SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Moments in Saints History: Mike Ditka’s First Draft
Jan 26th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

In celebration of the New Orleans Saints going to their first Super Bowl, we’ll be discussing moments in Saints history for the next two weeks.

You may remember Mike Ditka and Bill Kuharich’s last draft for the New Orleans Saints. They traded their entire draft to the Washington Redskins, so the Skins could draft a bunch of shitty players and LaVar Arrington. Well, their first draft was almost as great a comedy of ineptitude.

The Saints had the second overall pick in the draft that year. They had some enormous holes – the offensive line was something the team wanted to address, and I was psyched to see who they’d plug in. Another bookend tackle to go with Willie Roaf would be outstanding. Or possibly a lockdown corner in Shawn Springs. Great players were going to be available.

Lofty players.

The Saints got none of them, instead trading down with Oakland. Don’t get me wrong, Oakland fucked up too (they took the late Darrell Russell) but rather than stay at #2 and draft Walter Jones, Ditka and Kuharich lock up guard Chris Naeole. Chris Naeole! Who trades down to lock up a fucking guard? LeCharles Bentley was a greater player in every respect (until his knee got Clevelanded) and he went in the second. How bad was this pick? Before dying, Darrell Russell still made the Pro Bowl. And then he died. And was / is still inarguably a better player than Naeole.

Chris Naeole eventually went on to be a serviceable guard for Jacksonville. The rest of the draft sucked for the Saints, too: Rob Kelly, Jared Tomich, Troy Davis, Danny Wuerffel – look, I had heard of Troy Davis and Danny Wuerffel. They had amazing college careers. I think they both ought to go to the college football hall of fame. Nobody in professional football ought to be drafting all the players from the NCAA that I’ve heard of.

Ditka didn’t wear a dreadlocked wig for this draft, but his inability to get a single impact player after a 3-13 season was really why he was fired after just three seasons.

New Orleans 31, Minnesota 28, OT
Jan 24th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I’m house-sitting for Benjamin “Pinback” Parrish and he and his lovely girlfriend have an amazing high-definition television. I watched the game with four dogs (Boomer, Harley, Jango and Parker), two cats (Sam and Girl Cat) and two spiders (The Destroyer of All Souls and Oo-Topos-Tupperware). I’d never seen a game on such a nice TV.

I was watching without a spine when the Vikings had the ball for their last drive in regulation. Kickers have been so unpredictable, who knows what Longwell coul- OH MY GOD! MY GOD! HE THREW IT TO PORTER! GO! GO GO!~!!

Overtime was an unwatchable mess, the officials deigning to take three booth reviews they didn’t overturn. WTF was happening to the offense? (The Vikes’ D is just that good.) Pitch to Bush – nooo! A bailout call on a ball Dave Thomas couldn’t have caught to make up for some of the nonsense earlier. And then… Garrett Hartley to line up for a field goal.

It all comes down to this.

My brother called to tell me how miserable the booth reviews were. Three of them in overtime, none of them overturned anything. I asked him if he’d stay on the phone with me until the field goal attempt. The network showed a highlight from a few weeks ago, where owner Tom Benson celebrated what he thought was a successful kick as time expired against Tampa Bay. My brother thought that was uproariously funny. (Brief aside, I celebrated a kick John Carney attempted in the Superdome against the Patriots while I was there. The angles are weird in person.)

My brother said that the Vikings would call a timeout to ice Hartley. They did so. I thought he was just making a prediction.

Hartley lined up to kick and apparently the feed my brother had was a few seconds ahead of me. He started freaking out on the phone. He chortled. (He’s a chortler.) “RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE!!!!”

And then I saw it unfold, in front of me. Garrett Hartley made a 40-yard kick – New Orleans 31, Minnesota 28. My phone started blowing up. Greg called. The Milker called. Fodge, Pinback called. Texts came in, from Gerrit and Brew and Roody. My phone told me I had e-mail as well. I always had the impression that I was the token Saints fan among everyone I’ve ever met.

I can’t believe he made that kick.

As I said before, I was able to catch a game in the Superdome this season – it was my first experience there. I wrestled for a week to try to talk about the experience, but ultimately, I just couldn’t process everything that happened. The football team in that city means more to the people living in it than any other fanbase I’ve ever been around. When Brew and I walked into a casino for an hour, all the dealers had Saints jerseys on. There was a veritable, palpable playoff atmosphere to the Patriots game. Brew used to work for ESPN, and as such, was able to get us free tickets – that was all well and good, but I was also able to get a tiny bit of information from his friends and former co-workers that were around both teams. Having even the slightest bit of “inside info” was great – I got to chill in the same hotel the Saints were staying at, and I saw Mark Brunell and Charles Grant before the game.

(I also lost my Reggie Bush jersey on the trolley, but that’s this whole other thing. Some little whodat had a terrible Christmas, as the thing was faded into ridiculousness. BUT STILL.)

It’s about an hour after the game at this point, and I think I’ve calmed down. My mom called, mostly because she’s my mom and it’s Sunday, but also because she, more than anyone else, knows what it’s been like for me to engage in this ridiculousness for 30+ years. She and my dad took me to a game where I glomped onto the “wrong” team, and every single Christmas – years before you could order this crap off the Internet – she would order up Saints jerseys and shirts and hats and pennants from Louisiana, to get it all here before Christmas. Brew and I walked into the Black & Gold shop before the Saints/Pats game, and I am pretty sure it was one of her go-to stores when I was a teenager. I bought a Robert Meachem jersey and JESUS CHRIST, I have no idea where mom and dad got the money for this (waves hands) ANY of this when I was a kid. They really were the best parents ever. I mean, not just because they got their weird, dorky kid his out-of-state football stuff… but it sort of speaks volumes about them, all told.

Mom asked if I was crying afterwards. I definitely choked up when she asked that, but honestly, not because of anything that happened on the football field.

EDIT: One last thing regarding Brett Favre. Favre is terrible at being a celebrity. The constant coverage of him makes me hate this hobby a great deal. Hearing Kornheiser bring him up two years ago during a Packers/Saints game, with him nowhere near that game ranks high in the halls of the worst sportscasting ever. His ads for Sears trying to humanize him make me despise that smug prick even more. HOWEVER, I would want to work as hard at my job as that son of a bitch does at his. It was the gutsiest performance I’ve ever seen. Everytime I thought he was through, he got right back up again. What an inspiration. I don’t think he’s got a fan left in the world after betraying Green Bay and his last throw for three straight franchises being an interception, but he’s got guts. We should all work that hard.

Atlanta’s Got The Hands Team Out
Nov 4th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

This was not called offensive pass interference last night.

Now look – the teams involved don’t matter. I’m not bitching about the call here. The fact that my team was involved in it doesn’t matter, it’s just the call I remember most from the last few weeks. But CHRIST is the officiating terrible in the NFL this year.

There’s another picture floating around of Darren Sharper clearly losing the ball before scoring a touchdown, with a ref staring right at him and getting the call incorrect. It’s so abysmal, it’s a little worrying.

The first round of the draft is going to be on Thursday, or something equally stupid. Labor peace is breaking apart, and it looks like the salary cap is going away. There’s actual discussion from the commish about his plan for getting a team in London. The Bucs are fielding a squad that is something like $40 million under the salary cap. (The fact that Pinback and I spend ten minutes talking about who the five worst teams in the NFL are, and always lament not being able to include teams with zero wins or a single win is more funny than anything else. So I’m not counting that.) But it’s BAD out there now.

Baseball used to be on top and invincible, too. The World Series was just out-drawn by a regular season NFL game. The NBA was much, much bigger than it is now, and it’s pretty much certain that they’ve fixed the outcome of games to best get the match-up in the finals they wanted, so fuck the NBA. I love watching football, but my prediction is that it’s got this season and next before it’s forever ruined. We’re well on the way.

2008: The Year in Television
Jan 13th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Here’s a list of all the television shows I watched, from start to finish, in 2008. They all happen to be Saints games. One is missing, the one in Denver, which I didn’t see on TV, but instead paid $65 to have ruined for me.

They are in order from “most enjoyed” to “least.”

Week Four: Saints 31, 49ers 17.
In 8MM, Nicholas Gage says to Tony Soprano, “I will never get tired of hurting you, Eddie!” I feel the same way about the modern-day Saints beating the shit ouf of the modern-day 49ers. I hope the Niners are terrible forever.

Week Twelve: Saints 51, Packers 29
I have always resented the Packers and I don’t know why. This game, everything finally clicked for the Saints, and they won two in a row the only time this season. It was a MNF game, so everyone got to enjoy this absolute battle-raping. Tony Kornheiser brought up Brett Favre literally every 8 or 9 minutes.

Week Eight: Saints 37, Chargers 32
This was the last gasp of hope, for Saints fans this year. Christ we BEAT THE CHARGERS! Granted, it was in fucking London, which is hilarious, because 21 hours’ worth of travel is pretty much what the Saints WOULD need to exhaust the Chargers to where they could beat them, meaning that the two places in the world the Saints come out on top here would be England and half-way to the moon.

Week One: Saints 24, Bucs 20.
In an episode of the Kids in the Hall, Dave Foley (as a teenager) tells his parents that it’s not just a D he received in class… it’s a Dwith promise!Week one of the NFL season was like that.

Week Sixteen: Saints 42, Lions 7
Here’s the best part of this: both the GM and coach of the Lions got work within a few weeks of being fired (the GM, on tv, and the coach is the new defensive line coach for the Bears), while the rest of Detroit suffers through some of the worst unemployment in the country. What a giant fuck-you to everyone who is at least competent at what they do.

Week Eleven: Saints 30, Chiefs 20
I remember watching the tail-end of some Chief games before I saw this one. I am convinced that you could give Herm Edwards a time piece, and a caveman all the individual parts of one, and by the end of one regulation football game, the caveman would tell you the correct age of the universe, and Herm would have found a way to go back in time and destroy all human life on earth. (Is this OK as a clock management joke? I don’t want to repeat what anyone else has ever said of him.)

Week Fourteen: Saints 29, Falcons 25
YAAY WE BEAT A TEAM EVERYONE THOUGHT WOULD BE THE WORST IN FOOTBALL BEFORE THE SEASON – there was no pleasure here.

Week Six: Saints 34, Raiders 3
Everyone on the Saints was pretty much stat-whoring by the second drive. I think even Shockey caught a touchdown. (No he didn’t, he didn’t do that all year.) I’m not going to pretend that beating the crap out of a JV team is remotely entertaining.

Week Seventeen: Panthers 33, Saints 31
The Saints were already eliminated, but Brees was less than 20 yards away from breaking Marino’s record for passing yards in a single game. He still had over 400 yards passing on the day, which lead to Panthers cornerback Ken Lucas braying about howit was a matter of prideto not let Brees break the record. Throwing for 400 fucking yards in a game was apparently okay, though. The last time the Cardinals won a playoff game was in like 1998, so I am not kidding when I say that before today there were probably less than 53 people not collecting Social Security who would have to stand forward if asked, “Did the Cardinals ever beat you in a playoff game.” (The 98 Cowboys were the team here.) The fact that we can now add everyone on the fraud that was the 2008 Panthers to this exclusive company is fantastic, as far as I am concerned. I hate them, and I always will.

Week Thirteen: Bucs 23, Saints 20
I’m trying to remember what the hell happened this game, but I can’t. I assume I was drunk, and I assume that I could simply check my text messages to gsdgsd and get my memory refreshed. As I’d like all the memories of this season to be used for anything – everything – else, I’m not going to do that.

Week Ten: Falcons 34, Saints 20
“Don’t we need this game??” we all thought. Though we didn’t admit it, we knew that if we couldn’t beat the Falcons, we had no business thinking playoffs. Too much ground to cover, too little time.

Week Two: Redskins 29, Saints 24
I had actually called my brother up before the game was over. 90% of people on CBS Sportsline picked the Saints to win, and I was laughing, saying, “Usually when that happens, the team picked that heavily LOSES!” Then Santana Moss burned our secondary (people on the WhoDatZone have said it was Tracy Porter, who was our best CB, but I am suspect of this) and boom, the game was fucking over, Redskins win and what I was cackling about came true. The best part is – it’s not even the first time I had seen that “type” of game. Curtis Conway did the EXACT SAME FUCKING THING in the 4th quarter for the Bears back in 1999.Here’s the goddamn box scoreto show I am not lying. Ashley Ambrose held Conway in check all game, but got bitch cramps in the 4th, and Conway ran past ex-49er Tyrone Drakeford two times to win the game.

Week Seven: Panthers 30, Saints 7
I watched this at a sports book in Las Vegas. I lost twenty dollars on this game. Reggie Bush, who is probably second only to Roy Halladay, Rickey Jackson and Mark Recchi as my favorite entertainer of all time, and of the four, the only one where I have seen every game they’ve played, tore his meniscus, and was out for four weeks right before half-time in this one. I was also amazingly thirsty because it was the desert and I had been drinking the night before, and I wasn’t sure if I had to tip the cocktail waitress for water.

Week Five: Vikings 30, Saints 27
With Reggie Bush having microfracture surgery this off-season, it is likely that he will never be the same With that in mind… you know what, I already talked about this shit with Pinback, so I will just provide the chat log:

ICJ:That Minnesota game on MNF was in doubt the entire game, and Reggie was singularly the best player in football at that moment… And they still fuckinglost.
ICJ:Fuck this, FUCK this
ICJ:I don’t even get the, “The team was playing like shit, but REGGIE BUSH pulled them through!” story.
ICJ:I DON’T EVEN GET THAT

Pinback:That was the game when I learned to love, and yet be glad I don’t actually root for, the Saints.

ICJ:Yeah
ICJ:… yeah

And the absolute worst thing I saw on television in 2008…

Week Fifteen: Bears 27, Saints 25
I will always hate the Chicago Bears. I will sum up why by simply stating that Lance Briggs shot his retarded mouth off to the local media before the game, saying that Drew Brees has no experience playing in cold weather.

Lance Briggs was born in California, and played college ball in Arizona. I am not joking when I say it is probable that he had never seen snow, literally never seen it, before he was drafted by the Chicago Bears, a team he loves so much that he publically threatened to hold out until he got the contract he was looking for.

Drew Brees played college ball in Purdue, which is in fucking Indiana, where it is currently 24 degrees. It takes a special brand of NFL player to be thought of as THE FUCKING DUMB ONE, but congrats, Briggs: you’re a winner here.

Fuck the Bears, fuck the NFL, fuck television.

(Also, I didn’t see the Super Bowl in its entirety, so that is why it is not on the list.)

(I caught parts of other playoff games and other NFL games in 2008, but I would wander back and forth, that’s why they are not on the list.)

(I saw most of Roy Halladay’s games in 2008, but through a shitty Flash player, not on a real tv, so that’s why they are not on the list.)

Rod Parker vs Rod Marinelli & Everyone Else
Dec 22nd, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Well, the Lions lost to the Saints 42-7 on Sunday. After the game, a reporter for the Detroit News, asked Lions coach Rod Marinelli the following:

“On a light note, do you wish your daughter would have married a better defensive coordinator?”

Here is an article calling for Parker to be fired. Here’s a quote from the above article that speaks to the reactions from the FOX analysts:

I think FOX’s Terry Bradshaw said it best when he called Parker a “flat idiot.” Actually, each of the analysts on FOX’s wrap-up show took turns bashing Parker. Michael Strahan said that Parker shouldn’t be a reporter; he should be an ex-reporter. Howie Long said “Rod Marinelli, through all of this — the good and bad — has handled himself with class; I don’t think that reporter can make that statement.” Finally, Jimmy Johnson called him a jerk, which is 100% true.

(I find it a little funny that these ex-players and coaches can’t wait to pile on a guy working for the press when it’s okay to do so, but that’s another story.)

However, this isn’t the first time that Parker has been involved in controversy. From his Wikipedia page:

On March 28, 2008, Parker declared on ESPN’s First Take that he had low expectations for college players Tyler Hansbrough and Kevin Love in the NBA, because they are white.

The African-American Parker is not shy to discuss the racial aspects of current sports events, such as the NBA off-court dress policy, or the lack of African-Americans in NFL coaching positions. He recently penned a much-debated column where he called Hank Aaron a “coward” for declining to attend when Barry Bonds would break the career Major League home run record.

In October of 2008, Parker erroneously reported that Kirk Cousins, a quarterback for the Michigan State Spartans, was involved in a fight with hockey players. After being publicly reprimanded by head coach Mark Dantonio at his weekly news conference, Parker was suspended by the Detroit News for two weeks.

OK, Parker’s not an angel. And I hope that Rod Marinelli gets fired and is instantly hired to run the New Orleans Saints’ defense, as there is no way to gauge his performance, with everything else that has happened since Matt Millen took over to run the Lions.

While Parker crossed the line, honestly, I see so much shitty reporting in sports, it’s hard to fault him for asking a question sarcastically. Let’s take a look at what some other writers produced last week. Gregg Easterbrook wrote the following:

Drew Brees played every down against the hapless Lions, on the field and still throwing when the Saints were ahead 42-7 late in the fourth quarter. Brees ended the game needing 402 yards to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yards record. This seems unlikely, since New Orleans closes against the Carolina Panthers, who will be playing to win a first-round bye. (A Cats defeat coupled with an Atlanta victory would give the Falcons the division.) New Orleans fans will want the Saints to go all-out to get Brees the record — might as well salvage something from the season. But what about Marino? He will feel compelled by protocol to say he wishes Brees luck in breaking the record. TMQ has always felt that record-holders should be honest and say, “Tarnation no, I don’t want my record broken.” In this case, if Brees succeeds, it will be essentially a stunt, given the finale game has no meaning to the eliminated Saints. Marino’s record year came as the Dolphins reached the Super Bowl — those were all yards the team needed to win pressure games.

Gregg… Marino’s Dolphins were 14-2. The team they played in the second-to-last game of the season (the Colts) were barely better than the Lions. You couldn’t look that up?

Peter King said the following about the MVP race this year:

Philip Rivers is going to win the 2008 passing title. But it’s another title he wants. Rivers cannot be the MVP, not on a team that will finish .500 at best.

Peter… the most valuable player of the NFL does not have to be on a team that finished better than .500. You’re very fucking stupid to think that, but going after your terrible sportswriting is fish sitting in a barrel.

So I have a real hard time thinking that Rob Parker crossed some line. In 2001, the Saints, who I had seen win a single playoff game in their history, needed to beat one of three lousy teams in the last three weeks to make the playoffs (the Vikes, Panthers and Bengals).

Our quarterback, Aaron Brooks, hurt his shoulder. Jim Haslett wouldn’t play our backup, Jake Delhomme. (The current QB of the Panthers.) He cost us a playoff spot, trotting out Brooks when he wasn’t 100%. Haslett has acknowledged as much in recent years – would have been nice if we had some reporters out there challenging him, but I’ve never really seen that with the NOLA press.

I was too young to properlyenjoy the 1980 Saints 1-15 season, but I am going to guess what Detroit fans are going through is pretty goddamn terrible. When you’re that miserable at your job, with that much money at stake, with that muchexposure -is it that bad to get called out on it? Really? If a guy is going to hire his son-in-law as defensive co-ordinator, and stick with him through 15 winless games, I think it’s all right to bring it up.

Lovely Vegas, Part Two
Oct 22nd, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Saturday started off with me trying to count the drinks I had the night before – I had an initial count that was low, and would actually remember them as the day went on, like they were lousy quarterbacks that skulked about the history of the New Orleans Saints. (“Oh, yes, someone poured a Miller Light for me! I never drink that! … Billy Joe Tolliver!”) Funnily enough, I think I hissed at the memory of some of the drinks more. There is the spirtual pain of seeing John Fourcade start the season under center, and then the very real pain of several drinks that were stronger than anyone currently on the Saints, except for Jeremy Shockey (I didn’t try any absinthe).

Here’s how bin Laden has ruined America: I assume I can’t bring anything on the plane with me that has to do with personal grooming – in fact, my hair gel was found by Homeland Security and discarded. On the other hand, some of the DHS agents this week look pretty hot, so nobody question my patriotism any time soon. I therefore didn’t try to bring any ibuprofen, because it was going to be in a container that was greater than three ounces. In retrospect, I should have just downed 40 of them before flying and try to cover myself for the whole weekend, but that’s another story. So yeah – I was unable to take some painkillers before going to bed, and had my first hangover since I was in my late 20s. I could have received some from the hotel front desk if it was “that” kind of a hotel, but, well… yeah. You might think that I needed a hangover like I needed a hole in my head, but as discussed yesterday with the strip being shut down directly outside, I could have had both.

(It all actually only went away when I had a vodka/cranberry thing late Saturday night, so trying the hair of the dog that bit me really did work. Amazing. What other wisdom is there in clichéd sayings?? Also, I know that Alt-130 is the messed-up “e” now, so expect that to be a recurring character, so to speak, in future blog entries.) 

 

 

The best idea I could personally come up with to cure a mild hangover is naturally getting onto a roller coaster, and luckily, New York New York provides for just that. Across the street was a mess of arcade games, and after lunch, I was able to play some Centipede with my buddy Fodge, and his wife. The Gameworks is on the card reader setup, so while he was trying to get it to go, he accidentally put nine credits into the Centipede. We also did some virtual bowling. I love that a $15,000 bowling lane with simulated results was developed. This should be the next market taken by the people who did Rock Band: after having delivered the experience of playing in a band at home, plastic bowling would also be great. The side benefit is that everyone’s french fries would be better, as nobody has ever had bad fries at a bowling alley.

By this time, Fodge had to get ready for the wedding. My friend Greg called while I was walking the two (I think?) (I actually just looked it up, it’s 1.9 miles) miles back to the hotel. Greg was a few drinks ahead of me, thanks to being in opposite time zones, but he demanded that I fly out to Atlanta during what would be this weekend. Greg, I will, shortly! I need to see Gerrit anyway and shoot a movie next year! Greg, I am asking you to act in a movie in front of all these people to embarrass you into accepting. 

I got back to the hotel and took another nap – apparently I have the stamina of an 80-year old, but I’m not going to lie here, lying about Vegas comes way afterwards. The wedding was going to be at seven, and I was determined to get a cab. 

I was also determined not to dress nicer than the groom. The wedding was at their hotel room (which was amazingly nice) and I was led to believe that Matt was going to be wearing shorts and a baseball cap – I grabbed my favorite pair of jeans and a button-down, black shirt. I was prepared for anything: being lied to about the expected dress, not being able to find a cab and having to huff it, finally giving into the endless stream of guys who give cards for callgirls, being thrown into a room with an angry pitboss on account for general smugness.

I arrived at the wedding just in the nick of time. It was great. Fodge did a wonderful job as the best man, and there was a lot of food and other pleasantries. Fodge, Luddy, Keith and I sat down to play some euchre afterwards, and it was just like old times, just like being a freshman in college. Euchre really never gets old. When I play cards, or eat, I don’t like to have anything in my pockets, so I put my phone and glasses on the table. 

My phone is a flip phone, and was free with a year’s extension through T-mobile. It is also purple, because I run caltrops.com. This did not go over well! It really got out of hand within a couple minutes, and I was being aggressively mocked for owning a purple phone, all by people I did not really know! But it was very funny (and fun) and I think my argument was essentially that it would be gray to the colorblind. 

I don’t remember anything else that happened that night. 

***

The next day was spent at the sports book, where I put money on the New Orleans Saints. Guess how that went? Reggie Bush blew out his knee and the game was never in doubt after the first few drives. The Saints have disappointed me in every single way, in the last 30 years, but I had never actually lost money on them. They were getting three points, and lost 30-7. I would not have had it any other way, har har har. 

That’s essentially it, except for successfully avoiding the lizard men at Denver International Airport on the way back. I’d say, “I can’t wait to return to Las Vegas,” but it has a way of making me intend to be back, regardless of my intentions. Right on. 

Saints vs Broncos
Sep 22nd, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)I went to the Saints – Broncos game yesterday, and I don’t blame Martin Gramatica for anything. The guy had not missed a kick in a Saints uniform, so he had a lot of credit built up, as far as I was concerned. And all told, it was a great game. The Broncos won, but it was by far the most gripping game I’ve ever been to. It reminds you why you just might piss away your Sundays with the NFL and be at ease with it.

Things looked ugly for the Saints early, as their first drive stalled. The Broncos scored, turned a Reggie Bush fumble into seven points, and led 21-3 early.

From there, the Saints got their act together. The sun started to really beat down on the stadium. I was in section 532, up into row 33 and I think there were maybe three rows behind us and that was it. Honestly, they were fine seats and we were able to see everything on the field at all times. Our section was really cool, too – there were a lot of Saints fans present, and the Bronco fans that were there were chill. I never once felt like some animal was going to freak out because I wore my Bush jersey, and I probably couldn’t say the same about western New York, where I am originally from. (During the playoff game between Buffalo and Jacksonville in 94 or 95, I wore my winter jacket, which happened to be a Saints jacket… and Bills fans were tossing snowballs at me. If you wonder why that entire city crumbling, well, there ya go.)

I actually don’t feel that terrible about the game. The sun was shining, I got to see all my favorite players (would have liked to have seen Deuce McAllister enter the game), it was an up and down game that came down, essentially, to an attempted field goal, and it was a loss on the road to a team in a different conference. It’s not that critical in the playoff picture. I say all this because the old me would have been freaking out with vicious attacks, cruel taunts, unflattering impersonations and twisted carcicatures against Saints players and coaches. I just don’t have the bile any more.

The Saints are 1-2, and I just learned that Jeremy Shockey is out 3-6 weeks. Knowing Shockey, it will be three weeks. Our schedule really is easy, and I remain convinced that the team is gonna be fine. That being said, Reggie Bush is the Saints’ leading rusher and receiver, and has scored 4 times in 3 games. I was really considering bookmarking all the horrible, stock, by the book articles that trashed the frigging guy since he left with a partially torn MCL last year, but Christ, I am 34 and I just don’t have time to keep track of the shitty, shitty sportswriting that we see in this country. I knew I would be validated – he’s a fucking star – and… great? I am smarter than the average sportswriter? I already knew that.

 

My Football Team Signed Joey Harrington
Sep 19th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I feel like I want to die. Do you know what that feels like? I am going to the Saints game on Sunday. I am looking forward to seeing Reggie Bush, and Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister. This was going to be an amazing trip. My boss, who is awesome, hooked me up with tickets. I haven’t seen the Saints in person in years. YEARS. And now look at this.

The New Orleans Saints have signed quarterback Joey Harrington.

I don’t think that saying he is the worst starting quarterback of all-time is hyperbole. At least, not for the number of starts he had. Ryan Leaf is probably, start for start, worse (oh by the way, Ryan Leaf did manage to beat the Saints once, I caught that game living at Da King’s house on Internet radio) but Harrington was able to compile his poor play over a much longer period of time.

And no, he is not starting on Sunday. He’ll be the third-string QB that can’t even enter the game unless stuff goes seriously wrong. But anywhere he goes, HE STARTS.

Here is an example of what it is like to have Joey Harrington on your team. The GIF I am going to link shows him fumbling a ball off a static table, and then throwing what would be an interception to a CARDBOARD CUT-OUT of a defender. LOOK AT THIS SHIT.

  

You know what, sometimes GIFs take a while to load, and I apologize for this, but for the love of Christ how does that happen? 

He’s started everywhere he’s ever gone. Drew Brees is fucked. He’s a goddamn marked man, and I’ll tell you what, don’t invest in Brunell futures, either. By all accounts, Joey Harrington is one of the most down-to-earth guys in sports. He is a team player. His favorite video game is Ms. Pac-Man. He was saddled with the worst general manager in the entire history of recorded human history in Matt Millen. JOEY HARRINGTON IS A NICE GUY. 

Fuck. All right, fuck this, he’s a Saint now. I’m on board. He’s gonna play, he’s never NOT played, I just have to accept it. I have been told that I need to let go of the future and the past, in order to truly be content with my life. 

I am letting go of the past. (Except for the GIF up there.)

I am letting go of the imagined future.

God save us all.

164 Yards and a Score
Sep 8th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I grew up in western New York, and the fans there were always busting on Bruce Smith and Jim Kelly. You play football, you have a target on your back. That’s fine.

I hang out at a few bulletin boards for my favorite team, the New Orleans Saints. There are guys there that don’t like Reggie Bush. Even out of our own little sphere, he seems to get an inordinate amount of shit. And for what? I’ve always maintained that he was key to the team getting to the NFC Championship game in 2006. In 2007, everyone on the team sucked in the first four games. (If the Saints had lost to the Bucs today, I would not have been able to say that they “sucked.” Getting drilled 41-10 last year to open, at Indy? Yeah, that performance sucked.)

But I guess my point is, after watching Bush go for 164 total yards and a score, is that these sportswriters are able to churn out generic article after generic article, none of it backed up by actually watching the games. They look for some universal narrative that won’t get them mocked by their peers, and “Reggie Bush being a disappointment!!” seemed to be the one they grabbed onto. At least for the next seven days we don’t have to hear it.

(I am also enjoying the headlines that read, “Bush stays course as Saints hold on to win.” It’s great to see even a random NFL article make fun of the colossal joke we have as Prez. But hey, they didn’t like Truman at the end, either! So it’s all good there!)

You really have to watch these games to get a good feeling for how the players perform, and I think I’m going to be writing less-cocky opinions in the future, because I’m definitely not able to catch all the games. I don’t want to turn into one of those choads still banging the drum that the Cardinals are an embarrassment or whatever. (Maybe historically, but they went 8-8 last year and started things off correctly this year. We get used to these 13-3 to 10-6 turnarounds, but there seems to at least be some slow, steady progress there.)

The other thing about a sort of statistics-based view of the NFL that always gets me is a story I remember about one of the Saints teams under Haslett. Completely poised to go to the playoffs, there is some rumor that Joe Horn or Joe Johnson slept with Willie Roaf’s wife. Enough strife immediately appears to have them completely blown out to end the season, and they end up going 7-9. I’m not saying that there can’t be a more measured and nuanced look at football, that somehow brings you to the conclusion that Reggie Bush is the worst #2 pick of all-time and the Texans are now geniuses for not trading down and continuing to make the playoffs, but I’m going to need to see cuckolding quantified before I am totally ready to sign off.

 

Retrospect: the 2004 New Orleans Saints
Aug 21st, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The 2004 New Orleans Saints are the only team that I have seen pack it in during the second game of the NFL season.

It’s quite true. Years from now history will forget, but I won’t — the 2004 San Francisco 49ers were putting street free agents on their defensive line due to injury. For game two they started guys who weren’t in camp with them… or anyone. Ken Dorsey was the quarterback, playing in his first game for Christ’s sake! If you get beat by a quarterback starting his first game, ever, it’s actually indicative of a mess of failures within your organization and Dorsey, to his credit, almost did it.

The 49ers would have won the game if backup running back Jamal Robertson didn’t fumble and give the Saints one more crack with the ball, and even Yahoo didn’t mention it in the recap. The Saints had given up on the season, but an unforced miscue gave them a second chance.

I can’t fully explain how little they wanted to win that game. My brother said once that the team seemed like they were more interested in hitting up the strip clubs and giving each other a hotfoot than actually playing football on Sunday. I saw them play with a lead in the third quarter once in 2004. They acted like a team that was shocked at what time the game started each week. As if they were a disorganized flag football team. Whoa, playing at one o’clock?!! What the-? Is it early this week? Sure coach, I’ll get right to the game, don’t take the coin flip till I get there! Where’s my helmet?

I blamed the coach at the time — Jim Haslett — and his co-ordinators (Mike McCarthy on the offense and Rick Venturi on the defense) and I guess I still do, a little. For years the Saints played like they didn’t get any sleep the night before. It’s funny, seeing Mike McCarthy coach the Packers these days. It’s not as funny seeing our coach in 2008, Sean Payton, abandon the run just as easily as McCarthy did.

Two teams made it in 2004 at 8-8 and it really burns me that my mediocre team wasn’t good enough to be one of them, especially since they beat one of them outright (the Rams). Although! As bad as things were in New Orleans, I’d have hated to have to wish that my Super Bowl draught would end with Mike Fucking Tice at the helm (as Vikings fans would have, in 2004). There is a reason he never got another head coaching job in the league. When I grew up, the Buffalo Bills had a few like that before Marv Levy took over. It really does say it all.

In the end, the 2004 Saints were eliminated in the various tie-breakers because their former kicker — Doug Brien — missed like a 90 yarder that the Jets (who had nothing to play for) had him try against the Rams.  The way that Haslett cut him, I wouldn’t have blamed him if, rather than kick the ball, he simply took off his pants, revealed “FUCK” on his left cheek,  “HASLETT” on the right and hiked the ball himself into his own end zone.

And I will never forget the image of Johnathan Sullivan, the worst player in New Orleans Saints history, watching the game completely stone-faced. I am not going to make a fat guy joke here. Back in 2004 we still had hope.

I have a little bit of hope today, in August of 2008. Not much. Six times the Saints have made the playoffs and once, back in the 90s while I was in high school, I had to work a shift at the Hilton Big M during one of the games. They just don’t go often. It’s also a little funny to see Bobby Hebert win that stupid ESPN poll for “Best Saint of All-Time” considering his selfish contract demands, and subsequent refusal to play in 1990 wasted one of the prime years of the Dome Patrol defense, putting up 6 points in the playoffs against a Bears team that got creamed the next week against the Giants. (We could have been the team that got creamed in the second round that year!!) Hebert wasn’t great, but he would have done a better job than Walsh.

But if the team does do well, it’s important – for me – to remember how much terrible football I watched to get there. 2004 was one of those seasons.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa