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Scoot's Blog

Tune in to "The Scoot Show" for lively, candid discussions about news, politics and culture with WWL's "Radical Moderate!"

Weeknights 8pm-Midnight

Twitter: @scootwwl
Email: scoot@wwl.com
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Posts from December 2013


Scoot's Blog: 2014 - Offers a New Beginning!
It is my hope that 2013 proves to be a turning point for America.  The collective human nature of a society will instinctively push back from the edges of extremism – it is society’s survival instinct.  The extremes of 2013 provide the perfect opportunity a much-needed change of attitudes in America.

In 2013, the racial divide in America reached new heights.  The debate over who can use the N-word exploded.  The trial and not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman became a barometer of racial tension in this country.  When a case involving a young black male and a man of Hispanic descent exploded into a “black/white” issue, it was obvious many Americans were looking for a reason to make race part of a national debate; and the news media was all too willing to fuel the flames of hate.

The Zimmerman trial also ignited the debate over gun control, and the support of and criticism of Zimmerman’s actions as a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch cop touched the issue of individuals circumventing law enforcement to enforce civility.

In 2013, rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court did not strike a blow against the legalization of same-sex marriage - much to the disappointment of many Americans, who were hoping and praying that the High Court would support their specific moral perspective.  The rulings further inspired a debate about morality in America as the number of states legalizing same-sex marriage grew significantly.

A new pope took the helm of the Catholic Church and he immediately sent shock waves through not only the Catholics community, but throughout the Christian world by touching issues that his predecessors dare not address – from acceptance of homosexual priests to the possibility that atheists could have a path to Heaven.  But many around the world applauded the inclusive tone of Pope Francis.

This was the year that the recreational use and possession of marijuana became legal in two states and the Obama Administration announced a change of policy concerning federal laws prohibiting pot.  Previously stating that marijuana would remain illegal on the federal level regardless of what decisions were made on a state level, the Administration changed its position and announced that the federal government would respect the state laws that legalized pot for medical and recreational use and the debate over legalizing marijuana reached new heights, in 2013.

Though bullying has always been a reality in the equation of human relations, this year bullying rose to a level that made it seem as if it was suddenly a new problem for teenagers.  The news media responded to the new-founded fears about bullying by linking it to teen suicides. 

While it seemed there was an obvious connection between many teen suicides and bullying, the media largely failed to consider other factors that might have led to the decision to end a young life.  This was one of many opportunities I had to point out the motives of the news media.  The news media is driven by the desire to attract the largest possible audience and creating and feeding hysteria and panic are guaranteed to attract the attention of a mass audience and lead to a continuing debate, which benefits the news media.

The year of 2013 will be remembered as the year that ideological differences between conservatives and liberals spun out of control.  In an effort to stop implementation of the Affordable Care Act – derogatorily named Obamacare – a Republican-led crusade resulted in a partial shutdown of the federal government. During the shutdown, the intensity of political hate among politicians and the American people reached a peak.  The deepening divide between the right and the left may have been best exemplified by conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter, who said that any Republicans who attacked fellow members of the Republican Party over the government shutdown should “just become Democrats” – a suggestion that one must believe everything their party stands for in order to claim to be a member of that party.

Locally, the story about the Causeway Commission’s consideration of a $28 million project to raise the guard rail on the southbound bridge following a third accident that resulted in a vehicle going over the railing into the lake fit perfectly into the trend of diminished respect for personal accountability. Representatives of the Causeway Commission raised the issue that there are many more high-profile vehicles on the roads today that were not on the road when the original southbound bridge was built.  But it was also mentioned that the most recent accident involved a young driver who “was in the right lane – drifted slowly to the left lane, impacted the left guard rail, then veered to the right to hit the right guard rail and almost immediately took a hard left, almost a 90-degree left, departed, went over the rail.”  That description of the actions of the driver prior to the accident would suggest that personal responsibility may have been a bigger consideration than the height of the guard rail.
The prominent themes that stand out from the controversies of 2013 include - the escalating level of hate-inspired debate, a news media that promotes hysteria and the continuing loss of personal accountability.

If it is important to the survival of humanity to sense when to retreat from the edge of extremes, 2013 could prove to be that moment when we ease the hate and learn to accept the speech and actions of others that we disapprove of - as long as their beliefs pose no direct threat to innocent bystanders in life.  The beginning of the New Year should also be the moment when we admit that we have not yet had a truly honest conversation about race relations and this will take harsh honesty on both sides of the debate. 

The single factor that has had the greatest impact on the faltering of American society in recent decades has been the continuing demise of personal accountability and many of the controversies of 2013 have shown us that American society has actually celebrated the loss of accepting accountability for personal actions.  Blaming someone or something else for individual mistakes is a sure way to improve self-esteem.

If we are to make the New Year of 2014 better, then we must learn from the faults of the year that’s ending.
The 1998 hit by the group Subsonic contains lyrics that we should all embrace as we welcome the New Year of 2014 – “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

As individuals, as communities and as a nation – let us acknowledge the past as we embark on this new beginning – 2014!

Happy New Year!
 
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Scoot's Blog: Duck Dynasty Controversy...Who Won?
Duck Dynasty dad Phil Robertson expressed his honest opinion that homosexuality is a sin and that he doesn’t understand how any man would prefer the anatomy of a man to the anatomy of a woman.  A&E, the network that carries one of the most popular cable TV shows, indefinitely suspended Robertson as a way of denouncing his opinions.  That caused an immediate controversy to erupt from both sides of the debate.  Many condemned Robertson for comments they believed were archaic and derogatory, but many praised his courage to speak his mind in an age controlled by political correctness.

After days of the heated debate over Robertson’s comments about homosexuality, it was obvious that the controversy would not go away and A&E announced it was reinstating Phil Robertson and the popular A&E show, Duck Dynasty, would go on!

So, who won?  Everyone!  Phil Robertson won because he is seen as a hero to those who reject the growing acceptance of homosexual lifestyles and the increasing support in same-sex marriage in America.  Duck Dynasty won because the controversy created the type of nationwide buzz that usually leads to an increase in viewership.  The number of people who will rally to support Duck Dynasty will greatly exceed those who will boycott the show.  Those who condemn Robertson’s opinions are not the people who were watching Duck Dynasty in the first place - so their boycott is essentially meaningless.

And A&E won, too!  The fans of Duck Dynasty and those who view Phil Robertson as a champion of free speech may bring additional support to the show.  The fans of Duck Dynasty who considered A&E’s suspension of Robertson an act of violating his precious First Amendment rights will continue to support the show, thus vicariously supporting A&E – so A&E wins with those who actually condemned the decision to suspend Robertson.
The lesson we learn from this is simple and obvious!  Controversy sells!  Controversy promotes the media and promotes the target of the controversy and it is the audience that makes everyone a winner.  

While there are a few controversies that do not always yield winners on both sides, more often controversy mobilizes both sides of a debate and that inspires loyalty and generates new interest.  So, why not be controversial?  Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Madonna, FOX News, MSNBC and countless other performers and media outlets have and will continue to reap the benefits of controversy.  And who gets the sole credit for supporting controversy – the audience.

Interestingly, in the controversy surrounding Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty, it is the audience that will blame either A&E, GQ magazine, Phil Robertson or the media for blowing things out of proportion, but it is the audience that fueled the controversy to the point where everyone is a winner!

As consumers of all aspect of the media, understand that you – the audience – play a major role in inspiring the creation of and the perpetuation of controversies.
And since controversies sell – why not introduce as many as possible?
 
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Scoot's Blog: Saints Prayer

In anticipation of the Saints regular season finale against the Bucs, I thought I'd say a little prayer for the Black and Gold:

Our Saints who art in Heaven
Hallowed it by thy game
Thy kickoff come – thy win be done
On Sunday as it was in September
Give us this win – our weekly win
And forgive us our incomplete passes
As we forgive those who complete passes against us
And lead us not into the offseason
But deliver us to the NFC playoffs!
Amen!

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Scoot Blog: Duck Dynasty Controversy - A Lesson in 1st Amendment Rights
The controversy over comments made by Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson about gays and blacks is continuing to attract national media attention.  Sarah Palin, Jesse Jackson and Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne are among the recent people to speak out about the controversy.

This controversy is proving to be a classic lesson in First Amendment rights and also clearly exposes hypocrisy in America.  In an interview with GQ magazine, Robertson, who is a born-again Christian, condemned homosexuality as a sin and compared homosexual behavior to bestiality. In medical terms that were considered by many to be graphic, Robertson said he didn't understand why anyone would prefer the anatomy of a man to the anatomy of a woman.  Admittedly, as a heterosexual, that is something I don't understand, but that's not for me to judge.

Robertson also said that blacks were happy before the civil rights movement.  The comments on both of these sensitive issues are still being discussed in the media and in everyday conversations.  The media's interest in keeping the controversy alive reveals a lot about the motivation and mentality of the media.

The media thrives on controversies, which create stories with a long life adding to the media's insatiable appetite for compelling content.  The ongoing debates about same-sex marriage and racism in America are hot-button issues drawing instinctive opinions from most Americans.  These are issues that divide Americans and through division controversies are born.

There seems to be some confusion about First Amendment rights in America.  We are free to say anything we want to say, but with that freedom, as with every freedom, there comes responsibility.  I haven't heard anyone argue that Phil Robertson did not have the right to say what he said – the debate centers around the repercussions of his comments.

After Robertson's comments about gays and blacks were released, A&E, the network that carries the highly popular show, Duck Dynasty, suspended Robertson indefinitely.  I agree with Phil Robertson's right to say what he said, but I also agree with A&E's right to suspend, or fire, someone whose words or actions reflect poorly on the network.  A&E may have a right to take action against Robertson, but I don't think that action was warranted.

Phil Robertson's opinions should come as no surprise to anyone and while I disagree with his attitude toward gays and blacks, I completely support his right to make those feelings known.  I cannot speak for Robertson, but there are many people who have clauses in their contracts that hold them accountable for their words and actions that are deemed inappropriate and may damage the image of the company's brand.  As a radio talk show host, I have the right to say whatever I want to say, but I also know that there may be consequences for certain things I have the right to say.

It's fair to point out that many of those who are vehemently supporting the opinions of Phil Robertson are conservatives and it is fair to make the general observation that conservatives have the image of being more pro-business than liberals.  To be pro-business would be to support a company's discretion when it comes to hiring and firing.  If you do not think A&E has the right to suspend Phil Robertson for the comments he made, then I assume you would oppose any business' right to deny employment to anyone who is simply expressing their true opinions.

Should a business not be allowed to fire an employee who shows up at work covered with tattoos?  Aren't tattoos a form of expression?  Would you oppose a business' right to fire an employee for using their freedom of speech to express thoughts that you consider offensive to your customers?

Hypocrisy runs rampart in American society, yet those who are the biggest hypocrites fail to recognize their own hypocrisy.  You can't condemn A&E for suspending Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty for comments the network considered damaging to its image, and then support another business for not hiring or firing an employee for their freedom of expression it considered detrimental to the image of the company.  Acknowledging our own hypocritical tendencies may be a challenge and something we would like to ignore, but it's a challenge we should constantly present to ourselves.

Ultra conservative Sarah Palin tweeted this comment following the initial criticism of Robertson's comments about gays: "Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants' hatin' and talking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch are talking on all of us."  I agree with Palin – free speech is an endangered species – but conservatives have done as much as liberals to kill free speech in America.

Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne has entered the controversy by saying that he will use his influence to make sure that Duck Dynasty remains in production in the state – whether on A&E or another network – claiming that the show is important to the state's tourism industry.

Other networks have expressed an interest in Duck Dynasty.  Merrill Sport, owner of the Christian-affiliated Hunt Channel said that "A&E is too scripted" and his network allows personalities to "flow."  But would that network support on-air talent who publically spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage?

The Pursuit Channel told TMZ that it does not "censor our personalities."  Again, would they allow an on-air personality to express opinions that are opposite of Phil Robertson's opinions?  You can't have it both ways and proclaim to support free speech.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has jumped into the controversy by making, what I think, is a ridiculous statement. Jackson told ABC News,

"These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago,"

"At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law. Robertson's statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.'"

Comparing Phil Robertson's comment about blacks to the bus driver who ordered Rosa Parks to the back of the bus is designed to fuel racial tension, which is the lifeblood of Jackson's effort to maintain prominence in America.

Free speech does not mean the freedom to say only things you agree with – free speech also protects the words and comments you strongly disagree with.  It's never a challenge to support agreeable free speech – we are all challenged to support the free speech we strongly disagree with.













 
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Scoot Blog: Have You Lost the True Meaning of Christmas?
Every year the pace of the world seems to get more hectic and every year we are reminded to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas.  The massive crowds, traffic congestion, the planning, expectations and the tension all challenge our ability to experience what this time of year is supposed to mean to us all.

The first real step to appreciating the true meaning of Christmas is to admit that it can be a challenge.  We know in our hearts and in our minds what this time of year should mean to us, but the chaos of the season can prevent us from practicing the actions that draw us to its true meaning.

Obviously, for many Americans, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, but a new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, along with Religion News Service, shows that a growing number of Americans consider Christmas more of a commercial holiday than a religious holiday.   According to the poll, 1 out of 4 Americans (26%) describe Christmas as a "cultural holiday" rather than a "religious holiday."

Any trend that Christmas is becoming more secular parallels a trend that America is becoming more secular with fewer people going to church and aligning themselves with organized religion.  Before you blame the government, liberals or the media for these trends, consider how much individual Americans have contributed to the exodus from religion.  I have written about the perceived war on Christmas and while I recognize that times have changed, any real war on Christmas is taking place without our homes and our hearts.  Rather than accept responsibility for our own failings, it's convenient and comforting to blame someone else – that way we are not at fault and that feels good, doesn't it?

If the true meaning of Christmas and all this season offers to teach us about people and ourselves, lives in our hearts and minds, then there is nothing the government, liberals or the media have done, or can do, to take Christmas away from us.  (See Scoot Blog: "Is there really a war on Christmas?")

For millions of American children, Christmas is a time to put in an order for the things they want and expect and those orders are usually filled.  But for millions of other American children, Christmas is a day of hoping for only the necessities of life.  If the millions of children who will not experience the joy of receiving gifts from Santa were not aware that millions who will wake up to find their presents under a tree, life wouldn't be as difficult for the children and the parents who do not have the means to make Christmas dreams come true.

There will always be inequities in the world and if you can bless your family with wonderful presents you should not feel guilty.  But if you are in that position, it should be important to you to make certain that your children and the adults in your life never take for grant it the gifts they receive at Christmas.

If Christmas has become a day when your kids, or anyone in your family or close to you, think of Christmas as a day when they win the lottery – then it's up to you to teach them the true meaning of Christmas.  Spoiled children and adults who expect a certain level of gifts at Christmastime are being taught that they are entitled to something.  Ironically, a great portion of Americans who criticize families at other levels of society for teaching their children that they are entitled to certain things are actually teaching their children the exact mentality they are condemning.

The sad truth is that maybe some people have gotten so caught up over the years in the competition of giving and receiving that they have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas – and some may never have been taught what this season means.

Everyone defines the true meaning of Christmas on a personal level, but a good place to start for understanding what we all should think about this time of year is what Jesus and Santa both represent – giving, being selfless, extending compassion and good will, inspiring morals (be nice – not naughty) and expecting nothing in return for our good deeds.

I went a few years in my life recently when I was not in a position to give presents of any kind to anyone – even those closest to me - and that was a very difficult time.  But I learned that I could still give myself – my friendship, my love, my support and all the things that money can't buy.  I don't think I ever went through this time of year without appreciating the true meaning of Christmas, but stripped of that ability to submit to the commercial temptations of Christmas, I now have a better understanding of what this time of year should mean beyond the expense and stress of gift-giving.

Even if you haven't been through times when you couldn't be part of the more commercial aspect of Christmas, you can still pause to make sure that your participation in the gift-giving and receiving ritual of Christmas does not replace the important meaning of this reflective time of year.  If the true meaning of Christmas has gotten lost in our society – it is because of the actions of individuals – not the government or outside forces.  And it is individuals who have the power to spread the joy and true meaning of the Christmas season.

Merry Christmas,

Scoot

WWL
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Scoot: Rick Springfield's "An Affair of the Heart" proves music connects
Rick Springfield personifies what it means to journey through life – never losing who you were and only learning more about who you have become.  The music video for his first hit, “Jessie’s Girl” helped define the new medium of MTV when it hit the air in 1981.  The string of hits that followed launched him into super stardom through a decade when visual appearance became as important as the music.  Rick Springfield combined a naughty innocence with a power pop sound that made girls want to be with him - and guys want to be him!

The award-winning documentary, “An Affair of the Heart,” not only reveals who Rick Springfield is today, but it also transports you back to the time you were first introduced to him through his music videos.  The documentary captures perhaps the most endearing quality of Rick Springfield – his ability to touch and connect with his fans.

The movie focuses on a few fans who have all emotionally bonded with Rick for different reasons.  Their stories about his music, his concerts and personal moments with him reveal a rock star, who has taken time to appreciate what he meant to his fans – and in return – what his fans have meant to him.

The stories of the fans that represent the millions who love Rick and relate to him are brilliantly woven through concert and backstage footage of Rick.  JoAnn and Sue are two women, who met through their shared appreciation of Rick Springfield.  Both are married with families and they have all become BFFs!  While their husbands seem to understand their wives’ infatuation with Rick, one of the husbands does admit to a degree of jealousy.  Nonetheless, he is supportive of his wife traveling often with her friend to attend Rick Springfield concerts in various cities.  Though devoted to their families, I clearly got the feeling that JoAnn and Sue have their passionate fantasies about being with Rick!

The endearing story of Jill and Steve is about a couple that met online; the common bond that sparked a relationship was their appreciation of Rick Springfield.  On the Rick Springfield & Friends Cruise to the Caribbean, Rick called Jill to the stage, where Steve got down on one knee and proposed to her in front of the audience.  A relationship sparked by their connection with Rick Springfield led to their marriage.


 

An interfaith minister, who was gang raped, tells how her connection with Rick Springfield really began with the release of the "shock/denial/anger/acceptance" album in 2004.  After her horrific ordeal, she had a hard time getting angry at the men who assaulted her and that prohibited her healing.  She says it was the anger expressed on that album that gave her permission to get angry at the men who raped her…and that was the beginning of her healing process.

Dustin is a teenager, who Rick met when he was a very young boy.  Dustin, raised by a single father, was enamored with Rick and at the age of 2 he was using a toilet plunger as a guitar while dancing around the living room singing along with the video for "Jessie's Girl."  Dustin has become an amazing young guitar player and often joins Rick on stage and performs songs with him at concerts.

It is the touching story of Laurie that best exemplifies the sensitive and caring side of Rick Springfield, which contradicts his status as a rock icon.  Laurie was born with heart defects and endured pain and surgeries throughout her life.  Often with tears in her eyes, she talks about how the music of Rick Springfield fed her young spirit and helped inspire her to live another day.  At a fan "meet & greet," Laurie shared her story with Rick and how his music had meant so much to her during times when life was not a given.  Rick was deeply moved by her story and the two remain friends today.

I have interviewed countless rock stars throughout my career and my time with Rick Springfield was a refreshing surprise from what I have often encountered in those situations.  He was personal and intelligent, but what stood out most to me was his reflective and philosophical nature.  The documentary "An Affair of the Heart" does a superb job of bringing you into a one-on-one relationship with Rick.  By the end of the movie, you feel like you have spent time with Rick Springfield.

Rick's relationship with his father was one that further explains his sensitive and caring side.  Sitting at the piano bar on the cruise singing "My Father's Chair," a song he wrote about his father who is now passed away, Rick shows us his heart and touches the hearts of everyone who loves their father or has wonderful memories of their father.

Rick Springfield didn't want to write an autobiography.  It seems he didn't want to write a book about himself – he wanted to write a book about his life as a way of helping people who may have similar experiences with depression, thoughts of suicide, chronic infidelity and other human flaws.  The book's title, "Late, Late at Night," suggests a time when we are most alone with thoughts and most honest with ourselves.  Rick created a character in the book he named "the darkness," which represents the dark, negative things he has dealt with in his life.  

The journey of Rick Springfield is a journey that everyone can relate too.  It's a story that proves we can mature, but we never have to get old.  The movie and his concerts, take you on a trip to a fun past when music and music videos reflected a happier time in America.  Rick Springfield, today, teaches us to appreciate the past while recognizing who and what we have become.

Here is Rick's perspective on the past and today: "Because the world is getting scarier and scarier and people are feeling more and more unsafe – and then when I go back to a time or at least have that, you know, little box that they can look in – like a picture – it makes you feel good and safe and strong and true again."

"An Affair of the Heart" appropriately concludes with a montage of Rick performing "Jessie's Girl" at various concerts.  The movie ends on an upbeat, frivolous note, which is only part of who Rick Springfield is today.  But as the movie closes, you think back on the depth of his character, which was hidden behind the persona of a rock star.

Rick admits his inspiration for continuing to perform is founded in his desire to connect with people.  It's rare that a rock star reaches the sky and yet remains firmly grounded.  "I'm one of those performers that loves to look people in the eye, when I'm playing - it's about connections – and it used to be about me," said Rick.  And that is the essence of Rick Springfield.  "An Affair of the Heart" is more than a title of a revealing documentary – it defines the relationship Rick Springfield has with his fans – and himself!

Scoot

Host of "The Scoot Show" weeknights 8 to midnight on WWL-AM-FM  New Orleans, LA
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Scoot: Can you be a true Saints fan and be critical of the Saints?
During the Saints humiliating loss to the St. Louis Rams Sunday, I was tweeting and posting comments on my Facebook posts.  A few of the responses questioned the loyalty of any Saints fan who was critical of the Saints, implying that true believers in the Saints would replace their criticism with undying faith that the Saints will get to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl.

This raises the question of whether or not you can call yourself a true Saints fan and be critical of the Saints after an embarrassing performance.  I find the question to be absurd, yet there are countless Saints fans who say anyone who criticizes the Saints – even after a poor performance – is not really a true Saints fan.

The word “fan” is an abbreviation for fanatic, but the behavior that is labeled fanatic does not assume one must be void of intelligent analysis as to why a team wins or loses.  Blind faith and enthusiasm on the part of the fans suggest an unwillingness to accept reality. 

Sunday against the Rams in St. Louis, the Saints’ performance was so pitiful that failure to be critical would essentially amount to acceptance of mediocrity.  The Saints are 10-4 and still in control of their destiny in the NFC South, and that is a great position to be in at this point in the season.  However, Saints fans should be disappointed that the team did not perform up to expectations.  The loss on Monday Night Football to the Seahawks was embarrassing and another example of the Saints failing to take their show on the road, but Seattle is now one of the elite teams in the NFL and playing like a team that can win the Super Bowl.  There is really no excuse for the Saints performing the way they did Sunday against the Rams – a team that is eliminated from the playoffs and playing with a back-up quarterback.  And to further accentuate the Saints’ poor performance was the fact that the Saints were playing – not only a less talented team – but they were playing to clinch a playoff berth.
The fact that the Saints are 10-4 is positive, but what the team and the fans should not settle for is failing to play up to potential.  New Orleans has changed dramatically since Katrina, but as a native I have been aware of a degree of complacency in this city.  Maybe our relaxed and party mentality encourages us to be satisfied with just being good, but this city has been on a mission to be great. Under the leadership of Sean Payton and Drew Brees, the Saints have reflected the desire to be great, which is becoming ingrained in the spirit of this city.  But Sunday, the Saints failed and fans would be doing the team a disservice of they were not openly critical as a way of expecting their best in every game.

So what went wrong?  Why did the Saints play so poorly in a game that had significant playoff implications?  Was it the players?  Was it the coaching? The answer is “yes” – it was both.  Football is not just about match-ups, records and statistics. Football is also about emotion and psychology.  I like to use sports as a metaphor for life and what happened in St. Louis on Sunday is very human, but it is something that peak performers overcome.
The Saints have a recent history of not playing well against the Rams in St. Louis. Two years ago, a winless Rams team embarrassed the Saints with a victory.  If a team, or an individual, enters any game, competition, sales presentation or anything in life with even a subconscious sense of a challenge based on the past, it doesn’t take much for those subconscious thoughts to overtake the conscious part of the brain. 

On the Saints first offensive play, Brees was pressured and made a bad decision to throw the ball, which was intercepted by the Rams.  That moment could have conjured up those subconscious thoughts of how they have had trouble beating the Rams under current leadership.  The Rams took over – threw a pass and the Saints defense put on one of the most pathetic and amateurish displays of trying to tackle a receiver in recent memory. 
Those two plays – one on offense and one on defense - set the tone for the entire game. It was as if they could hear the voices in their heads saying, “You can’t beat the Rams.”  The Saints appeared to psyche themselves out of being competitive. Granted, that happens to humans and the Saints are comprised of humans and to that degree the loss to the Rams is forgivable.  But what the team (and all of us) can learn is to block out those discouraging voices when they pop into our heads. 

The New England Patriots lost to the Miami Dolphins Sunday in Miami and find themselves at 10-4, like the Saints.  Comparing the Saints to the other teams that failed Sunday may be comforting, but is that comfort a way of excusing an inadequate performance?

I hope the Saints are critical enough of themselves to learn from the moment.  It’s discouraging to think that we hoped they would have learned that lesson after the loss to Seattle.  But the Saints came back after a short week and dominated a talented Carolina team that was riding an 8-game winning streak.

The Saints are a team that is proving the critics right about their inability to play well on the road and this week they travel to Carolina to play the Panthers, who will be at home with the motivation of seeking revenge for their embarrassing loss to the Saints on Sunday Night Football.

I tweeted out before the game Sunday against the Rams that it was a must-win for the Saints – not in terms of playoff math, but emotionally it was a must-win. Most of us were very disappointed the Saints were unable to refocus after the first half and overcome what seemed to be a psychological juggernaut.  Where was the leadership of Payton and Brees on the field when the Saints were out of sync?

As disappointing as the loss was to the Rams, the Saints still control their destiny. But their destiny will be short-lived if they can’t get the voices out of their heads when things start out badly on the road.  Let’s hope the outcome is different this weekend against Carolina.

Can you be a true Saints fan and be critical of the Saints – yes!  You can love your children, but it’s important to let them know when they fail to do their best.  

I also tweeted this out during the game – “If I have a really good show on WWL – I don’t assume that my next show will be good – so I apply myself just as much.”

That’s a lesson we can all remember.

 
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