It’s been a long week. I’ve tried everything to get the pictures out my head...of Vernon Davis ending our season. I’ve called many friends to cry, moan, groan about a season that ended a little too soon. Now, before you get all hard and tough and start yelling, “it’s just a game,” let me school ya’ a little bit!
Let’s go back a week and start from scratch. Saturday night after the Saints heartbreaking 36-32 loss to the 49ers, the Cajun Cannon land I limp through an extended, yet sad and final “Point After show” at Deanie’s. The Who Dat Nation was stunned; too shocked to even drown their sorrows.
Sunday rolls around...I open my email and I’m pelted by words from upset fans. These cries, screams, frustrations span from Monday the 9th all the way to Sunday the 15th. Let’s be honest, people in the Gulf South suffered a lot of disappointment in a short period of time...with both LSU and the Saints losing big games in less than a week’s time. So, brother Todd Menesses and I take to the air waves...hosting “Saints Sunday,” or should I say “Day After Saints Lose the Divisional Playoffs Sunday?” It was therapy time; WWL radio was the couch and we were the doctors.
After shooting down one of over two hundred emails filled with false rumors about LSU football, I began to think...this loss to the 49ers is going to hurt for a long time. And sure enough the pain grew deeper as the day wore on.
As I leave the radio station I realize the season is over...complete, finished, through! Then, I’m hit with flashbacks...from mid-July and all the uncertainty of the NFL Lockout...to the start of Training Camp...the LSU bar brawl...LSU players marched in and out of court...the Saints loss to the Rams...then LSU 13 & 0...Saints get a wild card...everybody’s psyched about the rematch with Saban & the Crimson Tide...and thrilled about the possibility of an NFC championship at home in the dome. Then...reality hits...the season’s ended. It feels so empty. I feel like the fans Bobby, Todd and everybody on WWL have been consoling.
I drive up to my home and start laying on the horn. I want my three wonderful ladies...my wife Richelle and daughters Emma (Rudy) and Jackie (Ju Ju)...to know daddy is home and this time it’s for awhile, because he has no more games this football season. We cozy up on the couch to watch Sunday’s divisional rounds. The Ravens are taking care of the Texans in the AFC. Cool. Now, it’s time for the final game--New York and Green Bay...with the last spot in the title weekend on the line. Not long into the matchup I realize my biggest fear...our biggest fear...is about to come true. The G-Men are getting ready to whoop the Cheese Packers from Wisconsin.
I begin to pace around the house. Thoughts of the 2010 NFC Title Game between the Saints and Vikings won’t leave my mind. I have visions of fans smiling, cheering, getting along. I see businesses thriving...consumers buying...hotels and restaurants full to the brim...cabbies, waiters bartenders happy, happy happy. All due to the success of the Saints.
I was nervous, upset, pacing...thinking...I gots to do sumpin’! I pick up the phone and luckily for me she answered, “Dayum Mama D! Why? Why? Why?” I called Diane Newman, our operations and program director, our mama at work who counsels all of us when we’re aggravated, irritated or broken-hearted like the Saints and LSU fans. I let out a burst of hot air and frustration, because I know the state of Louisiana, the City of New Orleans, businesses large and small, fans young and old have all missed out on a huge pay day. Or should I say pay days.
You see, when folks say they don’t care about football, I can deal with that. But anyone who says they don’t care about money is a fool. Had the Saints prevented that last score by the 49ers...we would be playing Eli Manning and the Giants at home in the Mercedes Benz Super Dome. We’re talking about an economic impact of anywhere from 150 to 300 million dollars! “Dayum Mama D!”
You see when WE lose, WE all lose! Numbers don’t lie. Just look it up. And money is not everything. As fans we all recognize the “feel good factor”...the halo that hangs over New Orleans and Louisiana because OUR team is a champion. And, we all remember that Saints Super Bowl victory parade, almost a million people showed up to cheer on our Black & Gold. Nobody does it better. Nobody is better at feeling good than us.
“Dayum Mama D! Why? Why? Why?” I get off the phone and try and regroup, but the “what ifs” continue. We would have silenced all the naysayers out there, who complained all week long that the Saints can’t win on the road...the Saints can’t play on grass. We would have shut them the hell up forever. The lack of respect the Saints got all season long would not have mattered. When you go to the Super Bowl, even a biased media has to talk good about you! Besides all of that...greatness was at our feet.
I’m not putting the cart before the horse, but you do realize that only a handful of NFL teams have won titles in two out of three seasons? Yes, an economic boost at a time when the country is still struggling...an entire off season of “feeling good” like we did just two years ago...and a chance at another Lombardi trophy...makes this loss a triple threat.
And, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I didn’t stand to gain personally, because I did. The Saints winning instead of losing would have meant more work for me. But it would have meant more commerce for many. We would’ve started 2012 with a tidal wave of economic momentum. Then, imagine riding that wave to Mardi Gras, the Final Four and even all the way to the 2013 Super Bowl right here in New Orleans.
So, later I called the Cajun Cannon to cry to him. Bobby cried to me too. We both know all the long days and weeks of training camp, the exciting hours pre and post game this football season and all the fun times could have lasted another three weeks and well beyond that.
All the homemade t-shirts from the best fan base in the world...the special tailgating dishes that many of you kind folks brought to us on location...all the smiling faces and exuberance would have continued for weeks...months. In the past even crime has gone down when the Saints win. Man, winning sure helps, doesn’t it? We were just that close!
Coach Sean Payton certainly feels a little down. He was asked what was going through his mind last week while Green Bay and NY battled. His answer, “Just disappointment, because you’re still playing through the game you just played...and you’re watching to some degree what happened to Green Bay in regards to the turnovers. You recognize that’s how this league is and that missed opportunity.”
Saints Offensive Guard Carl Nicks also shared his feelings during our final edition of the Saints Coaches Show. “Losing sucks,” said Nicks. “We had a chance to get another game at home and you know we don’t lose at home.”
What Carl said makes the cut a little deeper. The Saints would have been at home in the Benz Super Dome facing a Giants team they’ve dominated. The Saints would have been at home where they average forty-two points per game and their average margin of victory is twenty-three points.
So, as we inch closer to the 2nd weekend after the Saints big loss, and as a fan base we continue to recover together....just be ready for the heartbreak to deepen, when the 49ers host the Giants Sunday. Yes, it’s a feeling that many other franchises wish they could feel. That empty feeling is felt by very few, and over the last six years we’ve been fortunate to be on the best ride in Saints history.
You know it’s kind of strange that losing reminds us about winning. Just think of how many wins the Saints have achieved over the course of Sean Payton’s stay in New Orleans. Yes, Black & Gold fans, the later in the season you lose...the more it hurts.
Actually I cried when we lost. I could not believe we lost that game. And I refuse to watch anybody play right now. I am heart broken. I just hope we can regroup next year! By the way, Big Chief, great article.
Feelin your pain bro
I still cannot believe we were that close and let it get away. Man that hurts and will for a long time. We'll be back but I'll always wonder what could have been cause everyone one knows dang well we would have crushed the G-men again and NO team in the AFC can even attempt to keep up with our offense. Till next season!
Can't get out of my head
I live in NYC. So imagine living in a city of a team you don't root for? I was abused tortured with verbal insults from my co workers who were ruthless to me on Monday morning as if the pain of the loss and giants win wasnt enough. I refused to listen to sports talk here in NYC I waited til 5pm to start the therapy by listening to Bobby and Deke. You guys made it a little easier I thank you. It's lonely as a Saints fan up here in this big city. Texting family back in NOLA helps too but it's gonna take awhile to get over this one. I'm still heartbroken
We could have been in the Super Bowl
When the Giants beat the Vikings, I realized it--we could have been in the Super Bowl. We could have hosted the NFC championship game here on Sunday. We would have beaten the Giants here at home. We could have been in the Super Bowl! I think of the long hot summer and the hurricane season we have to go thru before we get to see the Saints play again. But these past 6 years have been so wonderful, I have great hopes for next year.
Will maybe next year
The 49ers were just better than the Saints that's all people.
We WILL be back!!
Great article, Deke! You expressed it all my brother for the entire Who Dat Nation! The best salve for this devastating loss is to be in the Dome next year hoisting the Lumbardi Trophy after Super Bowl 47!! And we will prevail! Spagnola will make the difference...thanks Coach Payton for a great compliment to your #1 Offense!!!! Tommy in Franklinton
Who dat forever
I come to NOLA via Buffalo than Chicago...I arrived here in 2007 just in time to see the saints lose to the bears in the NFC championship game. By the end of the game I was routing for the saints. This city is infectious and the connection to this team is uncanny. Not to mention the celebrations after ever score. I have been a Who Dat soldier ever since. I watched my favorite team the Buffalo Bills lose 4 straight super bowls.. The last of which left me physically ill for a week... 104 fever for 4 days no kidding...this is a special team we have here. We have the greatest quarterback and offense that has ever walked the earth. I know it hurts now... but man does the future look sweet... super bowl 47 2013 in the dome... saints 52 AFC 0 babe!!!!
Saints WILL be back
Big Chief, I share in your grief......the loss to SF was truly painful. However it was great football...just wish we had tackled Vernon Davis as soon as he got off the line on that fateful last play!!
I have thinking this all year: Always want the Saints to go to the SB, but had we won this year we would have had the "repeat" thing hanging over us, and (just thinking) players like Colston would have made more big plays and it would have cost even more to keep him (God, I hope we don't lose him!)...So now I comfort myself with the thought of the Saints winning it all in da dome next year....can u just imagine that party! We will keep Brees and with him we always have a chance. You and Bobby do a great job.....can't wait till next year! It WILL be worth the wait!
Dayum' Big Chief!!!! Why Why Why?
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
over the last six years weve been fortunate to be on the best ride in Saints history.-----------------------------------------------------------It's awesome to see our Saints Organzation being WINNERS ....Big Chief one thing for sure our Saints will be in the "SuperBowl Hunt" again next year an for years to come.IDT,the 9er's fans can say that,they dont get that 2-14 schedule in 2012..WHO DAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Something to look forward to
Big Chief........Just thinking this morning.....not only do we have the Super Bowl in da DOME next year, but, almost as good.......we get to plan those 49ers in da DOME next year too (who knows, if it works out, maybe twice!!)
When the schedule dates are released, all WHODATS should mark that game on their calendar........SF gonna get what is comin' to them! WHODAT!!
It still hurts for me too
I can't believe the Season went out the way it did. The boys were so high on the clouds when it came to winning this season. I remember constantly canting "two More Wins to go" to myself after Jimmy Graham gave us that last Touchdown on the Second to Last Saints Possession. If you ask me, this loss struck worst than the lost to the Sea Hawks because of the fact Saints were only ONE GAME away from Manning Town! I am still proud of what the boys have accomplished through the season though. They literally played their best football New Orleans has EVER seen them play. But I guess this season was just about the Underdogs this year. First Tebow and the Steelers and now a Team that hasn't won a playoff game in Nine Years getting over us. But now worries, Saints will come back next season with an even rougher and tougher defense and offense . #BelieveDat
A thought of redemption...
I too am bitter beyond belief.... after the LSU no-show game, this was easily the worst..WORST week in my football history. But 2 guys above said it best. "We will be back" is but a cliche'....NO!! NOT NOW!!! not us.. WE'RE PI$$** We now have a new Def Co, and maybe we can avoid getting behind early so much.. We now will have "fire in the belly" like perhaps no other team. WE NOW HAVE a most unique situation in dat we can very well be THE FIRST team in NFL history to host and WIN the SUPERBOWL in our home city..in front of the DANG BEST FANS AND BROADCAST TEAM IN THE COUNTRY!!! Who DAT?! DO DAT!!!_________________
OK, I know it's hard to do, but let's pull for the 49ers to win it all.......and for that matter, I hope they win all their games and come into the DOME next year undefeated.....AND THEN we can put a whippin' on their butts that the will NEVER forget......Oh and then they can continue to have a good season and come back to the DOME and get their butts kicked again in the NFC championship game!!! Just thinkin' about that makes me feel better!
What an exciting team to watch!
Even though we lost I wouldn't trade the Saints for any other team in the NFL. San Fran you can have the 49er's, enjoy watching those field goals fly through the goal posts.
Saints winner of SB 2013
I left my heart in San Fran. Still in deep distress. Will stay that way till we start the new season.
Thats the way the ball bounces.
The 49ers WERE NOT better than the Saints. Just their lucky day when the other team has 5 turnovers. Surely the 49ers realize this when a turnover changes their game for them?
Saints are my passion.
Thank you Deke for such a wonderful emotional article. I felt your pain through every word I read. Here it is Jan 25th and I still have tears in my eyes, and pain in my heart. I am also a female who adores Saints football. I want to thank you and Bobby, the best broadcast team any city could ask for. I want to thank Drew Brees, what a postive diplomat, best QB ever to play the game, wonderful husband, and dad. Thanks to Sean Payton as well. Yes, we will be back next season, stronger than ever. Who Dat for life!