Remember the Steeler's game 1993? (1 Viewer)

kfran

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Anyone remember the beginning of the 1993 Season with the Dome Patrol and when we played the Steelers? For those who do, I'm sure you're upchucking all over again at the thought.

We were just coming off of a very strong 12-4 NFC West showing in 2002 ( the 49er's won the division at 14-2), and many were picking us to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl because we were anchored by a Jackson, Swilling, Mills, and Vaughn Johnson led defense.

We started 93' not disappointing anyone's predictions either... We were 5-0 heading into week six against Pittsburg. We were beating teams with Mora's philosophy of a Strong Defense and a ball control offense. Pittsburg wasn't supposed to be a juggernaut in 1993 either.

Unfortunately, we walked into Pittsburg in week six of 1993, and had our hats handed to us by the Steelers.

They weren't supposed to beat us that day, but they did what no one else had done thus far - They stacked the box with 8 and 9 defenders and attacked our offensive strength - our running game with Dalton, Derek Brown, and Lorenzo Neal.

Mora was stubborn (big surprise), and instead of adjusting to the Steeler's schemes ( we had the QB and receivers to do so - an efficient Wade Wilson, along with Eric Martin, Quinn Early, etc.), Coach Mora continued to try and run the ball the whole game - We lost. In fact, we were embarrassed by Rod Woodson and company.

More importantly, the Steelers exposed our offensive weakness - Make us one dimensional (take away our running game), and you can beat the 1993 Saints.

After that embarrassing lost in 3 Rivers Stadium, instead of Mora and Carl Smith adjusting for the remainder of the season, they continued to try to play ball control, and teams were ready for us: They took away our running game, and the result was a very disappointing 8-8 season.

We finished up the final eleven games, 3-8. This was the beginning of the end of the Mora era.

The reason I asked if anyone remembered 1993 is the following:

The circumstances are a little different now, but fast forward to 2006. The surprising 2006 Saints are 5-1, and riding high with a balanced offensive attack, an efficient defense, good special teams, and an EXCELLENT and SMART coaching staff.

All of a sudden the media pundits are jumping on our 5-1 start, and most predict we'll get win number 6 over the recently struggling Ravens at home in the Dome.

The Ravens come in with a very strong defense, hand us those eight and nine men defensive fronts, and stop our running game. We have early costly turnovers and never recover. The result - we lose.

With such a young team, this could be a season defining loss for several reasons:

1.) The Ravens exposed a "perceived" weakness (make us one dimensional and you can beat the 2006 Saints)... 2.) We're not a veteran team and may not be able to mentally overcome this type of loss right now... 3.) The "unknown" - How would we respond for the rest of the season because other teams will definitely try to follow suit with the Raven's success against us.

...Here comes Tampa Bay for the 2nd time this year, and predictably, Gruden's no fool. He saw what Billick did to us the previous week, and the Bucs open up with a 8 and 9 man front on defense to stop our run again.

However, one thing's different this time - These ARE NOT your Jim Mora Saints.

Sean Payton is not only prepared, he's not stubborn either. Realizing what Kiffin and Gruden are preparing to do (take away our run), Payton and his "Montana Like," Pro Bowl Bound, MVP candidate, and SMART quarterback - Mr. Brees - proceed to carve up the Bucs the way Montana, Rice, John Taylor, and Brent Jones used to pick defenses apart.

What the Tampa game really spelled for me was VALIDATION - These are not my father's Saints!!!!!!

There are not many coaches and QBs in the NFL who could have and would have responded like Coach Payton and Drew... Remember, Tampa was coming off of consecutive wins over the Bengals and Eagles, and starting to gain confidence - They were the 2005 NFC South champs.

All of a sudden, with weapons like Colston, Horn, Devery Henderson, Bush, and McAllister, the Saints greatest quarterback ever (yes, I said it)... Mr. Brees and Mr. Payton know that teams can pick their own poison because we'll be ready from here on out.

What also shouldn't be loss in this "Cinderella" 2006 start is the following: While our Saints don't have any marquee names on defense like Champ Bailey, Michael Strahan, Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, etc., this unsung group has very quietly worked its way up to the 10th best defense in the league through the first ten weeks of 2006 to compliment our top 10 offense, solid special teams, and one of the 5 best coaching staffs in the league.

Cinderella season?... In name only. Tell ESPN's John Clayton that the glass slipper didn't break yet, and all indications are, it won't anytime soon. If we can remain relatively healthy, we have as realistic a chance as Chicago or New York does in representing the NFC in Miami, come February.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but I doubt it... Yes, my heart wants to see our Saints do something very special this year, but my football sense also tells me that I'm not crazy to think it's really possible. Only time will tell. There is one glaring difference for me between this Saints team and ANY others - Sean Payton. For me, that second Tampa game, more than any other thus far, was a defining moment for this team. I'll know if I was right over the next few weeks.

Don't make your reservations for Miami yet, but I'd keep the first weekend in February (2/4/07) open.
 

Newkie

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Because of my age, that 1993 season is the first season that I can remember well. And I remember that Pittsburgh game--couldn't watch it live so we taped it and watched it that night.

And, truthfully, after the Ravens game, that was the first thing I thought about--the Steelers game in '93.

This team responded, and responded well. As you said, we have a different type of team and different type of coaching staff on our hands, this season.
 

longtime lurker

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I remember that game being the beginning of the end for the great Saints defense of the late 80s & early 90s.....bitter sweet memories. :(
 

rickyjones

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That was the game we lost 37-14 right? We were down 37-0 and two late garbage TD's make it look like it may have been a game.
 

PcolaSaint

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Damn. You dug deep on that one.

I recall the game vivdly. The Saints played horrible that day and I hated Rod Woodson for at least the next 5 years.
 

wardnine

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Thanks for the post, kfran... definitely brings back some memories. Really, I think it will take a lot more than that win at Tampa Bay to validate us as an elite NFL team... we've had similar early season successes a few times before only to not make the playoffs. If I'm not mistaken, every season we've started with a record of 5-1 or better, we've ended up not making the playoffs (except the '91 season where we started 7-0 and backed our way into an 11-5 record).

Sean Payton appears to be a different breed than the coaches we've had in the past but I swear people were saying the same exact thing about Haslett when he led us to the NFC West title and our only playoff victory in his first season...
 

jcollins9

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What I remember about that game is that they not only packed the box, but jammed our recievers at the line. We coudln't run the ball effectively, and our recievers weren't quick enough or big enough to get off the line without disrupting the rythm of the play. And they weren't fast enough to exploit the CBs playing so tight. This formula proved effective throughout the rest of the season, as most teams we played used it with some success. Wasn't Haslett the D coordinator for Pittsburgh that year?
 

ThibodauxSaint

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I remember that game well. We were off to a 5-0 start after having 11-5 and 12-4 seasons the two previous seasons and then we get crushed by the Steelers 37-14. I also remember the game after that when Hebert came back to the Dome as a Falcon and handed us our 2nd loss in a row. That was the beginning of the end of the Mora era in my opinion.
 
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kfran

kfran

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That was the game we lost 37-14 right? We were down 37-0 and two late garbage TD's make it look like it may have been a game.
Yep, that's the one, rickjones.

We lost the next game to the Falcons... Beat the Cards... Lost 2 in a row to the Pack and the 49er's (Montana mopped us up 42-7)... Beat the Vikes... Then lost 4 in a row to the Browns, Rams, Giants, and Eagles... and limped out of 1993 with a win over the Bengals.

That was one of the worse years of my Saints life because expectations were so high after 92' which ended with a playoff loss to the Eagles - a game we should have one, and Bobby Hebert's last game as a Saint.
 
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kfran

kfran

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What I remember about that game is that they not only packed the box, but jammed our recievers at the line. We coudln't run the ball effectively, and our recievers weren't quick enough or big enough to get off the line without disrupting the rythm of the play. And they weren't fast enough to exploit the CBs playing so tight. This formula proved effective throughout the rest of the season, as most teams we played used it with some success. Wasn't Haslett the D coordinator for Pittsburgh that year?
I believe he was...
 

CP

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No, the DC at Pittsburg that year was Dom Capers. He was only 2 years removed from the Saints staff as DB coach so he was familiar with our personel. Additionally, that was the first game after our Bye week in '93 and Swilling had already been traded (the previous spring) to Detroit. Turnbull was on a tear to set a sack record at that point.
 

ThibodauxSaint

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I don't think Haslett was their defensive coordinator that year. Haslett was OUR defensive coordinator before he went to the Steelers.
 

Bill

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Whenever I think of Saints vs Steelers I think of two games... one was miserable and one was fantastic!!!

As a kid I watch the Saints get manhandled on a freezing cold Monday Night football game in Tulane Stadium. That was during the beginning of the Steelers' dynasty years,... and it showed. We lost something like 26-3.

But I'd rather think of that 1987 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers when the Saints for the FIRST time reached the 8 wins needed to have a winning season. (Yes, it was a strike-shortened 15 games) Of course, that game came in the middle of an unprecedented 9 game win streak which made that season seem almost miraculous!

Here's to hopes of having a great game against the reigning World Champions this Sunday! :9:
 
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kfran

kfran

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Thanks for the post, kfran... definitely brings back some memories. Really, I think it will take a lot more than that win at Tampa Bay to validate us as an elite NFL team... we've had similar early season successes a few times before only to not make the playoffs. If I'm not mistaken, every season we've started with a record of 5-1 or better, we've ended up not making the playoffs (except the '91 season where we started 7-0 and backed our way into an 11-5 record).

Sean Payton appears to be a different breed than the coaches we've had in the past but I swear people were saying the same exact thing about Haslett when he led us to the NFC West title and our only playoff victory in his first season...
I agree with you, wardnine.

I don't consider us as an Elite NFL team right now either (not yet, anyway), but I do consider us to be a very good team through the 1st ten weeks of the season.

Quite frankly, I don't see any "elite" teams in the league right now. There are a couple of top tier teams - IMHO - like the Colts and Pats, but I believe every team in the league has a weakness.

To me, it's even more evident in the NFC. As I stated earlier, with the Giants being banged up on D, it's going to put more pressure on Eli and the Giants' O. I really think that's going to cost them a couple of games.

Nor am I sold on Grossman being able to lead the Bears deep into the playoffs. His inexperience has been exposed twice already,and there are still 8games to play before January.

Considering that the Bear, Giants, and Saints all have top 10 defenses right now, good special teams, and offensive weapons... I really believe it's going to come down to three things:

1.) Injuries, or the lack thereof...
2.) Coaching
3.) Quarterback

Right now, I'd take a Drew Brees lead team into the post season over a Grossman or Eli lead team simply from a performance, experience, and leadership standpoint.

Regarding your reference to Haz, I agree. However, I also believe that our opinion about Haz was skewed during that first season for two primary reasons: First, we were just coming off of three very forgetable Mike Ditka coached seasons, sandwiched between the Mora years of Success, and second, our first playoff win ever under Haz.

I don't think any of us knew what was going on behind the scenes that year with the players. I.E. Willie Roaf's wife, etc.

Beyond that, as time showed, Haz was just as stubborn as Mora when it came to protecting his coaches - Mora = Carl Smith - Haz = Venturri.

In addition, Haz never waivered from his belief that talent always supersedes character - That was his demise, IMHO.

As I also stated, I believe the next 4-5 games will really tell us alot about this team and these coaches, but based on what I've seen thus far, when I looked at how Payton has responded to every obstacle thus far that he's been presented with since taking over the Saints, I don't see any of our other coaches (including Mora) coming away with the same results thus far.

Call me optimistic, but I get the feeling I'm looking at an early Billichek coached Pat's team when I see these Saints.

I also see a young Bill Walsh style coach in Payton - no nonsense, smart, and flexible.

I may be wrong and will have to eat these words, but for me thus far, Sean is the coach that will get us where we're trying to go.
 

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