Thursday, October 22, 2009

When's a good time to mention the U-Word or P-Word?

First up, anytime you can get a bunch of smoking hot chicks dancing around in tuxedo jackets and tight, gold short shorts, it's going to be a good day. I bring this video as a potential peace offering in case what I say is taken the wrong way or misconstrued as my being too harsh and callous.

Yesterday, Dave over at Canal Street Chronicles brought up two words that gave me great pause. No, he didn't say something that rhymes with "Schmooper Schmowl," thank God, but he did use the words "perfection" and "undefeated" when discussing the Saints' prospects for the remainder of this season.

Excuse me....AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! (Jams fingers in ears.) I'm not listening! You can't make me listen! I'm not even paying attention! What are you saying? I can't hear you because I'm not listening! Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah!! (So on and so forth....)

Let us examine the facts here:

--The NFL regular season is 16 games.
--The Saints have played five games, winning them all in impressive fashion.
--The Saints have played less (LESS!) than a third of their regular season games. (31.25% of the season to be exact.)

So basically we have to start this conversation now? Just five games in? You want to toss up a Hail Mary this early?

I know Dave is throwing his trademark "Cautious Optimism" out the window, but I just think it's bit too premature to talk running the table. Obviously, Dave's saving grace is that throws the Molotov cocktail and pivots off the "undefeated" talk to his true purpose for the piece: a comparison between the 2009 Saints and 2007 Patriots. Hey, that's all fine and good; I love statistical comparisons. Shit, throw the 1999 Rams up there for comparison as well!

This brings me to my point: when is it appropriate for fans (and the goddamn national sports media) to start using "perfection," "undefeated," and "16 and 0" in sentences? And yes, I've thought about this since 1998, when the Broncos went 13-0 before losing.

I have tried to find the threshold, the "Tipping Point" if you will, for when discussion of a "16-0" season is appropriate/more realistic.

Let us examine the possibilities:

1. Team starts out 4-0. Hey, it's the first quarter of the season all wrapped up! We made it through unscathed! Let's have some fun and start daydreaming!

Nope. You wouldn't declare victory in a football game (or give serious thought to a win) after the first quarter, would you?

2. You're the last undefeated team standing. Okay, so it's somewhere past the quarter-mark, and your team is The Highlander for right now. Or DragonHeart. I don't know, whichever movie you think works best for my comparison. Anywho, the national talking heads give you a hearty congratulations and then somebody invariably asks, "Yeah, but do you think they can run the table?"

Time out! At this point, no fan should really want to hear the national media become THAT focused on their team, I don't care how successful they're doing. Besides, does a fanbase ever really want to take it's cues from the Mark Schlereths of the world?

Oh, and I'll set the number of times the phrase "in the National Football League" is thrown around at 732 for over/under bets.

3. Team hits 8-0. Hey, season's halfway over, maybe it's time to break out the moonshine!

I love a good moonshine as much as the next guy and while I think 8-0 would be the best starting off point for some fans to talk unbeaten season, this particular milestone just isn't for me. Actually, here's a good rule of thumb for Saints fans: if any non-Saints fan comes up to you and asks, "So you think the Saints can go undefeated?" You should say one of two things: "I don't know, it's gonna be tough" or "Buy me a drink and I'll tell you what I really think." Play it cool, Superman, play it cool.

4. 10-0. Okay, I think this is where I join you. The team's reached double digit wins and for some teams it's the first time in franchise history. Everybody is enjoying life and a playoff berth is likely already clinched or practically assured. So with all that out of the way, why shouldn't the talk go to perfection?

Granted, I would be comfortable starting to talk at this point, but to play Keanu Reeves here, I could understand not talking about it and just hoping "everyone stays healthy" or "I hope Coach Payton knows how much to play this guy or that guy."

5. 11-0 and beyond. Hey, to paraphrase Bill "you're not allowed to make pop culture references only I can!" Simmons, with five games left to win, you're playing with the house's money.

Okay, I'm done. I need a drink.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Go ahead and mention the U-word. This is the first year I believe it's a possibility. Realistically, not completely on board, but I'll admit, with the remaining schedule, it's certainly possible.

But you lose me at perfection. I don't believe any season is perfect, even an undefeated one. Because I haven't seen anything so far that qualifies as "perfect" no matter how good they looked even in last Sunday's game. (And they did look damn good.)