The New Orleans Saints Keep Marching On

On March 14, 2021, 42 year old New Orleans Saints future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees announced his retirement from the game of football. This was a huge moment in history for Saints fans everywhere. After the retirement of Brees, the Saints had to start preparing for next season. In the post Brees era the Saints found themselves deciding between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston for their new starting quarterback.
Training camp started at the end of July and they had their first preseason game on August 14 against the Baltimore Ravens. After losing that game New Orleans went on to win their next preseason game against the Jaguars, and named Jameis Winston their starting quarterback. As they were preparing for their third and final preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, they got news of a hurricane heading toward Louisiana. As things escalated, the decision was made for the game to be cancelled and the team and their families to be evacuated to Texas.
Hurricane Ida made landfall in New Orleans on the 29th of August, which was the 16 year anniversary of hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Ida caused extensive damage to New Orleans and surrounding areas and left many residents without power for 1-3 weeks. During this time the Saints and their families stayed at hotels in Texas and the team practiced at AT&T Stadium. It was very difficult for the players, staff, coaches, and their families to focus on football when their city was in such devastation and they didn’t know when they would be able to go home or what they would go home to.
The Saints then headed to play their first game of the season against the Green Bay Packers in Jacksonville because the Superdome was unable to host them. While the Packers were heavily favored, the Saints came out, put their heads down, played hard and took the W 38-3. Quarterback Jameis Winston threw for five touchdowns, zero interceptions, and did it while only throwing for 148 total yards, which is a NFL record. This also happened to be last year’s league MVP Aaron Rodgers worst game of his career.
Following the win against the Packers, the Saints went on to play the Carolina Panthers in Carolina. Days before this game the team learned that 8 of their coaches would not be able to attend the game due to testing positive for COVID-19, and over 10 of their starters were also out of the game due to injury. Sadly, all of these trials cost them the game against the Panthers and they lost 26-7.
On September 21, 2021 just two days after the Saints loss to the Panthers, the roof of Caesars Superdome caught fire. One news report said, “Doug Thornton, vice president of the company (ASM Global) managing the Superdome for Louisiana, said the fire arose from the “gutter tub” located on the roof’s base. Shortly after 1 p.m., he announced the NOFD had the smoke and flames under control.” (AlBaroudi, 2021). This was yet another setback and trial that the team has had to deal with early this season.
After the devastating loss to the Panthers and the fire at the dome, the Saints regained focus, practiced hard, and went on to play the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. They got the majority of their coaches back and their defense dominated the game, leading them to a 28-13 victory over the Patriots. Their hard work paid off and they came out on top.
Heading into week 4, things seemed to finally be looking up for the Saints. They got to come home to the city and their homes for the first time in over a month, and they were going to be able to play at home in front of a full dome of fans for the first time in over 600 days. The matchup also seemed to favor the Saints as they were slated to play the 0-3 New York Giants. The game started slow but the Saints were able to give themselves a 21-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter. They fell apart in that quarter and allowed the Giants to climb back into the game, eventually tie, and then win in overtime. This loss was devastating and embarrassing for the Saints.
While the Giants handed the Saints a tough loss, they didn’t dwell on it and they took full responsibility. Cameron Jordan, defensive end for the Saints, posted this on Twitter after the game, “Don’t look for excuses… there isn’t any. We’ll break down the tape, Make corrections and get better ASAP. This is what happens when you let a team linger around, this loss on us. #24hrrule #whodat”. (Twitter, 2021). Even with all this difficulty surrounding them, the Saints are committed to getting better and being a bright spot for their city and their fans. No matter what they face, the Saints always keep marching on.

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