by Jim W. Miller
You can look at the Saints’ excommunication of Junior Galette from different points of view and all come to the same conclusion. Good riddance! Opinions are like a left elbow - everybody has one – but how each of the affected constituencies greeted the team’s sudden termination of the team's sacks leader tells a lot about Galette’s impact on last year’s 7-9 record and this year’s prospects as well. The pertinent points of view in the Galette case boil down to these three: The fans, the locker room and the organization.
As an amateur yet enthusiastic historian armed with the luxury of hindsight, I can conclude that John Paul Jones would have made one helluva NFL commissioner. Jones was the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War and is called by some as the father of the U.S. Navy. However, his eligibility to lead the most popular sporting enterprise in the modern nation has less to do with leadership than with the proper use of tactics. John Paul Jones knew that when facing an enemy intent on blowing you out of the water, it is wise to employ a fundamental naval defensive tactic: Do not expose your broadside.
by Jim W. Miller
I don’t know many people who laugh at funerals, but pardon me while I chuckle at the reaction from Who Dat Nation over the Saints’ trade of TE Jimmy Graham to Seattle on Tuesday. No, change that “TE” identification to “Icon” with a capital “I” because if you polled Saints’ fans before about 3 p.m. Tuesday, Graham would have been listed at No. 2 current “Saint of Saints” behind QB and Icon Drew Brees.
Our modest attempt at literature is not only intended to inform but to educate our readers. Today’s lesson is about certain Sporting Absolutes that periodically arise with the persistence and joy of Type A flu. These are things that are bad but people in and around the games persist in doing them anyway. For example, a Sporting Absolute with local impact is: Never wear the opponent’s colors into LSU’s Tiger Stadium. You will be abused, threatened and possibly assaulted. That one comes from personal experience.
Despite being the mild, low-key guy that I am, I do not often refuse the opportunity to appear on one of the local sports programs. The local TV guys like Doug Mouton (WWL), Rob Masson (WVUE), Fletcher Mackel (WDSU), and their colleagues always give me an opportunity to push whatever book project I am working on in exchange for my thoughts on the issue of the moment. So it was uncharacteristic of me on Wednesday night and Thursday morning to turn down three offers to come in and comment on Tom Benson’s surprising announcement that when he passes on he is leaving the city’s two beloved sports franchises to his wife Gayle.
Okay, so you still are walking around mumbling about what happened to the Saints’ once-promising season. You recall a formerly trustworthy pundit who happens to inhabit this space predicting a possible Super Bowl appearance. Even after slogging to a 2-4 record, loyal Who Dats rationalized by saying three of those losses came by a total of six points and just as easily could have gone the other way.
In a desperate attempt to figure out this whacky NFL season from the local perspective, I went right to America’s most popular source for answers to puzzling questions. I went to Google and punched in “teaser.” In only .35 seconds, I received 23,400,000 possible answers, and I began sorting through them to find the right one. My discerning eye immediately was drawn to website addresses for several Teasers Men’s Clubs, with locations in Twin Forks, Montana; Flint, Michigan; Key West, Durham, North Carolina, and elsewhere. The Teasers of Phoenix even awards its customers a pint of draft beer for $3 to go along with, well, you know, its other treats.
Stop me if I’ve told you this one, but after I accepted Jim Finks’ offer to join him in New Orleans in the summer of 1986, my old boss at the NFL Management Council, Jack Donlan, told me to find my replacement before I left New York. I thought it would be an easy matter finding an enthusiastic young up-and-comer to join Donlan in the NFL’s labor relations department. The Collective Bargaining Agreement, which came as the result of a 57-day players’ strike in 1982, would expire in another year, and Donlan needed a spokesman to represent the position of NFL owners. Surely, the first person I asked would jump at the opportunity.
The last time I agonized over a Saints loss was on December 16, 1995 when the Green Bay Packers left the Superdome with a 34-23 victory.
Random thoughts on the Saints’ woeful start while wondering what is happening to the game I love?