As you know by now, the Saints will host the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in a game that will break the tie for the NFC’s top seed. Both teams are 10-2 after the Niners lost at Baltimore and the Saints avenged an earlier loss by defeating the Falcons Thanksgiving night. Beating the Falcons anytime, especially after that Week 10 upset, is sweet, but I was looking ahead to this week for a special reason. I hate the 49ers.
I had a great idea a few weeks ago, right after Drew Brees cracked his thumb on a Ram horn and was staring at a 6- to 8-week rehab. The scenario went this way: We knew Teddy Bridgewater would replace Brees during a very difficult stretch of the schedule. After all, the local heroes had fallen a game behind the Rams and then had to travel to Seattle where the Seahawks almost never lose to good teams. Then the Cowboys would come to town spitting vinegar that this is – finally – their year. Tampa Bay was up next and was scoring more points than Wilt Chamberlain’s Warriors, then the Saints hit the road again for games at Jacksonville and Chicago where the Bears were another 2018 playoff team.
If Teddy Bridgewater has achieved anything this season, he has added another feather in Coach Sean Payton’s genius bonnet. If Payton had not pushed the re-signing of the free agent quarterback after last season, the Saints might not be at 5-1 today and a favorite to make the Super Bowl. Of course, with Pope Francis inadvertently expressing his blessing on the Saints this week, Who Dat Nation is trying to enlist the Pontiff to use his spiritual influence to speed up Drew Brees’ recovery and send Bridgewater back to the bench.
A remarkable thing occurred this past weekend that should have raised the eyebrows of any fan who has questioned the skill, the intentions and probably the heritage of NFL game officials. On Saturday, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association reached agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement that goes through the 2025 season. The current deal was set to expire next May. No information was given on improved methods of training or rules reviews or even the hands-off conversation of full-time officials. Nothing other than the subliminal news that the quality of officiating you have been seeing is the same quality of officiating that you will be seeing forthwith.
Refs try to rub it in, but this time Saints prevail
The first week of the NFL season has come and gone, and not much has changed. The Browns are still terrible, the Patriots are still dominating, we still have whack-jobs by the basketful, and game officials still shoot themselves in the foot, as we saw on Monday Night Football.
If the name Steve Scaffidi doesn’t ring a bell, just picture the old silent movie clip of the bulldog who grabs the pants leg of a bank robber and won’t let go until the police arrive. That isn’t too far off the New Orleans filmmaker’s goal, which is to grab the pants leg of Roger Goodell and hold on until the whole story behind the infamous no-call that may have cost the Saints a Super Bowl championship is told. And Scaffidi wants to tell it.
How much longer can Drew Brees defy the age line?
I am writing this missive while sitting on a heating pad. I was lacing up my golf shoes this morning when I felt a twinge in my left side along the belt line. It wasn’t bad but it was annoying, especially since I had already completed my stretching followed by my three-mile Old Fartlek run-walk-run, all without incident.
Last week, a reporter for a local television station called, asking my reaction to the Saints’ $100 million, five-year extension for WR Michael Thomas. Of course, he didn’t get me the first time he called - I was on the golf course and the phone was muffled - so he left a message. That gave me some time to think about it, so after I finished playing I went home to prepare before I called him back.
by Jim Miller The Pelicans' hiring of David Griffin as GM and head of basketball operations has a chance to be the best hire for a New Orleans sports team since Jim Finks in 1986. The reason? Because Griffin is the first GM since Finks to come to New Orleans with a proven record at assembling championship teams.
I’ve known quite a few owners of professional sports teams over the years. Like any cluster of human beings with similar interests, owners run the gamut from solid citizens to those who compel you to count your fingers after you shake their hand. I bring this up after Bob Kraft, owner of the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, was charged last week with frequenting a massage parlor where, for the bargain price of $79 an hour, he apparently enjoyed the pleasures of ladies specially trained in pleasuring horny old men. For an even better bargain price of zero, local sporting fans are taking great pleasure in Kraft’s dilemma, only because it puts their favorite sports commissioner, Roger Goodell, in a precarious position.