Michael Tortorich: Saints in uncharted territory
As I settled in behind this keyboard to write this column, I struggled with choosing a topic to address.
Every time I get ready to hammer my fingers against these ink-stained keys, several ideas tend to swirl around in my head. And then come the questions.
What should I write about this time? What would one of our readers be interested in reading?
I fully realize that talking sports might be a turn-off to some. But it is awfully difficult to ignore the topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue in Louisiana lately – our beloved New Orleans Saints.
It seems as though the black and gold’s quest for a first-ever Super Bowl appearance has transcended mere sports. People who aren’t necessarily self-described sports fans are even talking about the magical season the Saints have enjoyed so far.
Here we are about three-quarters through the regular season and the Saints have yet to lose a game.
Sure, there have been some close calls, and a few times the team had to rally to win, but it would be tough argue to against all of those W’s. Even when the team had a lackluster performance, they still did what they had to do in order to notch a win. To do that 11 times in a row in a league full of professionals, many of whom are at the peak of their playing careers, is no easy task.
An 11-0 start, even in the modern era, is still a rare and impressive achievement. The amazing thing about this season is that the Indianapolis Colts have also started 11-0.
Looking back on the whole of Saints history, which dates back to their first season in 1967, there have been both good and bad times. But the good times have never been this good.
The New Orleans franchise once known for its fans wearing bags over their heads to disguise themselves in the stands has come a long way.
These days it seems fans are jumping out of the woodwork and on the bandwagon. At times within the last decade, one would be susceptible to ridicule for merely bringing up the Saints as a topic of conversation, let alone being a fan or – gasp – a season ticket holder. Now, tickets for a spot at a home game in the Superdome are as scarce as ever.
It’s amazing that we are in December and talking about the Saints going undefeated through the 16-game season. It’s certainly possible as the remaining slate features three teams with losing records: Washington (3-8), Tampa (1-10) and Carolina (4-7), the latter two New Orleans has already beaten. And Atlanta (6-5) have also fallen victim to the Saints once already. That leaves only a home game against Dallas (8-3) as the team with the most potential to hand the Saints a loss.
Of course win-loss records are meaningless when weighed against winning a championship. It’s the playoff wins the matter more, and the chance to go to the biggest game in football.
No matter what happens in the first days of 2010, it’s going to be a great ride for the Saints and their fans.
Michael Tortorich writes for the Weekly Citizen in Gonzales, La.