Unbeliever

19 Sep

“The man refuses to believe that what he is told is true. He asserts that he is either dreaming or hallucinating, and declines to be put in the false position of fighting to the death where no “real” danger exists. He is implacable in his determination to disbelieve his apparent situation, and does not defend himself when he is attacked by the champion of the other world.

Question: Is the man’s behavior courageous or cowardly?”

- Stephen R. Donaldson, Lord Foul’s Bane

Every football fan is different, but there are patterns of behavior that we all follow, common theories to which we subscribe, formed from a need for explanation or comfort or a masochist desire to punish oneself, ostensibly for liking the wrong team when he or she was 10 years old and dooming himself or herself to a life of pain. I mean, if we’re going to be melodramatic. It’s been a melodramatic week, so why the hell not?

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The Fool Saint

12 Sep

 

“He is the fool saint,
The golden stranger living forever
On the edge of reason.
Let your guard fall and he is there!
His crimson peace and sovereign pallor
Strike into our universe on prophetic webs
To the verge, of a quiet glance — there!
Out of bristling star-jungles:
Mysterious, lethal, an oracle without eyes,
Catspaw of prophecy, whose voice never dies!”

- Frank Herbert, “The Ghola’s Hymn,” Dune Messiah

Wait, is there a pattern here? Oh, yes. Yes there is. I won’t bother explaining all the ways “The Fool Saint” works as a title this week, because if you haven’t read Dune and Dune Messiah (yes, Messiah too) it isn’t even worth it. Seriously, what the fuck, people?

Last week I made a prediction:

“…every week will bring a new thing, an event you haven’t seen before; most of them will be great, some unpleasant, but all memorable.”

Nailed it!

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Stuff Your Eyes With Wonder

29 Aug

 

“‘Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,’ he said, ‘shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.'”

-Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451

 

Hi. Sorry about that whole not-posting-during-the-entire-preseason thing. Historically, my preseason blog posts are uninspired and unentertaining. So, you know, fuck that.

I pledged this year to wait until after the final game. There were too many non-football Distractions – Hard Knocks, work, life, preseason games – to focus properly on the season ahead. Now that the fake stuff is over, it’s time to get ready for the real thing.

So here we are. I’ll spare you the boring stuff; only one preseason game really serves as any kind of an indicator (as much as any preseason game can) and the GOAT over at Girod Street Endzone covered it better than I ever could have. The last game, a game Wang once called the final fake-ass dog and pony show of the lyingest month of them all, is utterly worthless. Here, without bothering with a proper segue, is the pre-preseason post from SaintsWin, in case you missed it. And with that, I move on.

The real thing is just over a week away, and the real thing promises to be glorious. The season ahead, ladies and gentlemen, is the shit dreams are made of. Of course it’s easy for any fan to get excited when everyone’s undefeated and hope springs eternal and other appropriate but painful clichés, but I sincerely cannot remember a team that was quite this exciting this very early in the process.

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Hard Knocks, Episode 1

5 Aug

I’m too drunk to write anything. Here’s my notes. I’ll write things about football after the football Friday. This is The Year.

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A Broken Window Never Closes

18 Apr

I wasn’t going to write until after the draft. I don’t get into player study, or game tape analysis, or whatever the hell we’re calling it now. This isn’t going to be about the draft, though.

Today, I realized something. Something happened this offseason. Something momentous. Something world-changing. And we fucking missed it. It happened so quietly, amid a cacophony of offseason changes, that we didn’t even realize a single man had fundamentally altered a paradigm that we take for granted every March, April, May – we missed a shift in the very structure of football’s competitiveness. Parity has been stricken a paralyzing blow without anyone taking notice.

Loomis broke the fucking window.

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The Payton Way

8 Mar

Rough day yesterday.

We talk about the business of football, and how players can’t stick around forever, and the Youth Movement, and some douchebags make annoying references to the mythological Patriot Way; the list of justifications are long, and mostly true. That doesn’t make it any easier when guys like Lance Moore and Darren Sproles are sent packing. That shit hurts, and some of us need a little time to process.

So last night, we flooded social media, we drank heavily, we made jokes. Everything’s going to be okay, we told ourselves. This regime knows how to rebuild, of course. The Great Roster Purge of 2014 is hard to watch, but this staff started with a lot less in February of 2006, and the Saints reached the NFC Championship Game that year. My faith in Loomis remains strong.

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Still Alive

10 Jan

For one more week, the dream lives on.

I won’t spend too many words rehashing the Eagles game. It was glorious, it was a supreme change of pace from everything we’ve come to expect from the Payton regime, and the fact that, once again, a historic victory came in the final seconds of regulation was just exactly what we should have expected.

Again, I find myself saying that same old thing: “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Those seven words, uttered with such frequency this year, indicative of a selective hindsight that is blind to the alternate misery and elation that fill the three-plus hours preceding, may, should everything turn out the way we all dream, come to symbolize the entire season of 2013.

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What If?

3 Jan

Sean Payton, master psychologist.

I know, I already declared this season dead. Why am I here then?

Because everything has changed. All of it.

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Fear The Reckoning

27 Dec

Saints fans gather in preparation for Sunday. Pestilence not pictured.

It’s pretty rare that I post twice in one week, but I feel like my Ralphian Doom post from Monday needs a follow-up.

As the week wears on, I feel a glimmer of hope. I fight it vigilantly but it’s still there, no matter how hard I will it away, eating at the back of my mind. Maybe everything could go right Sunday. The Saints just don’t lose at home, not this year. And the other things we’re asking for aren’t THAT farfetched, are they?

This mindset bothers me. It fills my soul with a powerful fear. Not at the potential heartbreak Sunday, but at the consequences should we get our wish.

What are we asking for here? I ask of you your perfect scenario, and your answer is likely something like:

1. Panthers loss
2. Saints win
3. Seattle loss
4. 49ers win
5. Cowboys win

See, the first four give us a 2 seed, relegate the Seahawks to a wildcard, and create a worst-case NFC Championship Game scenario of at San Francisco, something we could like, totally handle probably. Number 5 there is the backup plan, in case the first 4 don’t happen, giving us the most beatable road opponent in the NFC for the wildcard round.

I’ll start with number 1.

Nothing good can come of rooting for the Falcons. Today I see Saints fans on Twitter using #RiseUp, and an instinctual dread comes over me. This is how our unintelligent mammalian ancestors felt when they heard the rustle of leaves that indicated the approach of a large predator. Sentience is hardly necessary to feel fear at the presence of something unholy and vicious. The realization of our dreams of a division championship, I warn you, is no less dangerous than a velociraptor.

I do not intend to change your mind when it comes to rooting interests as I root along with you: I want nothing more than a division title and a first-round bye, and most importantly, home playoff game(s).

But we ask these things of the football dieties with knowledge of what came before. It is easy, for a superstitious fan, to believe that bountygate and the 49ers game and EARTHMODE BEASTQUAKE and this year’s road woes and even, perhaps, the circumstances that led to the multiple blasphemies taking place this weekend, all are punishment for whatever terrible deal we made in 2009.

If a championship season results in this kind of punishment, then, consider the full spectrum of gifts we ask of the NFL this Sunday.

We hope, in that perfect scenario, that we are elevated to a 2-seed, and arguably, the favorite to win the NFC, as a result of wins by the Falcons, Rams, and 49ers. 1990s me weeps. Should this occur, and should it lead to an improbable Super Bowl run, the payment will be biblical. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I do not pretend to understand what the football equivalent of swarms of locusts and rivers of blood may be, but I fear it. I fear it with all my heart.

So beware Sunday if you find yourself celebrating an unlikely Falcons win without reservation. Enjoy it, because it truly would be a gift. Enjoy it greatly while you can. Pray that it results in a championship while we’re temporarily blessed. Because it will not last forever. Retribution will be harsh, if not swift.

Rise Up, and may God help us all.

Pull the Plug

23 Dec

Saints Left Tackle Terron Armstead (72) goes up against Panthers Defensive End Greg Hardy (76) during second-quarter action at Bank of America Stadium Sunday.

 

“‏get this fucking season over with” – @JuanScroates

Indeed. Make it stop.

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