Is It 2013 Yet?

2 Jan

Well, kind of, I guess.

Sorry I’ve been MIA (again). Holidays and family and other real people who required interactions not facilitated by the internet, and all that. Plus, you know, it’s hard to write a whole thing when your last thing was about how you were right all along and the thing you’re supposed to be writing about was a pretty damning piece of evidence against the rightness of the thing you spend a thousand words crowing that you were right about.


Of course, I never said the defense wasn’t bad (although it’ll be characterized that way by certain twitter assholes). But I did think that they were getting better, that they were better than we thought they were, that they had the ability to be a little more good and less claw-my-fucking-eyes-out atrocious, and the Tampa game did prove that, and in spite of 14 points in like 12 seconds (that’s how it felt) and in spite of Johnny Patrick not being able to cover a guy who is literally laying down in the endzone with 00:00 left to play, and in spite of everything that happened in the miserable three hours this past Sunday, that remains true.

The defense has demonstrated the ability to shut down good offenses, and once that’s done, it doesn’t go away. Which makes some other performances (about 10 or 11 of them) nothing short of baffling.

How can a defense that’s capable of shutting out an NFL team – no, fuck you, any NFL team, because it’s an accomplishment any time it happens – allow the most yards of any team in history?

One can’t help but wonder how a defense that’s absolutely, without a doubt, better than the worst thing that’s ever taken the field (since the worst defense ever wouldn’t be capable of the Atlanta and Tampa games, among others) manage to achieve the dubious honor of being the one that every fucking idiot who believes that one isolated stat can be defined qualitatively as the measurement of half the players on an NFL team labels the worst in history.

No, fuck you, that sentence was correct.

It does irritate, that willingness to take a yardage measure and define it as the end-all of defensive quality – it’s a stupid notion that widdles fifty fucking percent of a football team down to a statistical mark that doesn’t appear on any scoreboard, and it’s the mark of laziness and oversimplification of fucking everything in football Legitimate Journalism / Fandom. No need for any analysis here, seven thousand and something means worst ever!

The Saints’ defense allowed the most yards of any defense ever. That’s terrible. But it does not equal “worst ever.”

However, it is terrible, no matter how it happened, and no matter the result. To be clear: I’m not saying the defense isn’t eye-wateringly bad. That stat-equals-hyperbole shit just gets on my fucking nerves, and I needed to get that off my chest.

The last two games did more than prove some anonymous member of the Illegitimate Media painfully wrong about the supposed turnaround of the Saints defense – it proved that something worse is going on. It doesn’t negate the steady progression that we witnessed with little exception from game 5 to game 14. This two-game atrocity was an atrocity of its own; it is a new trend, and it’s telling of more than a lack of talent or a failure of coaching and scheme.

Disclaimer: Here ends the portion of this post that was not edited the morning of posting (1/1/13).

Allow me to explain. The original version of this post, which I planned to clean up and put out there on the internets today, continued in this fashion for about 200 more words. I explained, in a paragraph or two, how talent and coaching can’t be completely to blame (or that you can’t blame just one or the other) for a collapse like this, that the roster was once again riddled with pussies, that the team just gave up. I offered some evidence from the Carolina game that this was, in fact, the case.

And then I went on to tell a story. You know what? I’m going to tell it anyway. See, the last game of the season I had a couple extra tickets to give. I hooked up a buddy of mine who has a nine-year-old kid who has never seen the Superdome. Awesome, right? I was ten when I saw my first game in the Dome, when the Dome Patrol put a little whooping on Mark Rypien and the Redskins on a Monday night. I’ll never forget it.

So we took the kid along for his first trip. He made some new friends at the tailgate, threw around a football, and predictably got bored at some point while most of the adults (excepting the designated drivers and designated babysitters of course) got drunk and had a blast. We treated this game like any other; we got out there at eight in the morning, we cooked up some good food, we drank, we talked with our tailgating neighbors.

Even on a meaningless Sunday at the tail end of a shitty season, friends, there’s no place I’d rather spend my morning.

It was cool to see the wonder in the kid’s eyes at the size of the place, the ridiculous distance to the other side of the terrace (the people are so tiny!) and the coolness factor of being in the building for an NFL game which we all take for granted sometimes. Dad took the kid down to the plaza, and they watched a few plays from some empty seats. Great day. Except, you know, for the game.

Again, a kid made me aware of what I take for granted sometimes when I talked to him at the car as we waited for traffic to clear. “Glad you had a great time, buddy. Sorry they lost.” His response: “Yeah, that sucked! But it was a lot of fun though!”

Perhaps I should gain a little self-awareness from that comment. Maybe my inability to relate to his enjoyment of that catastrophe should wake me up to the fact that I’m just a little too involved in this silly game if I can’t enjoy a day at the Dome. Maybe, just maybe, I should step back and reevaluate this ridiculous obsession.

No such luck. I just smoked, and rehydrated, and mourned the end of the nightmare that was 2012.

The nightmare is over, and we can look forward. To Payton’s return, whenever Goodell feels that should happen. To the draft: may it produce a pass rusher. To training camp and the preseason: where we hope, illogically, for that mythical, mediocre, middle of the road defense that could be enough to get us to a Super Bowl.

To motherfucking September, people. 2013 is going to be great.

But, if I’m to be honest, 2012 will be missed in some ways. Every season for every fanbase is unique; no two teams are quite the same. However, we’ve experienced something truly unique in so many aspects that we can claim a year of football fandom entirely different, in fundamental ways, from anything any group of fans has ever experienced/tolerated/enjoyed/suffered. I’ll never forget it, not one minute of it, and that’s something to be cherished for better or worse.

2012 really sucked. But it was a lot of fun though.

See what I did there, how I wrapped it all up? Nice, huh? I liked that post. I acknowledged a little crow, bitched a little, and then shined a little positive light on the future. It was fun to write. But before I could proofread, Larry Holder dropped a fucking bomb.

It negated all that shit I wrote about the team giving up in the Panthers game, and it explained a few things (the obvious one, as many have already pointed out, would be the Mack-Spags blowup on the sideline). It proved that as much as we’d like it to be, 2012 just isn’t over yet. It’s hanging around for a few more sucker punches. 2012 is a bastard asshole. 2012 is that fucking guy who doesn’t know when it’s time to go home. You need to lay down, 2012. No! Fuck that! One more drink! Did you see the way that guy looked at me? 2012 is the guy who gets you thrown in jail. That motherfucker.

Here’s the link. And here, for your convenience and for maximum impact, is the entirety of Anonymous Defensive Player’s comments as quoted by Larry Holder, in one paragraph:

Trust me all the guys were being politically correct this season when answering questions. It’s bad. To give up what we gave up can’t be all talent. Look at where his units (have) been ranked before. I think one top 10? Players have no say in anything. It was (a) complete opposite from before where it was a simple D that players had lot of control and say. We couldn’t suggest (expletive)…Nothing ever changed. It was his way only. Don’t even get me started on lack (of) ability to adjust during games. Bad, bad, bad. (It was) tough putting on a supportive, everything-will-be-OK face, for you guys (the media) all the time. He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap. (Spagnuolo has) no patience and zero personality. (He) has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. (I) think it’s even harder after having (former defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams), who guys enjoyed.

Yikes. My first thought when reading this? This dude can’t be alone. I hate when players bitch without putting their names to things, but I don’t think that’s exactly all this is. This was too thorough. It was timed perfectly a day after Black Monday concluded, and before everyone’s attention was completely drawn to the playoffs this weekend. Anonymous Defensive Player believes he’s speaking for the entire squad, without caveat. He refers nine times to “players” and “we” and the “guys”, with only a single “me.” This fucking thing was a prepared, rehearsed statement, make no mistake. He mentions Gregg Williams in comparison. He addresses the fact that players have been supportive of Spags. He talks to the media about talking to the media.

If this is one guy’s gripes, he’s experienced with careful legal statements and media manipulation. That’s what I’m saying. But I don’t think it’s one guy.

I think it’s all the guys, who elected a spokesman to play this through the media. They’ll have their chance with Payton, of course. But there are a couple big names out there now, right? Right, Lovie?

The message had to go public. The identity of the messenger is irrelevant, because the message comes from the defense as a whole.

If that’s true, then it’s worth pointing out the brutal irony in the fact that hate for Spags has gotten the defense on the same page and working together better than Spags ever did.

Update: Looks like Vilma’s not happy with the Anonymous Defensive Player. So maybe it’s not 100% agreement. Of course, lack of unity does not preclude a majority. I’ll go out on a limb and say we’ll probably hear more about this.

Of course, I’m only speculating. Maybe Anonymous Defensive Player is one bitchy guy and all the rest of the players are all #smh this morning. But I’ll say this: if I’m right (and I think it’s not just me this time), if this isn’t just one guy but a coordinated team maneuver, Spags gotta go. He has to go now.


And then maybe 2012 will really be over. Finally. I can’t wait. Because it sucked so fucking bad.

But, hell, it sure was a lot of fun though.

3 Responses to “Is It 2013 Yet?”

  1. Himself January 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I need to read yours before I post mine. We came to the same conclusions, but yours sounded…angrier, somehow.

    • The Angry Who Dat January 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Hadn’t even seen yours. Thought you had called it quits for a while. Welcome back!

      • Himself January 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

        Well, I called a hiatus to REGULAR posts. When something happens that’s really interesting, I’m still on it. And this is interesting. I would bet that Payton is steamed right now…and it’s a race between “who is the little rat?” and “what the fuck has Spagnuolo done to MY TEAM!?”

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