There’s Always Next Year (Saints edition)

With the Saints season finally coming to an end with an exciting, if disappointing, loss in Seattle, I wanted to write something to recap the season. However, I realize that there are a glut of such articles online right now and there isn’t much that I, a completely unconnected fan, could add to that discussion. So, I thought, a look ahead to next year might be in order. But, again, I didn’t want to attempt some kind of positional preview when I’m lucky to actually see the Saints play a few times a year. Still, there are some things that I’m looking forward to that don’t require any expertise to explain. And, as luck would have it, I’m perfectly qualified to write about things that don’t require any expertise. Here’s why I’m looking forward to next season.

  1. Mind Games. Sean Payton’s motivational ploys are becoming legendary. A quick Google search brought up plenty of Payton’s tactics to fire up his team over the years:
    • 2006, baseball bats remind players to “bring the wood” and empty gas cans are used to motivate veteran stars (how much is left in the tank?). (source)
    • 2007, gives each player a sealed envelope prior to the playoff game versus the Eagles. After the game the players open the envelopes to find out they contain the itinerary for the next weeks game in Chicago, who’s victory Payton also correctly predicted. (source)
    • 2009, mines statistics to convince his team the 1-win Rams are favored against the Saints. Pictures in the locker room of John Fox and Jake Delhomme fire up the team to prove who’s house it is. (source)
    • 2009, for good measure he imitates Bill Belicheck prior to the Patriots game. (source)
    • 2012, The “Do Your Job” banner during his Bounty-gate suspension. (source)
    • 2013, Tweaking the teams travel food and dress code before their first ever road playoff win in Philadelphia (not to mention painting the practice field with the Seahawks logo the following week). (source)

    You know that, at some point, the Saints season will hit a lull or the media will grip hold of some narrative that causes Payton to reach back into the bag of tricks. Who knows what that bag holds, but you know it will be good and, most likely, effective.

  2. Team Gleason. Aside from posting the greatest tweet ever, Steve Gleason is a constant source of inspiration and motivation for me. An amazing guy with an incredible story and one hell of a sense of humor. If you want to donate your money to a worthy cause, this is one great place to start.


  3. The Kenny’s. Destined, it seems, to be forever linked, Stills and Vaccaro, who aren’t actually that hard to tell apart, are impact rookies players who I anticipate causing hoarse voices from Canal Street to 21227.
  4. Cameron Jordan’s hair. The possibilities are endless.

    Not cool, dude, not cool...

    Not cool, dude, not cool…

  5. Saints vs. Ravens. Baltimore is the Wife’s favored team and when the Saints fell just short in M&T Stadium a few years ago we were in the stands. This year the Ravens travel to the Superdome and, as soon as schedules are released, we might have to plan a little trip down south.
  6. Watching NOLA with Nola. Without question this was the highlight of every game for me. It was months before she saw her first ever Saints loss (a right of passage she hopefully never understands), but, even when they did lose a few, having a little bundle of baby girl just makes everything awesome. Except the Falcons.
  7. Atlanta bashing. It just feels good.


Dylan Steele

About Dylan Steele

A Louisiana native, Dylan Steele now lives in Halethorpe, Maryland. A web developer by day, he is also an occasional musician, frequent dog walker and sometimes hoopster. And now he blogs, too.
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