You’re All Wrong
8 Posted on May 26th, 2013 by Himself
Wondering who should be on "Mt. Saintsmore"? How about honoring the team's founding fathers, the men without whose vision there wouldn't even be any Saints?
If you knew me, you’d know that I tend to take a dim view of democracy. While, at the same time, having a near reverence for tradition. That might seem strange, considering that both of them are variants of the idea that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” The difference is that, with tradition, that voice sounds like your grandfather saying “In my day…” Whereas with democracy, that voice is your kid brother screaming because mom won’t buy him some gum: “But I WANT IT!”
Why do I bring this up? Because, this being the offseason, polls are now the thing. The latest is from Pro Football Talk, which has decided that every NFL team needs its own “Mt. Rushmore.” What better way to generate fan interest and increase page views at a time when nothing much is happening, right? How democratic! How newsworthy! Two cheers for us!
And Canal Street Chronicles liked the idea so much that they stole it. No, really, there’s a confession: “Such a great idea, in fact, that I’m stealing it. [Saintsational, as I'll always remember him]” And, truthfully, it is a great idea. Okay, I’m mainly pissed that I didn’t think of it myself. I could have a big blogging job with NBC and everything that goes with it: astronomical rent, great restaurants, a feeling of living under siege. Actually, that kinda sounds like New Orleans, so I’ll throw in: no concealed carry permit. There, that’s the difference.
But then, they made the mistake of going all democratic. Have these guys taken a look at Washington lately? Are they still laboring under the delusion that democracy engenders good decisions? What’s the common thread among these names: Barack Obama, John McCain, Jim Clyburn, and Michael Bloomberg? Answer: they were all, no, not elected…re-elected. None of us is as dumb as all of us.
Compare that with the voice of tradition. New Orleans is nothing if not traditional: Mardi Gras, St. Expedite, Creole food, corrupt politicians: we revere whatever is of long standing. Generally, despite the recent influx of liberals and hedonists, New Orleans is a very tradition-minded place, and it’s not difficult to get people to take an historical view of things.
And that brings us to Mt. Saintsmore, and a case of monolithic historical blindness. Who were the greatest Saints of all time? Well, do you mean players? Drew Brees, of course; Rickey Jackson and Willie Roaf, certainly. After that it’s a matter of sentiment: Deuce? Archie? Thunderfoot?
Then there’s coaches and front office personnel. Payton’s got to be there, right? And I suppose Mickey Loomis, too. And, for all his baggage, what with (allegedly) trying to scuttle out of town and all, Tom Benson has overseen the only real success the Saints have ever had.
And leave us not forget those bit players who kept us amused through so many, many bad years. First among equals is Buddy Diliberto.
So, there’s a short list for you that isn’t much different from the ones offered at PFT and CSC. And they’re all so shortsighted they couldn’t piss cleanly without binoculars. You want to commemorate greatness? Here’s who should be up on that mountain:
Dave Dixon. Pete Rozelle. Hale Boggs. And Paul Tagliabue.
Tagliabue because he’s the Lincoln of the Saints: he preserved our team, and set us free from the horror of watching the San Antonio Saints win Super Bowl XVIX. And that’s enough.
And Dixon, Rozelle, and Boggs because they’re the Founding Fathers of New Orleans football, without whom there would perhaps not be an NFL franchise in New Orleans. Or, at least, it wouldn’t be the Saints: maybe we would have finally gotten an expansion franchise in 1975 and named them the Crawfish or something equally stupid. (“Go mighty Crawfish! Backwards!”)
The Saints were the brainchild of Dave Dixon. He pushed the idea when everyone else believed it was impossible, and he took the opportunity of the NFL merger to enlist the aid of New Orleans’ democratically-elected congressman, Hale Boggs, to indulge in a classic Louisiana political strategy (extortion) and finesse approval from NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. In other words: “Pete, you give us a franchise, or my committee holds up approval for the league merger.” Rozelle, who was no idiot, and knew a win-win when he saw one, happily approved. And on All Saints Day 1966, the Saints declared themselves independent of any connection between competence and public affection.
(Please note that I don’t include John Mecom, even though he was the first owner and the man who gave us black and gold. I don’t do so because he could have been anyone…the deal was going down no matter whose name was on the ownership papers. Besides, he was a dildo as an owner.)
How in the world can you forget this, Saints fans? Is it a lack of historical perspective, or ingratitude, or were you just drinking heavily? Oh yeah, I guess that does explain it. Well, now that I’ve brought it up, I’m sure you’ll slap your foreheads and exclaim “Of course! Himself is right again! Maybe we should have five faces up there!”
Wow. You’re too kind. But I think four is enough (for now). And so the next time you imagine Mt. Saintsmore, instead of picturing your Sunday idols, think about the Founding Fathers, the men who made and saved the Saints. Then again, maybe not: they’re all white males, and three of them are dead white males, and what could be more paternalistic or racist or sexist? Or homophobic. No, that doesn’t make sense, but I included it in a fit of democracy.