Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em

by Bert Bartlett

The lines getting into the Louisiana Superdome on Sunday were longer than usual. The recession may not be as bad as assumed in Pittsburg, as there were plenty of Steeler fans in them, in white jerseys and black hats, several ominously holding up We ‘Dat placards for all to see.  Many of these visitors seemed like they had minimum height and weight requirements to travel, like 6’4”, 240, and over. What, did their front office send linemen cut from their past several training camps, as a way of saying, thanks for trying out? The tension got palpable. Even the women had a stout and sturdy air about them. I thought Saints fans traveled in relatively big numbers. What exactly was I getting myself into here?

The Saints were decked out in all black, not a preferred uniform for them, as they have never fit a Darth Vader image. But it was Halloween. Their costumes were conservative compared to those in the crowd, according to ABC News, a Guinness World Book Of Record  17,777 of them, for this kind of party (I’m curious  – who counted, and how?). The spectrum of outfits was innumerable. Among other things, there was a robed, phallic image of the Lombardi Trophy, women walking around in wings and a halo as if it were casual daily wear during lunch hour downtown, and one sport with a cape, confused whether he was Batman or Robin, but decidedly for the home team, as evidenced by his skin tight Saints helmet/mask. There was a woman (or was it a man?) with a fleur de lis thong on behind, the flower of the lily precariously close to falling thru the cracks. At ‘dat point, it was definitely time to watch the game.

The Saints and Steelers commenced trading punches like footage from the old movie  Rocky, when Sly Stallone and Clubber Lang stood mid-ring and snapped each others’ heads, them bouncing back like bobble head dolls (!). The teams acted like wind-up robots, too, both refusing to give an inch by their goal lines in swapping 3 and out defensive stands, though some ill-advised, slow developing running plays were called from  both sidelines.  

No wonder they call the guy “Big Ben”. Saints defensive end Will Smith is listed at 6’3” and 282 lbs. When he got pressure and jumped on Roethlisberger’s back, the quarterback momentarily stood there and treated him with the minor inconvenience of a rag doll, before finally succumbing to a sack. Timber!  Roethlisberger’s dubious legacies have yet to be written in full, but he is the most difficult quarterback to tackle from a stationary position in pro football history. Countless, would be sackers have rolled off of him like butter.

Drew Brees stood deep in his own territory and unleashed a pass. When James Harrison of the Steelers rolled inside unblocked on a blitz and pummeled him, some in The Nation were relieved to see #9 just get up. This was crème de la crème NFL football 2010 style, with plenty of quickness, and tons of hard hitting. There likely have been plenty of players from both teams limping in and out of hot tubs this week. As it wore on, and neither team yielded, the match resembled virtual reality in the popular Madden video game, whatever they call it.

Defense does appear to be undergoing a renaissance amongst the better teams in the league (did anyone out there predict Green Bay over the Jets, 9 to zip?), as scoring seems down on average, and the league less resembles the National Basketball Association on artificial turf. Receivers have become more reserved, and less vocal divas. Points are having to be earned again. The NFL isn’t very trendy this year (which is fine with me). One could deduce the game is being played harder, fundamentally.

The Saints déjà vu on defense was watching Darren Sharper get a turnover, scooping a fumble out of the air, courtesy of great hustle on a tackle by linebacker Marvin Mitchell. The fourth quarter play commenced shutting the curtains on the Steelers. The liberal sprinkling of Terrible Towels in the crowd, un-offensive because of their color tone, petered out.   

New Orleans loves resurrections, but the contest was one of sixteen and out of conference, and is still in third place in their division. Yet as the clock wound down, and the crunk lyrics of Here We Come – To Get You wailed in the stands, the baritone of it felt true, and the Saints showed they could stand toe to toe with as good as what the league has to offer, and may still have much to say about who ends up being top dog in the NFC.

This would have been perfect for a bye week, but the Saints have to go to Carolina to play this Sunday, before taking a break. The Panthers’ record is horrible at 1-6, but they have seemingly always mustered up something for the Saints. Cornerback Jabari Greer is expected to return to action after being hurt, which helps. A World Series score of 3-2, if it is a win for New Orleans, is totally acceptable. This is a take nothing for granted time of year.

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3 thoughts on “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em

  1. Yes Burt, you’re right: “This is a take nothing for granted type of year.” Man, I want to believe that the Saints will walk all over the Panthers. But we just can’t take it for granted. On the other hand, what I think has utterly no bearing on the outcome of the game. I could be as giddily confident as possible, and Drew Brees won’t catch any wind of it. Likewise, I could be utterly pessimistic, and Jonathan Vilma won’t register it in the least bit. All that being said, your take on the game helped bring back great memories of just four days ago. It was a great game, with fundamental football as the driving force. I thought at the beginning of the year our defense would surprise people, and that’s exactly what’s happening. Personally, I’m glad Reggie and Pierre will rest some more. We’re going to need them both, and I don’t think we’ll need them this week. The bye gives them two more weeks to recover. Moving onward, I do expect a sizable win this week, but I will settle for any victory. I only hope the Saints are pulling for more than that. Having been through this baseball season with the Giants, aptly nicknamed “torture” by local sportscaster Duane Kuiper, other fans and I, breathed such a sigh of relief that the series ended with us victorious in five. As another fan told me when we clinched “I had tickets for game 6, but I didn’t want it coming back to SF and lasting any longer. I can’t take it anymore.” That being the case on the west coast, I will be at the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge, corner of Lombard and Van Ness in SF, to watch our boys go at it this Sunday. I hope a rollicking time is had by all. Close games aren’t nearly as much fun as routes. But victories are welcomed in any form. Here’s to a winning Sunday Nov. 7th. Mick

  2. Ya Ya

    A route at the Voodoo Lounge! Doubles ‘cuz of the Giants !

    El Seroux

    Yes out of conference adds some color.

    I am glad the Saints have a bye. Kind of feel like everybody needs it….

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