Friday, January 26, 2007

I Met a Great, and He Never Was a Falcon....ppppffffftttttt...

Before the Sugar Bowl, where LSU showed the Notre Dame Flailing Irish why the SEC is the most challenging and competitive NCAA conference in the nation, I met one of New Orleans' finest football heros. The one, the only.....drum roll, please.....the "Cajun Canon," Bobby Hebert.

Bobby Hebert was one of the most loved and successful Saints players in Saints history. He wore #3, and may be remembered for the Seinfeld episode where George had a "what is it with..." moment regarding Bobby's last name. Great success.

Anyhow, I met Bobby at the Sugar Bowl at a tailgate near the Superdome. I ended up walking up to the Dome with Bobby, and the other guys in our party (big ups to my wife's uncle and father, for hooking me up with tickets and the chance to meet the Canon). He was nice enough to take time out of his busy "meet-n-greet" with the LSU and Saints fans alike that day. Believe me, when a local Saint celebrity ventures into public, he gets baraged by many, many people. But, as we walked up the ramps to our gate, Bobby and I shared some football banter. I wish I'd remembered what I told him or what he told me, but some assclown named Jack Daniels caused my brain to fart.

My brother-in-law and I took our seats in the plaza level of the Superdome, next to this very nice, but very rich, high school couple. The chick was really cute, and the guy was nice...but that's neither here nor there. Good times. Moving right along, as the half came upon us, we decided to find our other folks, who were in the WWL 870 suite. We snuck by the "guard" and found our way into the suite. Low and behold, who is waiting for more of my nonsensical blurbing about football? No, not Rachel McAdams or Claire Danes, but Bobby Hebert. Hey, the chubby was just the same. Anyhow, Bobby, myself, and my brother-in-law talked football for the entire second half of LSU's drumming of Notre Dame.

Oh,'re gonna love this. There was a second encounter with Bobby Hebert at Michaul's (by the way, if you get the chance, go there! It's near downtown in New Orleans) during the NFC Championship...and, he actually remembered me. I was giddy...I must admit. Anyhow, Bobby seemed to think that "I know my football" and he really "enjoyed talking to those two kids at the Sugar Bowl." Wow...I was one of those two kids. Plus, he saw my wife and said "you did good." Nice...Bobby thinks the little lady is hot. But, it was his reaction to seeing me--it was like he remembered me or something. Very nice!

To make this long story short (see, I made you read the whole story before you got the Cliff Notes), meeting Bobby Hebert was a highlight of my life. He's a very nice person, and he was a great player for the Saints. I tend to block out the whole Atlanta Falcons part of his career, because that really didn't happen. Just like Morten Anderson never was a Falcon. Nope, never happened--Satanic Fowl assholes.

Bobby has a radio show on WWL 870 AM, and it comes on Monday through Friday at 4:00 pm. Catch it, if you can. He calls people out and tells them he'll "kick your ass." You gotta like that. Thanks for the great memories, Bobby--who never was a Falcon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Womp, Womp, Wooooooommmmppp....

In case you missed it, or live in a bubble, the Saints fell short (well, way short) in their bid to make it to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. Well, they did accomplish making it into their first NFC Championship. Baby steps, steps.

Let's face it--the Bears dismantled us in the latter stages of the third quarter. Coming out of halftime, the Saints stopped the Bears offense and forced a punt. They drove down the field, then had their own drive stall at the Bear 30. Field goal time...remember when a coach was faced with a decision to go for the first down or kick a field goal and that was the only decision he had to make? Those were the good ole days. Now, a coach, specifically those named Payton, had not only that decision, but the hard decision on whether to go with your veteran, near 100% accurate kicker or your lame-ass "big-leg" kickoff specialist kicker. I'm not one to jump all over Sean Payton for his decision making, but this was the most piss-poor decision he's made all season. I guess he decided to save the best for last. Anyhow, Payton trots the world-wide known Billy Cundiff out to attempt a 47 yard field freezing rain...on shitty sod...with the wind in his face. Cundiff's "big leg" got the ball all the way underneath the crossbar. Too bad "almost" only counts in horshoes and hand grenades. Maybe it's just me, but I would think that John Carney would know a little more about kicking in adverse conditions than the placekicking guru Billy Cundiff. Woof.

I think the Cundiff Experiment was the turning point in the game. Most people will point to Drew Brees' "maybe they won't notice that I threw the ball before the line of scrimmage in the endzone" cotastrophe as the turning point, but it was Cundiff's failure to give the Saints the lead that started the momentum swing. Drew's mishap only fortified the Bears' drive to finish us off. And they did...pretty handily.

Well, as Saints fans we have no right to complain about the game. The Saints were picked by many "experts" to hand the first selection card in the NFL Draft to Commisioner Goodell in April. We really screwed the "experts," didn't we?

While the Saints surely overachieved this season, they made good on a few things. The first is that they've made New Orleans a much more attractive spot for free agents. And, with the glaring need at cornerback (*cough* Asante Samuel *cough*) and possibly linebacker and defensive line, it should be much easier to lure free agents into the city to play for the Saints. Have faith, Saints fans....something we've heard all to often. The only thing is that this time, it's different. Faith is real. Hope is strong. The Saints are here and are for real. It's going to be an interesting offseason--one where we might see some of our most well-known guys leave, like Joe Horn and Charles Grant. One where the Saints will pick 28th in the first round of the draft, barring a trade. So, stay tuned. I'll try to post mindless bull squash on what I think the Saints should do and might consider regarding player personnel during the looks to be great fun.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Free Fallin'

In the April NFL Draft of 1996, the Kansas City Chiefs made one of the greatest and special selections in New Orleans Saints history--with their pick in the 5th Round, 135th overall, the Chiefs pointed their arrowheads toward some kid from some "college" called Itawumba Junior College in Fulton, MS. He was a spry young man. He was a wide reciever named Joe Horn.

After spending four mediocre years with the Chiefs wearing #84, Horn signed on with a team in deep with its fans--The New Orleans Saints. Horn signed a three year contract on February 13, 2000. It was a leap of faith for the Saints, and equally so for Horn. In his first four years as a receiver with Kansas City, Joe ammased the following statistics: appeared in 49 games, 53 receptions for 879 yards and 7 touchdowns. To put those totals in perspective, Marques Colston, the 7th Round, 252nd overall pick (from the NCAA powerhouse of Hofstra University) of the Saints in this year's NFL Draft, put these numbers up in only his first year as an NFL player: appeared in 15 games, 75 receptions for 1,093 yards and 8 touchdowns. Remember that Colston was inactive for two games. The 15th game includes last weekend's playoff victory against the Eagles.

As you can see, Joe Horn was the wide receiving equivalent of a football bat--he had no business in the business. However, the Saints, under a new coaching and managerial regime of Jim Haslett and Randy Mueller, took a flyer on Horn and gave him a three year deal and the number 87. The rest, as cliche' idiots say, is history. Horn went on to make his name a household one, appearing in 102 games, piling up 523 receptions for 7,622 yards and 50 touchdowns. Joe was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. He has made countless memories and cell phone calls for the fans of Southeastern Louisiana. He is a New Orleans Saints icon...ranking up there with the likes of Archie Manning, Dalton Hilliard and Morton Anderson. I still don't know what he's trying to accomplish with that first down and touchdouwn dance he does, but it's the best epileptic seizure I've ever seen.

However...this season...this season has been forgettable. In such a season where the Saints have realized everything dream-like, Horn has been an afterthought. Unfortunately, he's been bothered by the same groin problem since early in his Saints career, and can't seem to shake it. I hate to even think the inevitable, but it seems as though one of our most revered Saints is fading, and fading fast. Horn's been out for the latter part of the season--the part where the Saints could have used him most. However, the performance of the receiving corps and the rest of the team on the field has rendered Horn a thought in the back of our minds amidst all the pandelerium and excitement that is this 2006 season. Joe missed last weekend's bout with Philly, after being labeled "questionable" on the injury report. He's "questionable" again:

Payton said wide receiver Joe Horn, who has missed the last five games — including the team’s playoff win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week — participated in a portion of team drills Wednesday.

Horn had missed every practice since Jan. 8 because of a partially-torn groin and is questionable for Sunday’s game with the Bears.

“I felt like I was running pretty good today, it was good running out the routes,” said Horn, a four-time Pro Bowl pick. “I have to show coach Payton that I’m 100 percent and that I can go. He wants badly for me to play, but I have to show that I’m ready running wise.”

Guh. Partially torn groin? Is there such a thing? I think that's like being "kinda" preagnant. Will Joe Horn return this weekend? It's "questionable." Will he return if the Saints make a Super Bowl charge? Again, it's "questionable." Will he return to form next year in that familiar Saints #87? I'm loathe to admit it...but, it's "questionable."

There is no "question," however, on the fact that despite his murky future for the remainder of the year and his Saints career, Joe Horn is one of the most loved, cherished, and fun players I've ever watched in a Saints uniform. We love you, Joe. And we sincerely hope you can work on that groin and get back to your old self again, instead of just being old. In any event, no one will ever wear the #87 in Saints black and gold again...unless it's Joe himself.

8-Bits are All We Need

So, the geniuses over at Thunder Matt's Saloon have played out the NFC Championship game between our beloveds and the Chicago Assclowns. Using the finest in technology, an NES and duct tape, they've found that the "8-bit" Saints, as they call them, win the "8-bit" NFC Championship 28-10 over da "8-bit" Bearsssss and head to the "8-bit" Super Bowl in early February. If the duct tape holds, they'll end up playing the "8-bit" New England Patriots.

Well, that's all well and good. Hey, if a regular Nintendo knows who will reign supreme, you think ESPN can get it right...right? Mmm-hmm. We'll see.

So, that's it, right? We don't have anything to worry about. Nah...I think it'll be a tough game for the Saints. Even though Sexy Rexy (that's just not right) is a complete basketcase, the defense of the Bears is really what scares me. I'm not worried about their offense. We've seen enough of Moose to even care, and anybody else on the receiving corps is almost a cadaver. The offensive line is solid at center, but Hollis is back and he proved how valuable he is in the Divisional Round against Philly. My "where the hell have you been" player of the game is going to be Charles Grant. Big #94 will need to prove his worth to the franchise, or else we'll be looking to free agency, the draft, or Rob Nincovich to fill his void next year. Hopefully, Grant will come up big on Sunday. If not, happy trails, you rasta-headed freak. (Not "freak" in a bad way, but in a good way...huh?)

It will come down to the weather and the Saints' offensive line and running backs vs. the Bears' front seven. We all know about Urlacher and Briggs. Urlacher is a great football player, and he strikes fear into every Bears opponent. However, these aren't the same ole Saints. They could have folded many times this year. The only defense that remotely compares to the one they play on Sunday is....ummmm....the Ravens. And, we all know how well that played out, right? Woof. But, in that game, the Saints were fresh (or rotten) off a bye and they came out overwhelmed and flat. The Ravens just simply overmatched them and the offense had no idea that holding on to the football was a good thing. It was tough to watch.

So, after all this in-depth knowledge and scrupulous break-down of Sunday's matchup I've just spewed for you (quit laughing), my gut tells me be careful...don't get your hopes up. But, this is a special Saints team. There's something intangible that always keeps this team in the game, no matter the conditions. The weather (click here) for Sunday at Soldier Field is supposed to be near freezing with expected snow flurries. Yay...can't wait. You can say that these guys are professionals and should be ready for anything, but you have to liken the Saints in the snow to Bubble Boy in the middle of the Outbreak movie...not good. We'll have to see...hopefully, we'll be seeing a lot of this:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Welcome to "The Dome is Haunted"

Well, first off I'd like to welcome anyone (and by "anyone," I mean "breathing persons who are able to read, and want to read about New Orleans Saints gobbledy-gook) to "The Dome is Haunted."

This is my first post on my first ever published blog, and I will admit that I have no idea what I'm doing. This should be loads of fun for me and for you. Yeah, oodles even. Okay, so the point of my ramblings on this site will be mostly geared towards fun-hearted, but serious jib-jab about New Orleans Saints football. For your convenience, I will include some information about the Chicago Cubs--yeah, I'm somewhat deeply scorched to be an avid follower...scratch that...avid woodenheaded follower of these two storied sports franchises. In fact, many folks would agree that I belong in a home somwhere chasing winged pink elephants and daydreaming about the good ole days when Uncle Ned would rub my belly and whisper sweet nothings in my rear...wha?

Seriously, this blog will mostly revolve around all that is Sainthood and Who Datedness...or something. I hope that we can all get along here. This blog will strictly be my opinion on what happens in Who Dat Nation, sprinkled with a little humor (we hope, right?) and a dash of crazy. You've been warned.

A little bit about my crazy self....I was born in the beautiful metropolous of Thibodaux, Louisiana. I grew up on sports like Chinese kids grow up on rice...or something to that effect. Every afternoon was a sporting event. Football, baseball, or basketball. So, I eventually grew to idolize the Saints, thanks in part to their crack-like addiction to being all things futile. I'm just going on past record here, folks. Okay, so I love the Saints. My grandfather routinely watched the Saints and he had to have me by his side. So, I was grandfather gave me the heroine-like affinity ($10 word of the day, right there) for Saints football...thanks, Paw.

So, let me welcome the blog that is haunted by this chucklehead's grandfathers....and to the Death Dome. Let's hope that the Superdome becomes laced with the demented afterthoughts that are the opponents of the Saints. They will always remember...The Dome is Haunted.