I'm definitely biased, but the Saints EARNED their right to be the top NFC seed. They EARNED their right to play the NFC playoffs in the Superdome as long as they keep winning. Hands down, they are currently the team to beat in the NFC playoffs in my opinion. If you ask me, the Saints have everyone right where they want them. This Saints team has played best when they get no respect, and they'll be getting disrespected for the remainder of the playoffs. The Saints will have to earn their respect in these games and prove all these naysayers wrong. I'm fine with a little chalkboard material. We don't need the national media, or even the local media, to be believers. We just need the Who Dat Nation to come alive, pull together and support our boys through what is to date their best chance and getting to a SuperBowl. Are you ready to believe?