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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Deja Who Dat?

The Daily Hat Trick has, more or less, been retired since late 2014. Changes in life, new opportunities, and new family dynamics have made it prohibitive to produce regular content, though I am very thankful for the roughly four-plus years of regular readers that visited the Hat Trick. While this post is not likely to be read by all but a handful of Facebook friends and Twitter followers (as the search standing of a dormant blog PLUMMETS) a handful of topics have compelled me to come out of hibernation.

Who knows? Perhaps a handful of you still check every once in a while to see if there is new Hat Trick content. The Daily Hat Trick still gets a little more than twenty hits per day (twenty more than the author gives it) and I thank those of you who still check out the oldies!


Most recently, the Daily Hat Trick remembered sports figures who passed away in 2016, commented on the 25th anniversary of Magic Johnson's HIV announcement, and the nonstop hot water the the New England Patriots and Tom Brady stayed in because of the "Deflategate" scandal.

About a month ago, I could never have imagined seriously writing on this subject. However, I've stopped laughing at the thought as a fan's optimism. It is worth discussing among serious sports fans: the New Orleans Saints are legitimate Super Bowl contenders in 2017.


The Saints started 0-2 with consecutive, and convincing, losses to the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots (two of a small number of other serious contenders to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February). The same old story was playing out: great offense led by a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees and a mad scientist offensive mastermind on the sideline in Head Coach Sean Payton...a defense that--due to inexperience, bad chemistry, lack of discipline and maybe a lack of talent--could not stop a runny nose, let alone an NFL offense.

Then it started to happen. The defense began getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Rookie cornerback and Saints 2017 first round draft pick Marshon Lattimore's pro talent began to visibly blossom more with each passing week. Injured players returned to--and remained in--the lineup. The offense, already potent, appeared to be more in sync with passing weeks.

An unexpected, must-win, road victory over the favored Carolina Panthers, NFC South champions in two of the last three seasons, kept the Saints on life support. The patient could then breath on his own and was released from the hospital after a shut out win over the Miami Dolphins in London. Utter destruction of an offensively potent Detroit Lions team put the Saints noses above the .500 water level for the first time since 2013. "Maybe they won't suck this year," I thought.

Adrian Peterson doesn't have Sean Payton to scream at, anymore. 2

After a stroke of misfortune for the Green Bay Packers--Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, ending his season--becoming the good fortune of the Saints, who would visit the Packers on the following Sunday, the Saints have looked like, and played like, one of the best teams in the NFL this season.

During nearly every sports team turn-around story, there is a moment in which an observer thinks, "This is a different team...this team is 'for real'." For this blogger, that moment came this past Sunday. The Saints went to visit the Buffalo Bills, a (then) 5-3 team, loaded with defensive talent, which takes the ball away from opponents as well as any team in the league. They utterly demolished the Bills, leading by as many as 44 points the Saints' largest margin of victory away from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since 1987.

Last Sunday's win made a statement for a number of reasons. The Saints were away from home. Drew Brees threw for fewer than 200 yards and did not throw a touchdown pass; the running game was dominant. The defense only allowed three points until the final two minutes of the game. Buffalo has a winning record. This is the Saints seventh consecutive win, their longest winning streak since 2011 (arguably their best, ever, regular season in the 51-year history of the franchise).

Saints running back Mark Ingram even had time to have a beer with the fans. 1

The Saints only won seven games in each of the last three seasons and have already matched that total. The Saints still have seven regular season games remaining, including contests at the Los Angeles Rams (7-2), hosting the Carolina Panthers (7-3), and home-and-away matchups against their archrivals, the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. They are in a great position, but have ensured nothing at it relates to the postseason. For any of the efforts of the last two months to matter, they have to continue winning, especially within their division.

Still, there is a momentum and an optimism surrounding the Saints that only happens, to this degree, once every few years. This is only the seventh time in the franchise's half-century history in which it has started a season this well through nine games. Super Bowl talk is not far fetched.

Need more proof? Today, I saw the first new Saints Super Bowl song and video that I've seen in several years. Who Dat!

Actually, this is a few years old, but it's new to me.

Video from
1) Image from
2) Image from

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