Scoot: New Orleans and Seattle: the Cities and the New Rivalry
“It isn’t a playoff game – it just feels like one!” That’s the way tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Saints and the Seahawks is being promoted!
The 9-2 Saints are in second place behind the first-place 10-1 Seahawks in the NFC and tonight’s game could determine home-field advantage for the playoffs.
Not only does tonight’s game feel like a playoff game, but it’s interesting that ever since the Seahawks eliminated the Saints from the playoffs a couple of years ago, this match-up has become an unexpected and heated rivalry.
Seattle and New Orleans are as different as the 2,101 miles that separate the two cities – with one exception. Seattle is nicknamed the Emerald City. It is pristine and clean and sits on Puget Sound and is bordered by several lakes. The evergreen trees reach high into the sky and since freezes are rare the landscape is thick with breathtaking flowers and foliage. The temperatures are cool for 10 months of the year, but it is cloudy and rainy throughout the year. Seattle is nestled among mountains to the West, East, North and South and on clear days the sight of snow-capped Mt. Rainer provides a majestic backdrop to the South. Elliot Bay and Puget Sound are a deep emerald green. Seattle is a beautiful city with a rich history and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to live and work there.
New Orleans, in many ways, is the opposite of Seattle and I don’t mean that in a negative way. New Orleans is authentic and frivolous and even though there are a few areas of Seattle where there is a party atmosphere, nothing there compares to the unbridled enthusiasm of being in the French Quarter or the unique and amazing history of our city. But it is the collection of people in New Orleans – our culture – that distinguishes us from Seattle or any other city in America. And while Seattle has a bounty of fresh seafood due to its proximity to the water, it’s just not the same as the seasoned seafood we all enjoy in New Orleans. I loved Seattle, but I am happy to be back home and on the air in New Orleans.
But the one thing New Orleans and Seattle share most is their fanatical, rabid football fans! Every NFL city has crazy, dedicated fans, but having lived in both cities, as well as other NFL cities, I can tell you from first-hand experience that Saints fans and Seahawks fans share a uniquely devout and fanatical dedication to their teams!
Tonight in Seattle, Seahawks fans are going to try to break an NFL record that you would think would be owned by Saints fans. Tonight, Seahawks fans are going to try to set a crowd noise record by hitting 137 decibels – and that’s in an outdoor stadium! Recently, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome I watched the decibel meter hit 118 decibels, which is the level of an extremely loud rock concert. IF Seahawks fans break the NFL record for crowd noise, regardless of the outcome of the game – the WHO DAT Nation must be on a mission to break it and set a new record in the dome!
Every year at the beginning of the season, there are those Saints fans who proclaim, “We’re going to the Super Bowl this year!” After the Saints beat the Falcons in the season-opener and then went on to beat the Bucs and the Cardinals, some fans and many in the media started comparing this year’s Saints to the 2009 Saints that won the Super Bowl. I was called an “ass” by one listener and called a “non-believer” by a few, for saying it was too soon talk about the Saints and the Super Bowl. I was quick to point out that any fan who called me an “ass” or a “non-believer” for making the observation that it was too early to talk about going to the Super Bowl would also have to say the same things to Sean Payton and Drew Brees – who both rejected playoff and Super Bowl talk at that early point in the season. I was in good company!
However, I think it’s time to talk about the Saints and the playoffs. Though there are a number of big games left, including the Carolina Panthers next Sunday night in the nationally televised game from the dome, this 2013 Saints team has proven it is worthy of playoff expectations.
I am not a “football expert,” but I do understand the game and the psychology of human motivation. Statistics are never as important as the intangible factor of human motivation. Sports history is rich with conquest stories of teams with lesser talent beating teams with superior talent and the only explanation is the factor of human motivation.
The Saints have dealt with their share of serious injuries to key players on offense and defense. Yet, this team has shown a desire to overcome any and all challenges and rise to the occasion to win. I have never been a Saints fan who blindly says “The Saints are going to win!” I always want the Saints to win, but I have always tried to be honest and realistic with about a game. There are so many factors that go into any victory that I have no idea how tonight’s game will end, but over the past few weeks I have seen this game on the horizon and felt like the Saints would beat Seattle in Seattle. I also think this Saints team will beat Carolina in next Sunday’s nationally televised game from New Orleans. This year’s Saints are a special team – not only because of talent – but because of the element of human motivation.
When my predictions are accurate I have always placed a great deal of consideration on desire and motivation. Seattle has desire and motivation and they will have the kind of home field advantage the Saints enjoy in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but the talent and the emotion of the Saints right now will be the difference and the Saints will overcome yet another huge challenge on their way to the playoffs by beating the Seahawks in Seattle and by winning on the road in a very hostile environment – which will silence the critics who label the Saints a “dome team.”
I heard a story that during the run to the Super Bowl in 2009, when the Saints played a hot Dolphins team in Miami, Sean Payton used the opportunity to tell the team - something to the effect of - get used to what it feels like to play here, because we will be back when we play here in the Super Bowl. That was the year the Saints beat the Colts and won the Super Bowl in Miami. If the weather conditions are not perfect, I wonder if Coach Payton will use the moment to tell the Saints they need to embrace playing in an outdoor stadium where the weather can be a factor, because the Super Bowl will be in an open stadium in New Jersey next year!
Enjoy the game tonight – this is another very special Saints team!