A renewed hope

February 5, 2018




Sports Editor | agb022@latech.edu


I’ve been a New Orleans Saints fan for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching games with my dad every Sunday, and there was nothing I looked forward to more than sitting on the couch and soaking in the knowledge of the game and all that goes into it. There was only one problem: the Saints stunk. They had a winning percentage of 38 percent from 1967-2005, which ranked in bottom five of every franchise the NFL had ever seen, and their reputation earned them the glowing nickname of the “Aints.” I thought that was bad, but I had no idea what was to come.


After Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating natural disasters in American history, struck New Orleans in August 2005, it looked like the franchise had no choice but to relocate. Team owner Tom Benson wanted to move the team to San Antonio.


I was distraught. This was the only team I had ever grown a connection to. Who would I root for now? More importantly, who would the tragedy-stricken city of New Orleans root for?


However, with the miraculously efficient rebuilding of the Superdome in 2006, there was hope. With the signing of quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton, the Saints came marching into the 2006 season on a mission. They would go on to appear in two NFC Championship games in the following four seasons and won Super Bowl XLIV in 2009. This victory symbolized not only the revitalization of a franchise, but a city.


After the bountygate incident with the league in 2012, the once elite team proceeded to go on a three-year streak of 7-9 seasons from 2014-2016 with no playoffs in that stretch. That was the franchise’s longest tenure without making the playoffs in ten years.


The media swarmed with rumors of a Sean Payton firing and a Drew Brees departure from New Orleans. They had lost their identity. It was like I was having deja vu of 2005 all over again. “What were we going to do without Drew Brees?” “Are we going to fall back into the pit of despair that the ‘Aints’ inhabited in my younger days?”


After an abysmal 0-2 start to the 2017 season, it seemed like the answer to that question was a resounding yes. Yet, something strange started happening that I hadn’t seen in a while. I was having deja vu again. They started winning. There was hope.They rattled off eight wins in a row on their way to an 11-5 record and a first-place finish in the NFC South Division for the first time in six years.


Even after a heartbreaking loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional round Jan. 14, the future looks bright for the Saints. And for that, I am hopeful.

Andrew Bell is a sophomore communication major from Alexandria who serves as sports editor for The Tech Talk.


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