Problems with Success?

St. PJ

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In 40 years, we have had one playoff win. How are we, as fans, going to act if the Saints continue to do well? Going into the season, I firmly believed and posted time and time again that the Saints would go somewhere between 6-10 at worst and 10-6 at best. I thought for sure we would start out 3-0 and was nervous about making the worst if we did not. Sitting at 5-1 right now, if we can go .500, we will be 10-6.

Now, of course I am hoping for better. Our coaching staff has already proved capable of gameplanning around our weaknesses and our players have showed that they can overcome adversity and keep focus amiss media distractions like on Monday Night. However, we have a very brutal schedule remaining, with other "good" teams that will be desperate and badly need wins becuase of the pressures and expectations they had going into the season. We have weaknesses in the secondary and an inconsistant run defense. Our offense is a rhythm offense and slow starts have made a few games tougher than need be.

Despite these things and problems like the offensive line and overall defense at the beggining of the season, our coaching staff has been able to offset and mask these things with a very smart gameplan that changes from week to week and stays flexible during games as defenses catch on to what we do. Now, I will take a win any way we can get one. I hope that our team really excels in December, getting on a roll of doing well in all phases of the game.

Once December comes around though, how will we as fans handle the success? I certainly do not think we are conditioned for it considering the Saints history. How high will expectations be for both this year and next? How realistic? How much pressure and hype will both fans and local media put on the team? How much pressure when the National Media coverage continues to grow?

How will the TEAM handle the success? They have stayed focused and disciplined thus far, but will they become complacent once they reach their initial goals and start getting all the attention they will recieve? It is a good thing we have a player like Reggie Bush who is used to playing on the #1 ranked team in the nation, under much the same expectations and pressures. Maybe this makes a big difference in the locker room.

How will Tom Benson handle the success? After our first playoff victory he demanded a new stadium and money from the state. Will he keep his mouth shut and let the fans and the state have what they deserve? Will he be patient and let success come to him as a result of consistantly having a good franchise, season after season? Or will he and this new commish, along with the owners say " The fans showed how much they love their Saints, but post-Katrina New Orleans and Gulf Coast just don't have the corporate viability to help support a proffesional franchise. We gave it a shot, but even in times of success were not able to sell out all of our suites." ?

That is something I worry more than losing. Will Benson use this success as leverage to get more money has he has done in the past? And if he does not get it, will he use that as leverage to move the Saints? Will this new commish keep the pressure on him to stay in NOLA? Or will he sit in the background while this team does well for the next 5 years? Give me your thoughts. Feed back will be appreciated.
 

AARPSaint

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Very thoughtful post. There is a good reason to believe that Payton will keep the team focused on each game. Already, we have seen an improvement in the team surprising to even the most optimistic fan. The overcoming of adversity in the Green Bay game was very impressive. The improvement of the defense is incredible. Drew Brees has also exceeded all expectations and has run the offense brilliantly. The offense is so flexible that even the Ravens' defense will be tested. Barring catastrophic injuries, it is hard to see what could derail the team. They seem almost invincible at home and have won twice on the road, albeit against two weaker teams. Unlike previous years, there is a sense of confidence such that even a loss doesn't make you doubt them.
 

shrike3000

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The good thing about us becoming the darlings of the Media and "America's Team" is it would be a REALLY bad PR move to start any talk of relocation anytime in the next few years, so at least we have bought us a little time. Especially if we keep winnning.

As far as the team dealing with success... I think you made some good points. I do think Reggie's past with USC is an important part in keeping that from happening. All indications are we have an excellent coaching staff, lets hope it is all as good as it seems. A good team knows how to deal with success, such as the Patriots. I like the fact that Payton has said in the past he is aiming for us to be a team very much like the New England or Philidelphia orginazations.
 
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I wouldn't surprise me one bit if Benson uses this sucess to get more money. He has the state right where he wants them. Everytime the governor talks she talks about how much the Saints mean to this state, etc. Benson knows she would look like a fool if she lets them leave after all her talk.

I remember right after 2000 season, after winning the division and winning our first playoff game, Benson started lobbying for a new deal and new stadium and threatening to leave. He'll do it again I'm sure.
 

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