Can We Burn the Bags Now??
I'm now, as I type, 45 years old. I could use the standard answer of many New Orleans Saints fans that are around my age and make the claim that I've been following the Saints "all my life", but that really wouldn't be true. and to be honest, I don't really believe them when they do say that.
What I can say is I've been following this team since the mid-70s as a little kid fascinated with the likes of Archie Manning and Tommy Myers (if you know who Tommy Myers was, then consider yourself a true Black and Gold Who Dat). And though at times, I have been absolutely disgusted with the play of Saints teams past, I have always considered my self a Saints fan. I have endured years of ridicule. In the 70s it came from Cowboy and Steeler fans. In the 80s it came from 49er fans. In the 90s, from Viking and again, Cowboy fans. In the early 2000 years, from Patroit and Ram fans.
But oh, how times have changed. And I'm not just referring to the Super Bowl 44 win. This isn't your daddy's Saints. This isn't even your grand-daddy's Saints. It's hard to describe to younger fans just what it was like to follow a team like the Saints 20-30 years ago. With the latest 31-17 win over Detroit, the Saints now have 9 wins on the season. That means for the 4th straight year, we will finish with an above .500 season. As a matter of fact, we have had but 3 losing the last 12. For us old-timers that's pretty big stuff.
The Saints began in 1967. Sean Payton arrived in 2006. That's 39 seasons before he arrived.
We went 20 years before we had a winning season.
We had had only 7, that's right 7 winning seasons.
It wasn't until 1978 -12 seasons- that we won over 5 games.
From 1970 - 1978 the only Pro Bowler we had was a punter.
We didn't have a thousand-yard rusher until 1979 -- 13 seasons.
We didn't win a playoff game until 2000 -- 33 years.
We didn't have back to back winning seasons until 1987, 1988 & 1989.
Other teams have copied us, but we were the original Bagheads. After a dreadful 1-15 season in 1980.
I'll be honest, there were times I really wondered if the Saints would ever be winners. I've witnessed loses that ust left me in disbelief. "Maybe Next Year" was an eternal hope associated with the Saints season after season. All the talk of a "Curse" at times made sense.
All I can say is thank goodness for the New Orleans Saints Organization we have today. It's been a long time coming, but since Sean Payton and Drew Brees and all the rest of the personnel that we have, Saints fans can be proud.