You might not think it, but this blogging thing takes quite a lot of time to get used to. Especially for someone who has always had strong opinions: how can you tell, ahead of time, that once the season starts opinions tend to shrink to insignificance compared to the reality of the games each week?
In 2009, I strongly believed the Saints were going to win the Super Bowl. And they did…but not because of me. Last year, I was just as convinced that it was Our Year…but it wasn’t, and not because I didn’t believe hard enough. It wasn’t our year because an inept call by a defensive coordinator left Vernon Davis in single coverage by a safety with 40 seconds left in a game that should have already been won. I had nothing to do with it.
So here it is, the third week into the 2012 season, with the Saints winless and reeling, and I’m stuck at my keyboard with nothing to say.
That’s not to say I have no opinions—I always have opinions, trust me—but that those opinions don’t count for diddly-poo compared to whatever the Saints actually do on Sunday. Fanhood is maybe the strangest relation in the human world: you pledge so much of your future happiness as collateral in a process over which you have no control. If the Saints lose against the Chiefs, that would pretty much make them officially the worst team in the NFL, this season’s version of the laughingstock Colts. But if they win…if they win…
Follow along with me here: the Saints defeat Kansas City, while the Bucs and Falcons are busy losing to Dallas and San Diego. That leaves the 1-2 Saints only a single game out of the division lead, with five division games left—two of them against the first-place Falcons. In other words: despite everything that has happened so far, we would still control our own destiny.
Is it possible? Hell yeah, it’s possible. In fact, it’s likely. Do you really think the Saints are going to lay another egg in the Dome against a vastly inferior opponent? Do you really think the Bucs are capable of playing against the team that handily defeated the team that just beat the Bucs? And do you really think the Falcons are that good?
I’ll even give you that last one: let’s say the Falcons win. That puts them two games up on the Saints. All we have to do to erase that edge completely is beat them twice. Not easy…but doable. And more to the point: it means we control things. Just win, baby, and we play at home in the postseason.
This season is not over by a long shot, and nothing is out of reach. “14-2, bitches!” sounds like a homer’s crack dream, but it’s eminently possible. Not likely, but possible.
Now, Ralph Marlbrough doesn’t agree with me, apparently. For him, 13-3 is as good as it’s going to get.
In the NFL eventually a team starts believing what they are and not what they were. The Saints are at that point. They believe they are a Super Bowl team and elite but if they fall to 0-3 those thoughts will be pushed aside by reality.
I have an awful feeling about this game and the season in general. Until I see something different consider me Dr. Doom.
So…I want to get all theological on y’all for a moment (this team is the Saints, after all). It’s pretty well-known, by Christians and non-Christians alike, that what lies at the core of that religion is faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith,” according to St. Paul. You hear it everywhere: those who have faith go to heaven, those who have none go spend eternity with Boudreaux. But most people, it seems, tend to gloss over what is meant by “faith.” It comes from the Latin fides, as in Semper fidelis, “Always faithful.” What it means, really, is faithfulness: the original Greek means more than simple assurance…it also implies trust and commitment. Choosing your side, and standing by it through thick and thin, come what may.
So I can picture Ralph on the floor of the arena, tormented by images of hopeless suckitude, as the Emperor Nero calls upon him to renounce his faith in Breesus. Yet, even though he has no confidence in the future, Ralph is not the kind of man to go whoring after the great god Romo simply because it looks as thought the wheel may have turned. (In fact, Ralph thinks the Bucs are going to win.) And so he cries from the depth of his soul, in his faithful passion, “Go shove your fiddle up your ass, fucktard!” At which point Nero has him thrown to wolves, and he goes down in history as St. Ralph the Hopeless. Which is an order of magnitude better than “Dr. Doom.”
So don’t anyone give up yet. And even if the Saints lose, and even if they continue to lose, by your faith shall ye be saved from being Cowboys fans. Hang in there.
Thus endeth the lesson.
On the Jukebox
I admit, this isn’t the usual sort of offering on the jukebox in this joint. Not that it will do you any harm to hear a classic hymn played as a waltz on an accordion.