After the way the past two seasons have ended for the New Orleans Saints, it’s apparent they need to tweak the final act in their Super Bowl play.
It’s one thing to bring the curtain down. It’s quite another to have it come crashing down on them.
A home robbery by officials in broad daylight against the LA Rams for the NFC championship in January and an improbable walk-off loss at Minnesota in the divisional round a year earlier strongly suggest the Saints are on the cusp of greatness.
Yes, they were very good in 2017 and ‘18, just not good enough to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
In both losses, the Saints could have slammed the door shut, survived and advanced. But they left cracks open and eventually suffered the consequences, leaving many wondering if they can win a second league title before future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees retires.
I could make the case that the Black and Gold should be going for a 3-peat but they got in their own way.
Truth be told, the Saints have no one to blame but themselves. They had multiple opportunities to put away the Vikings long before Stefon Diggs’ snatch-and-dash and well after the flagrant officiating gaffe in the Rams game, and failed to do so.
Hopefully, when situations similar to those arise again, and they will, the Saints will respond better and finish what they started.
Last summer, Saints Coach Sean Payton challenged his team to “Prove Them Right,’‘ a clever slogan referring to the passel of national pundits and prognosticators who predicted the Saints would win Super Bowl LIII.
Ultimately, the Saints proved them wrong, unwittingly perhaps, but wrong nevertheless.
In the days leading up to Training Camp 2019, I have toyed with numerous motivational/inspirational slogans for Payton when he brings his players together for their first practice July 26 in Metairie, Louisiana.
Here are a few of them. Some of them are self explanatory:
Leave No Doubt.
Right the Wrong!
Prove Them Right 2.
Prove Them Wrong (referring to NFL officials).
Ten Years After (Saints won Super Bowl XLIV at the end of the 2009 season.)
Sorry Won’t Do It.
Just Do It (apologies to Nike.)
But I settled on: SETTLE THE SCORE.