Archive for New Orleans Saints

There Goes The Superbowl

Posted in NFL with tags , , , on April 22, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

Damn it, damn it, damn it!  Drew Brees was voted to be on the cover of Madden 2011.  People scoff at the talk of a curse but you can’t ignore the overwhelming evidence that supports it.  It’s hard enough to make the playoffs the season following the Super Bowl but now the Saints have some serious voodoo on their franchise player.  Drew Brees has always defied the odds and he accomplished the impossible by winning a Super Bowl in New Orleans.  So if anyone can break the curse it’s Drew Brees.  Although me saying that doesn’t make me feel any better.


Barry Sanders: The Ringless Champion

Posted in NFL with tags , , on February 11, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

The talk surrounding Super Bowl XLIV is beginning to simmer down.  The storybook ending for the New Orleans Saints culminated in the most watched Super Bowl of all-time.  Somewhere between the Saints saving New Orleans and the Mardi Gras style Super Bowl victory parade, I began to reflect on great players who lost the Super Bowl thus never reaching the sport’s pinnacle.  Worse than that are the men who never even had an opportunity to compete for a NFL championship.  No one’s trophy denied career makes my heart sink more than Barry Sanders.

Sanders was the most phenomenal physical specimen ever, I mean ever, to grace the gridiron.  Sanders is without a doubt the best running back ever to play the game.  It doesn’t matter who comes up in the conversation.  Whether it’s Jim Brown, Walter Payton or Eric Dickerson because they are beneath the mighty Barry Sanders.  Sanders was a perfect storm of  Brown’s power running, Payton’s elusiveness and Dickerson’s speed.  Also further separating him from the rest of the pack were his Michael Jackson moves that humiliated would-be tacklers.  No play was ever dead with Sanders.  His stops, spins and slides were video game-esque and a thing of beauty.  With such awe-inspiring talent it’s no wonder he was appreciated by all, including his opponents.  Many players have said that the one player they would pay to watch would be Barry Sanders.  He was the Michael Jordan of NFL running backs.

Every running back in history can attribute some percentage of his stats to his teams.  Whether it the benefit of a great offensive line or playing with a pass potent offense that opposing defenses had to account for, every back had someone to help them along the way.  There was no bigger crime in the NFL’s history than Barry Sanders tenure in Detroit. There he earned every inch he gained all by himself in his storied 10 year career. When the sorry Lions came up on a team’s schedule the game plan was simple:  throw all 11 members of the defense at Sanders.  The Lions couldn’t and wouldn’t throw the ball.  There was no offensive line to create holes and it left Sanders to make his own openings.  The coaching staff was poignant and the GM was Matt Millen.  ‘Nuff said with the latter.  Had Sanders landed in Dallas, with that O-Line, then Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin would have been expendable.

He never showboated and never talked trash.  He respected the game, the officials and his opponents.  There were no taunts or end zone celebrations.  Sanders simply played the game the way it was meant to be played.  Sanders was a fierce competitor but you never witnessed him as a sour sport.

More grand than his physical gifts was his character.  Sanders’ humility made him special.  Unlike many of today’s athletes, Sanders never lost sight of himself.  By millionaire standards, Sanders lived like a poor man.  In his prime, he lived in a median $180K home and did all of his own yard work.  Remaining true to his common man roots, despite earning several million dollars a year, was more electrifying as his on field performances.

There is nothing to feel but anguish when swine like T.O had the opportunity to showcase his skills on Super Sunday and Sanders didn’t.  It’s something I cannot abide.  It doesn’t sit well with me.  Good things don’t always happen to good people.  If that were true this post would cease to exist.  Barry deserved better, no wait; he deserved the best.  Nothing can ever change the past, but remembering his brilliance and never forgetting his cruel misfortune is the greatest respect I can pay the champion without a ring…Barry Sanders.

Super Saints Indeed

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , on February 8, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

The NFL’s feel good story of the year had a sweet ending tonight with the Saints winning the 1st Lombardi Trophy in team history.  This has been a special team all season long who fought hard till the very end even when many, including myself, began to lose faith.  The Saints never lost faith in themselves and their special bond, one that can only exist when a team is made up of written off and undrafted players like the Saints, is what kept this team focused instead of falling apart.  Leading the way was head coach Sean Payton and his brass set that set a tone never seen before in the Superbowl.  Then there’s the magnificent Drew Brees.  Brees was simply brilliant on the game’s biggest stage and joined the Elite QB Club with a MVP performance.  Football though is a team sport and the defense was explosive all postseason long.  The defense lambasted three future Hall of Fame quarterbacks this postseason:  Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and regular season MVP Peyton Manning.  The Saints had some pretty nasty labels over the years but Superbowls have a way of changing perception.  Now there is only one way to see the New Orleans Saints and that is as World Champions.  Who Dat say gonna beat ‘dem Saints?  Nobody;  their destiny is now fulfilled.  Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints and the Who Dat Nation.  Party up and party hard.  You deserve it.

Superbowl Points of Impact

Posted in NFL with tags , , , on February 3, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

Superbowl XLIV is only a half week away and there are no shortage of storylines to feast on. Some stories are media bliss and others are web page fillers. Here are some things I’d like to point out about this year’s championship game:

Hartley X

To borrow a phrase from “The Situation” (yes I was hooked on “The Jersey Shore” and I’m man enough to admit it), Garrett Hartley flipped his own script. He went from a zero to a hero in about 3 seconds or how ever long it takes for a perfect 40 yard field goal to go through the uprights. Hartley was the most hated man in New Orleans in week 15, now a 23 year old who kicked himself in the history books past the great Morten Anderson and Tom Dempsey. Hartley gained much needed confidence with the most important kick in Saints history. Hartley is the x-factor for the Saints in the Superbowl. With all the talk of the offenses of both teams it’s quite possible the game can come down to a final kick. Hartley exorcised the demons of missed field goals past, and the Saints can rest easy knowing Hartley is ready should they call his number again.

Freeney Will Play

The media has blown this issue way out of proportion. Anyone who thinks a sprained ankle that will have had 2 weeks to heal, will keep Dwight Freeney out of the Superbowl must have rode the short bus to school. The entire sage of Freeney’s ankle was manifested to create the drama the media felt the game needed. It’s stupid and nothing short of a gun shot wound is going to keep him out of this game. Even with a banged up ankle he could still give Jerome Bushrod a world of trouble. Knowing this Freeney will suit up and lock in on a certain #9.

Difference Between Brees & Manning

What separates Drew Brees from Peyton Manning is the way they conduct themselves. Not in the terms of class or preparation but their body language and attitudes. Peyton Manning believes the Lombardi Trophy is rightfully his and Drew Brees is just prolonging the inevitable. His swagger epitomizes it. Since trumping the Patriots in ’07 playoffs, Manning has developed a killer instinct unseen before in him. Give him the gun and he will shoot Old Yeller without hesitation or remorse. It’s what elevated his game to yet another level. When it’s time to go for the jugular Manning does, and it has become his calling card in 2009.

When you look back at the great clutch quarterbacks like John Elway and Tom Brady, when the moment arrives that every athlete dreams of…they seized the moment. Since the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Brees has looked almost apathetic in the game’s waning moments. You can bet the farm that Manning noticed Brees’ conduct and body language in the pivotal 2nd half of the NFC Championship. He looked like Rocky Balboa trying to survive the 1st round with Ivan Drago. With the exception of the divisional round against the Cardinals, Brees has not put away opponents like all great quarterbacks do. If given the opportunity Brees needs to punch Manning on the chin or it will be his ultimate mistake.

Fans Own “Who Dat”

Posted in NFL with tags , , , on January 28, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

Roger Goodell is one greedy son-of-a-bitch.  He thinks he’s slick too.  Goodell was in New Orleans for the NFC Conference Championship game last Sunday.  There he witnessed thousands of “Who Dat” t-shirts and apparel.  Now that the Saints are Superbowl bound Goodell realizes  his chance to cash in on an old New Orleans local catchphrase.  Now Goodell’s brainchild is to copyright the term “Who Dat” and prevent anyone from using it without written consent from the NFL.  The NFL claims they own the term.  What a fucking joke.  Do they own the term “cheesehead” or “black hole” too?  It’s crazy ridiculous that the NFL is trying to stop t-shirts or other items that you have created in New Orleans that reads “Who Dat”. It isn’t owned by the NFL. It is owned by the fans. Created by the fans, owned by the fans. It’s a creole term and I didn’t realize they had any creoles on the NFL marketing board.  When the phrase first became popular, it was New Orleans native Aaron Neville who performed the song for a music video; not Pete Rozelle who was the NFL Commissioner at the time.  The NFL never gave two shits about “Who Dat” until they realized the potential for Superbowl memorabilia bearing the unique term.  The NFL is already a rich enough company and Goodell is trying to take “Who Dat” away from the fans that supported it long before he even heard of it.  Goodell can’t take away something he had nothing to do with in the first place.  The NFL will make their money regardless so they don’t need “Who Dat”.  Goodell should make things right and leave the issue alone.  If not then I’ll sell shirts that read “Who Dat” and take the proceeds to pay someone to pimp slap Goodell for even trying pull this shit.

Defending the Who Dat Nation,

Dallas O’Malley – The Rebel Ref

Favre Is More Than Numbers

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , on January 27, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

It’s been a few days but nothing new is being said about Favre’s 2009 finale.  All that is being said is he threw away his team’s chances with another late game interception.  The media is quick to point out 2 INTs as useless stats to fill in the blanks regarding their favorite story – Brett Favre being the reason the Vikings lost.  Favre’s 2 interceptions are not the stats that really mattered.  It was the 3 fumbles by his teammates that denied the team the opportunity to face Peyton Manning in South Beach.  Yes, the interception was not Favre’s brightest moment from Sunday’s modern day thriller, and his last 2 conference championship late game interceptions will not be his lasting legacy as some are proclaiming it will be.  Keeping the Rebel Ref tradition alive of recalling the action and not just the result, the Vikings’ loss was not Favre’s fault.  The game should not have come down to that final Vikings drive.  The Saints should have been put away long before that.

The Vikings could have punched their ticket to Miami, but the Saints defense was completely focused on tomahawking the ball out of their grasp.  A scouting report made the Saints’ priority to force fumbles even if it meant missing tackles.  It worked and of the 5 Vikings turnovers but the 3 fumbles is what hurt them the most.  None of which were Favre’s fault. He was indeed credited with a fumble to Adrian Peterson in the red zone but it was Peterson who muffled that exchange. Of the 3 lost fumbles the most damaging one of them all was Percy Harvin’s fumble deep within their own territory.  That particular turnover allowed the stalled Saints offense to score the go ahead touchdown after several 3 and out series.

Two important numbers the media conveniently leave out are 0 and 56.  0 & 56 being that even if Favre would have thrown the ball away on that last possession, the sad reality Ryan Longwell had about a zero chance to hitting a 56 yard field goal at this stage of his career even giving or taking a few yards.  It just makes interesting conversation with the “what if” scenarios but even if Favre would have run he wouldn’t have gotten very far.  He’s good at slipping defenders and making adjustments to make throws in the pocket, but running for yardage after getting abused for 60 minutes…at age 40…how far do you think he would have gotten before he was swarmed by a pack of black & gold defenders?  Seriously, maybe 2 or 4 yards.  So instead of a 56 yard field goal, Longwell might have had a few yards less but no guarantee by far.  Also consider the horrendous kicking we’ve seen lately even from the game’s greats like Nate Kaeding and Neil Rackers.   The possibility was there but it was no lock no matter how much the media implies it.

The media is ignorant too.  Let’s forget the numbers for a minute because the sad notion that this game further illustrated Favre’s legacy as a QB who cripples his team with late game interceptions is injudicious.  Watching this game you were reminded of Favre’s legacy.  He is one tough S.O.B who absorbed a beating that no other quarterback in the league could have endured.  He got the crap kicked out of him all night long.  Peyton Manning never gets touched and his pansy ass would have been out the 1st time after being crunched in a Saints sandwich.  They don’t make ’em like #4 anymore.  He kept coming back and deflating the Saints with big time clutch throws.  He played the game with passion, power and precision just like he has done every Sunday for 19 seasons.  Even at an age where lots of retired pro’s are broadcasting, he continued to dazzle us with a paralyzing array of skill.  That is the lasting image I got from watching him against the Saints.

Favre didn’t lose the game for the Vikings as the media’s love affair with numbers suggests.  He played well and the people look into the numbers too much.  Numbers are for baseball guys.

The Saints and Destiny As I See it

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , on January 21, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

Jets what?  Peyton Who?  The Jets are without a doubt the dullest team left in the playoffs.  The Colts aren’t exactly exhilarating either.  It was hard to stay awake for the 1st encounter between the Jets & Colts this season.  The rematch will undoubtedly be a dreary repeat.  Forget the AFC Championship. The only contest that truly matters this week is the Vikings-Saints game.  The dream match up between Brett Favre and Drew Brees will be the best shoot out since “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly”.  You’re not a football fan if you’re not super-jacked about this one. There is a lot being said about this game.  With everyone taking their shots, I will take mine.

This was my wish all along for these two teams to play each other in the conference championship.  I’m as big a Favre fan as anyone not related to him, but this is the one time where I will not be pulling for The Messiah.  My faith in the Saints has been restored and going into the biggest game in franchise history I just have to believe this team is one of destiny.  With the championship and history well within their grasp, here are my reasons for looking forward to these 3 Saints possibly and hopefully fulfilling their destinies:

Reggie Bush Shreds The “Bust” Label

Reggie Bush brought the wood in a emotionally charged game against the Cardinals.

The nation is now realizing that Reggie Bush is in fact an impact player. Bush is not the guy to carry the rock 20-25 times for 100 yards but he is a game changer of another sort.  Thanks to Bush’s newly discovered physical style of running and Sean Payton’s brilliant play calling, Bush can break the game wide open at any time.  His 84 yards rushing, 24 yards receiving and 2 TD performance (1 rushing & 1 punt return) against the Cardinals in the Division Round changed the way people reflect on his legacy.  He’s not the bust as some were predicting.  He is simply a different and special kind of running back.  It’s a special thing when a player can extinguish the flames cast on his name and I’m happy Bush is doing it in the playoffs.

Jeremy Shockey 2.0

Once viewed as team cancer, Jeremy Shockey is one of the most beloved and respected members of the New Orleans Saints.

I’ve been a huge Jeremy Shockey fan since he 1st exploded into the league in 2002.  I love his amped up attitude and his nasty style of play.  He’s a  tough bastard and when he’s on the field the Saints are a different team.  They feed of his energy and he makes the tough catches that you need from a tight end to cripple a tough defense like the Vikings’.  Despite being a intricate part of the 2007 Superbowl Champion Giants for many years leading up to their improbable run, they left him for dead and treated him like a disease.  Somehow the Giants gave him T.O status.  Shockey was thrown out like nobody’s business but he found a new home in New Orleans.  There was surrounded by other outcasts, has-beens and never will-be players.  His renegade demeanor was embraced and he was reunited with Sean Payton.  Payton was the offensive coordinator for Shockey’s best days in New York.  Shockey found his game again and is a cornerstone of the NFL’s most explosive offense.  The newest and baddest version of Jeremy Shockey needs a big ring and a new Superbowl tattoo to be complete.

Drew Is Due

Drew Brees is locked and loaded as he hunts down his 1st Lombardi Trophy.

The bible said that the Lord would return someday to save us all once again.  For the people of New Orleans, Drew Brees is the savior they were looking for.  At the center of the city’s rebirth is Drew Brees who has done some rebuilding of his own.  Since arriving in the hurricane ravaged Crescent City, Drew Brees has emerged as one the league’s elite quarterbacks.  Throughout his career, he was numb to the setbacks and doubts surrounding him and went from being pretty good with the Chargers to absolutely brilliant as a Saint.  He has become such a force in the league that his good days in San Diego are almost distant memory.  Since arriving in 2006, he’s collectively outperformed both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  That’s a long way for a guy thought of as too short and not possessing enough arm strength to be a quality QB in the NFL.  He’s a class act and an outstanding citizen.  He’s resurrected his career and the Big Easy from the ashes.  There are million reasons to like Brees and none to dislike him unless you’re facing him.  I feel for him like I did when John Elway was still chasing his 1st Superbowl victory.  It would be a crime if Drew Brees, after all he’s done, join the likes of Dan Marino.  If anyone wearing the black & gold deserves a ring, it’s Drew Brees.  Simply put, Favre and Manning had their turn. Let this be Drew’s year to realize his dream.