Most of the national media and most of the nation are predicting the Seahawks to beat the Saints in the playoff game Saturday in Seattle. Those predictions are based on the Saints’ embarrassing loss to the Seahawks back on December 2, along with Saints injuries and the high-caliber performance of the Seahawks this season.
Every year, there are anointed favorites in the NFL and this year the Seattle Seahawks seem to be one of them. It is also fair to say that with the exception of the 2009-2010 season when the Saints won the Super Bowl and represented the comeback of the beloved city of New Orleans following Katrina, the Saints have not been one of the more respected teams in the NFL. Respect for the Saints has changed since Sean Payton and Drew Brees have been running the team, but we often find ourselves feeling like “it’s us against the world.”
The city of New Orleans is loved as a party destination and there seems to be little doubt that this city if the best place to host a Super Bowl. But there is also a national temptation to disregard New Orleans; our crime rate, litter, corruption and the image of a city that places more priority on partying than on trying to be effectively run all led to bashing New Orleans at every opportunity.
I am proud to be from New Orleans and I am also fortunate to have worked and lived in great cities around the country. It is with complete and honest acknowledgement of the reality of our problems that I can still recognize the rebirth of this great city after Katrina. I find it interesting that when there are countless shootings in Chicago over a weekend, absent is the national outcry about what a terrible city Chicago is, and how people should not travel to Chicago. For whatever reason, New Orleans seems to fight for respect in most categories, and that includes our football team.
The Seahawks are an excellent team and their 13-3 record speaks for itself; and it is possible that the Seahawks will beat us on Saturday. There does seem to be a consensus that Saturday’s playoff game will not be a repeat of the 34-7 blowout on December 2, but the overwhelming lack of respect for the Saints is still worth noting.
A perfect example of that lack of respect for the Saints against the Seahawks is the movie trailer-like video that NFL.com produced to promote the game. The video uses the theme of “Oh the horror!” as it features audio and video that give the impression that the Saints and Coach Payton are scared of the Seahawks. Other NFL.com videos don't have a negative view of a team like the one about the Saints/Seahawks game does.
A recent Scoot Blog, which is still getting a lot of action at WWL.com is titled, “Why the Saints should beat the Seahawks in Seattle.” In the blog I write about how the stage appears set for the Saints to take advantage of the emotion factor, which I think is in their favor. But the Saints will have to work for this win.
On a personal level, there have been many times in my career when I have been the underdog and I actually thrive on that. There is always more pressure on being the favorite and the pressure is clearly on the Seahawks as one of the anointed teams that many expect to be in the Super Bowl this year.
I also like the way Sean Payton prepares the Saints, mentally as well as physically. If the Saints get off the a strong start in the game, that will force the Seahawks feel the pressure to live up to the high expectations of their fans, the media and the sports pundits across the country predicting a Seahawks win.
Individuals and teams all have subconscious voices in their heads. Those voices have the ability to produce the questioning of one’s ability. Intellectually, we try to silence those voices, but often those voices are louder than our conscious rationality.
Looking back on the first game in Seattle last month, I think the Saints started to hear those subconscious voices at the beginning of game telling them they “can’t win on the road in bad weather,” “Seattle always beats you at home” and the Seahawks surprisingly beat them in a playoff game in Seattle in 2011.
Last Saturday night in Philadelphia, the Saints made the Eagles hear the haunting voices that they "don’t go far in the playoffs" and they "were 4-4 in front of their home crowd." There was more pressure on the Eagles than on the Saints.
In this playoff game Saturday in Seattle, there is more pressure on the Seahawks than on the Saints and that is a great state of mind for the Saints to be in! Imagine if the Saints win a second playoff game on the road in adverse weather? I can’t wait to hear the national media and those noisy Seahawks’ fan after that game!
I enjoyed your blog& I am so Happy to see someone be so positive about New Orleans And OUR Saints. They will win in Seattleand all of the people who have put such a negative energy over the Saints will once again be proven wrong. I truly believe so much of it is mental and I think it is disgraceful for Saints fans to speak negatively about OUR Saints. Thank you & keep up the good work. (Go get 'em Black And Gold)