Jim W. Miller's New Orleans Saints blog column:
In the halcyon days of seven-day newspapers, I covered an NFL team that was usually out of contention for post-season honors by Thanksgiving. Sometimes by Halloween. As a practical matter, they were probably out of it by Labor Day, but their legions of loyal fans would not admit it as they went through the motions of masochism. After each loss, the ink-stained wretches of the press would dutifully ask the players about how they could continue to toil through another losing season even as they gave up their sugar plum dreams of post-season play and championship glory. The standard answer, which becomes a cliche to losing teams, is "we are playing for pride."