Showing posts with label Saints. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saints. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2012

They shoot franchises, don't they?

If any shred of the latest Saints scandal talk is true, given the trouble the team already is in, the NFL may need to exercise the nuclear option.

No, the real nuclear option. Not the kinda nuclear option it unleashed against New Orleans over Bountygate.

Is what I'm saying. Because if you're Commissioner Roger Goodell, you only need to take so much of this s*** -- if you know what's good for your league.

That's right,
ladies and germs, ESPN has broken yet another sordid story involving the National Football League's rags-to-riches-to-cautionary-tale poster children:
The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was told Friday that New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs for nearly three NFL seasons, "Outside the Lines" has learned.

Sources familiar with Saints game-day operations told "Outside the Lines" that Loomis, who faces an eight-game suspension from the NFL for his role in the recent bounty scandal, had the ability to secretly listen for most of the 2002 season, his first as general manager of the Saints, and all of the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The sources spoke with "Outside the Lines" under the condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals from members of the Saints organization.

Jim Letten, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, acknowledged being told of the allegations Friday. Sources said he has briefed the FBI in New Orleans about Loomis' alleged activity. If proved, the allegations could be both a violation of NFL rules and potentially a federal crime, according to legal sources. The federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 prohibits any person from intercepting communications from another person using an electronic or mechanical device.

"I can say that we were just made aware of that on Friday, at least of these allegations," Letten said. "Anything beyond that I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to comment."

Greg Bensel, Saints vice president of communications, said Monday afternoon on behalf of the Saints and Loomis: "This is 1,000 percent false. This is 1,000 percent inaccurate."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league was unaware of the allegations.

Sources told "Outside the Lines" the listening device was first installed in the general manager's suite in 2000, when Loomis' predecessor, Randy Mueller, served as Saints GM. At that time, according to sources, Mueller had the ability to use the device to monitor only the game-day communications of the Saints' coaching staff, not the opposing coaches. Mueller, now a senior executive with the San Diego Chargers (he also was an NFL analyst from 2002 to '05), declined to comment when contacted by "Outside the Lines."

After the transition from Mueller to Loomis, the electronic device was re-wired to listen only to opposing coaches and could no longer be used to listen to any game-day communications between members of the Saints' coaching staff, one source said.

"There was a switch, and the switch accessed offense and defense," said the source. "When Randy was there, it was the Saints offense or defense, and when Mickey was there it changed over so it was the visiting offense or defense," the source said.
NEW ORLEANS should be so proud. Then again, knowing the Crescent City, it probably is.

Friday, March 23, 2012

'Pretend it's Obama!'

Louisiana strikes again.

And again.

And again.

Sunday evening, at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church in Central, near Baton Rouge, the pastor told the congregation at a Rick Santorum rally that "this nation was founded as a Christian nation." And if you don't like how we roll in that regard,
"Get out!"

"There is one God, and his name is Jesus!" shouted the Rev. Dennis Terry.

In the sanctuary, a massive American flag hung behind him. On the video of his remarks, nowhere could you see a cross.

THEN on Wednesday, Saints fans all across Louisiana became irate that the National Football League hammered their team over its practice of paying bounties for injuring opposing players. The fine, Christian people of the Gret Stet may believe, technically, in "Thou shalt not kill" but point out that the good book never said "Thou shalt not cripple the other team for cash."

Besides, everybody else does it.

And today, during a Santorum event at a West Monroe shooting range, a woman in the crowd drawled "Pretend it's Obama!" as the Republican presidential candidate, .45 in hand, drew a bead on a silhouette target.

People around her laughed.

BECAUSE that's how people roll in the Christianest part of Christian America -- "Thou shalt not kill . . . unless it's that commerniss son-of-a-bitch Barack Obama." It's in the Bible -- somewhere in the black . . . uh, back.

"And if you don't love America, and you don't like the way we do things, I have just one thing to say. Get out!"

I think the "or else" is -- click -- understood.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Calling Oliver Stone. . . .

Bobby Hebert is a paillasse.

"Spud" McConnell, too. And when you're un paillasse -- a clown en français -- you say crazy s***. Like this March 6 conspiracy theory from the WWL radio hosts about how the NFL is out to get the Saints because everybody's jealous of the team -- and New Orleans.

Cher, ça c'est fou! That's just nuts.

I am from Louisiana. I am -- was? -- a Saints fan from the beginning in 1967. And I have lived away from there for a long time now.

I ASSURE everyone in the Crescent City that no one is jealous of Louisiana. No one.

No one is jealous of the Saints now. No one.

I said in January, in relation to another of the former New Orleans quarterback's antics, that sometimes it takes a couyon, which is a lot like a paillasse. This is not one of those times.

Now is time for a team, and a city and a state, to acknowledge that bad actions have bad consequences, not make crazy-ass excuses and spin stupid-ass conspiracy theories in a sad effort to evade what's plainly evident to everybody else -- the Saints were a dirty, crooked outfit.

I realize, of course, that for Louisianians like Hebert, a 300-year habit can be difficult to break. But now is as good a time as any to give it a try.

SEE, that wasn't so hard, was it, Bobby? From March 6 to Wednesday, almost a 55-percent reduction in crazy and nobody spontaneously combusted or anything. Good job. Keep it up.

Now, I'm not gonna be holding my breath, now. . . .

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Law of the jungle . . . and Saints fans

The NFL commish hammered the New Orleans Saints today for general crookedness and lying through their teeth.

Saints fans are shocked, shocked that Roger Goodell would suspend Coach Sean Payton for a year, among other stiff penalties levied against the team, after the league uncovered a ongoing "bounty" for taking out targeted opposing players. This is because Louisiana's famously formerly incarcerated former governor, Edwin Edwards, didn't just happen and wasn't some sort of isolated historical freak of nature.

Culture matters. Sometimes, it has a funny way of manifesting itself. Like now.

Former pro defensive lineman Warren Sapp, now an analyst on the NFL Network, today "reported" that former Saint receiver Jeremy Shockey was the "snitch" who blew the whistle on the team's scheme. That was all outraged New Orleans fans -- in website comboxes and all over Facebook -- needed for them to go all ghetto on Shockey for "snitching," no matter the veracity of Sapp's "sources":
* Shame Shame Shame....I had heard it was Fujuta, which really upset me...Shockey sounds about right.... :( Glad he's gone

* Somehow, if it is him, I am sadly not surprised. We all saw the way he acted towards our players when the saints played the panthers. Such a poor sport. [No, "sportsmanship" is Jonathan Vilma offering $10,000 to anyone knocking the Vikings' Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC Championship Game. Yeah, that's the ticket.-- R21]

* People knew it was Shockey from day 1. & no one's career was ended. It's football not freaking line dancing. They were not out to kill players perhaps reaggravate injuries already bothering players.

* Inspiration for a new t-shirt! No one likes a snitchy Shockey!! His face on a neutra rat's body.

* I KNEW IT. As soon as the story broke I said he was the snitch. Bottom line, it happens all over the NFL - it is not right - we got caught and are being made an example of.

* Its wide open, its reported and its been verified by vets. So if you think the Saints should be the personal Jesus for every team that did this and played like its not real then I cant understand your opinion. There was only two illegal hits in that nfc championship and one was the vikings hitting Brees late.
Even with the bounty the players kept the hits clean. I can think of a lot more dirty hits that were bounties. How bout Montana, 91 Championship, Gannon in the Playoff game where Saragusa surfed him like a west coast wave.....Rodney Harrisons entire dirty career... lol. If you are going to judge then judge em all, dont cherry pick the Saints.
The penalty is too much. Fines and draft picks maybe but suspension for years is ridiculous. The league has officially went wuss trying to duck these ex-players lawsuits. The nfl is a crap company. If they are going to penalize the Saints then they need to start paying those old guys who cant talk.... Plain and simple. Lets go ahead and get all the dirty laundry out.
This hole thing is about lawsuits, lameness, and political correctness. Don't buy into it and throw rocks at the Saints by themselves. The nfl has a lot of nerve to duck out on this and point the finger at the Saints. Its a scapegoat, plain and simple.

Hey Warran, Thanks for telling us who the snitch was We pulled his butt out of NY and gave him a chance to become something .. this is the thanks you get

* C I L L Jeremy Shockey.
I THOUGHT I had said my piece March 7 after Sports Illustrated came out with a damning article about the Saints' bounty scheme. After wasting too much time and too many brain cells being reminded today about why I'm damn well rid of the Gret Stet, I think I have one last thing to say to my fellow Saints fans.

Make that
former fellow Saints fans.

Anyway, here it is:
Dear Outraged Saints Fans:

Wow, it seems you folks like your football exactly the way you like your politics -- crooked. I look forward to y'all praising those who refuse to tell the cops a damned thing about New Orleans' 199 murders last year . . .
because nobody likes a "snitch," right?

The Saints broke a major rule of the league -- intentionally trying to injure targeted opposing players for cash rewards -- and they did it flagrantly, brazenly and repeatedly. Then the players and coaches covered it up. And all you outraged moral cyphers think the National Football League, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the "snitch" are the problem here.

Come to think of it, that explains a hell of a lot about Louisiana and its place on the bottom of all the good lists and the top of all the bad ones.

If you ask me, the Saints got off easy. I would have given Sean Payton what Gregg Williams got. I would have banned Williams for life, and I would have given General Manager Mickey Loomis what Payton got. I would have fined the team $1 million, and I would have thought hard about banning the franchise from competition for a year.

That would be a message no franchise could ignore.

And I don't want to hear another word about "everybody else was doing it, too." That bulls*** didn't fly with your mama, and it sure as hell won't fly anywhere else, either.

Ultimately, that's not what really gives me the reds. What gives me the reds is that -- just like Louisiana voters -- Saints fans like those on display here today are too damned stupid -- too damned lacking in self-respect -- to realize that, ultimately, it is themselves who have been conned, toyed with and dishonored.

You stuck with a crappy-ass team for four and a half decades, put your faith in it as a symbol of renewal after Katrina and, finally, cried tears of joy when the Saints won the Super Bowl . . .
and it was all a sham. As it turns out, there was a good reason that 2009 defense was so salty, a good reason the Saints won it all -- several coaches and many players were dirty. They cheated like hell.

They gave the NFL rule book
(not to mention gullible ol' you) the finger. The bird. The middle-digit salute.


And for what it's worth, I include myself among the Saints' suckers . . . ever since 1967. Fool me once. . . .
HERE IS the short version: Stop your sobbing, because America isn't listening. You get no sympathy for your NFL team being as crooked as your politicians.

And, apparently, you.

Good night, and good luck. You'll need it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Ain'ts that a shame

I have been a New Orleans Saints fan since the Saints came to be in 1967.

Throughout most of the NFL franchise's history, wins were few, far between and usually gotten by hook or by crook.
Well, what you gonna do, Cap? Dem's the Ain'ts for you.

Then came Katrina. We weren't sure we'd have New Orleans to kick around anymore, much less the Ain'ts. And after a disastrous 2005 season played entirely on the road, after all the rumors that owner Tom Benson was going to take the franchise to San Antonio, after the dicey proposition that was the Crescent City itself, we weren't sure we gave a damn.

Then something happened.

The Saints stayed . . . got a new coach and a new quarterback. The newly repaired and renovated Superdome reopened.

The reopening of the dome became a metaphor for the rebuilding of a city. And when the Saints won that 2006 home opener against the archrival Atlanta Falcons, it was pure catharsis for anyone who ever called south Louisiana home.

And when "Dem Boys" kept winning, well. . . .

And during that magical season three years later --
that championship 2009 season -- we thought it was some kind of miracle of God. Some kind of salve for the years of suffering by a city defined as much by its agonies as its ecstasies.

Long-suffering fans shed tears of joy when the Saints beat the Vikings and pigs flew. When hell froze over. When "Saints" and "Super Bowl" could coexist in a sentence devoid of both irony and the word "never."

And on a February day in 2010, many of us wept for joy as time expired on four-plus decades of futility. New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17. Saints . . .
Super Bowl champs.

But I'm from Louisiana. I should have known better, formed as I was by a land where "crook" was far more common than "hook."

THESE DAYS, redemption songs and impossible dreams are as likely as anything else to be nothing more than just another g**damned lie.

Peter King, in the latest issue of
Sports Illustrated, disavows us of our illusions:
On Saturday nights during the 2009 NFL season, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the lightning-rod leader of a feisty unit, would stand in front of his men holding white envelopes filled with cash—bonuses for their performances the previous week. As Williams called up player after player, handing them envelopes with amounts ranging from $100 for a special teams tackle inside the opponents' 20-yard line to $1,500 for knocking a foe out of the game, a chant would rise up from the fired-up defenders: "Give it back! Give it back! Give it back!"

Many players would do just that, to beef up the pot and make the stakes bigger as the season went on. The NFL alleges that by the time New Orleans reached the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings on Jan. 24, 2010, the stakes had risen to the point that middle linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Vilma personally offered a $10,000 bounty to any player who knocked Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre out of the game. (SI's attempts to reach Vilma were unsuccessful.)

Over four quarters that Sunday at the Superdome, Favre was hit repeatedly and hard. The league later fined Saints defensive linemen Bobby McCray and Anthony Hargrove a total of $25,000 for three separate improper hits, and NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said the Saints should have been flagged for a brutal high-low mashing by McCray and defensive lineman Remi Ayodele in the third quarter. Favre suffered a badly sprained left ankle on that play and had to be helped off the field. On the New Orleans sideline, Hargrove excitedly slapped hands with teammates, saying, "Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!"

An on-field microphone directed toward the sideline caught an unidentified defender saying, "Pay me my money!"

Favre returned to the game but was hobbled. The Saints won 31–28 in overtime, and two weeks later they defeated the Colts 31–17 in Super Bowl XLIV, a victory for an embattled city that was one of the most uplifting moments in recent NFL history. But the excessive hits on Favre in the title game, and on Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner a week earlier in New Orleans's 45–14 divisional playoff victory, prompted an off-and-on two-year league investigation that culminated last Friday in a caustic and blistering report implicating Williams and Saints players in a pay-for-performance program that operated far outside the bounds of league rules. The report also said that general manager Mickey Loomis was made aware of the allegations about the program in early 2010, denied knowledge of it and said he would ensure that no such program was in place, and that coach Sean Payton was also aware of the allegations but failed to look into them. (Loomis and Payton did not respond to repeated requests for comment over the weekend.)

The discipline handed down to Williams, Payton, Loomis and several players will likely dwarf the Patriots' punishment in the infamous Spygate scandal in 2007. In that case the league fined the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick $750,000 and docked New England a first-round pick for illegally videotaping opposing sidelines. Judging by the outrage emanating from the NFL's New York City offices over the weekend, the Saints' sanctions could be closer to the yearlong suspensions given to stars Alex Karras and Paul Hornung in 1963 for gambling. Discipline is expected to be announced within the month.

For commissioner Roger Goodell, player safety has become a top priority, and nothing could undermine that more than cash incentives for players to injure their opponents. One source close to Goodell said the commissioner's reaction to the initial reports of the bounties in the 2009 playoffs was, "God forbid this is true. This will be earth-shattering."

In football circles, it is. The NFL charges that over the past three seasons, between 22 and 27 Saints participated in a bounty program administered by Williams and by leading players that paid defenders for specific achievements on the field, including injuring opponents. The program reportedly paid $1,500 for knocking a player out of a game and $1,000 for a "cart-off"—forcing a player to be helped off the field—as well as lesser rewards for individual plays. During the playoffs, the league said, the sums increased. Such bounties not only circumvent the NFL's salary cap, as extra off-the-books compensation, but also violate the NFL's constitution and by-laws and the collective bargaining agreement, all of which state, "No bonuses or awards may be offered or paid for on-field misconduct (for example, personal fouls to, or injuries inflicted on, opposing players)."

In a statement on Friday, Goodell said, "It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety, and we are not going to relent."

YOU KNOW, it wasn't just fair play, player safety and the National Football League that the Saints betrayed here. They betrayed a city, too.

But wait! There's more!

Not only that, the likes of Williams, Payton, Loomis, Vilma and the rest betrayed generations of fans who had suffered with decades of their lovable-loser forebears. They betrayed our dreams and our loyalty.

They, for good measure, betrayed the power of metaphor. And finally, they betrayed the virtue of hope.

Why am I not surprised that the "home team" bears a striking resemblance to generations of crooked Louisiana pols who have taken a state with enormous natural riches and left it the poor man of America? Time after time -- generation after generation -- it has been the fate of Louisiana's sons and daughters to bear yet another betrayal and vow yet again that we won't be fooled again.

Just another brick in a wall of g**damned lies, alas.

I GUESS we could hope that Goodell might mete out penalties worthy of the crime -- of the betrayal -- but, after all, we are from Louisiana, and justice would be too much to hope for.

If coaches were banned for life and the Saints front office got what it truly deserved, too many people would lose too much money. And if growing up in the Gret Stet has taught us anything. . . .

Man up, Drew. Something tells me you're gonna get Favred this season -- for free.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It takes a couyon

Here's the thing about sportswriters: When it comes to "protocol" and "professional" and following the rules and stuff, they're a lot more Felix Unger than Oscar Madison.

You can't cheer in the press box, no matter that a fair slice of the press in the box is in the tank for dear old Fill-in-the-Blank U, committing the official version of the truth to paper while dishing the juicier
(and truer) stuff back in the newsroom. Coach gets asked -- mostly -- the questions he feels like answering, and Coach gets -- mostly -- the stories he can live with.

Sometimes, though, a sportswriter gets a wild hair. Then there can be hell to pay.

AND WHEN there's hell to pay, a sports reporter can lose "access." And when a paper or TV station loses access, it can lose audience, and when it loses audience, it loses advertising, and when it loses advertising. . . .

It's all quite rational. It's all quite rationalized. And when some Boudreaux from the bayou gets pissed off and starts speaking truth to football power -- even when the Boudreaux is an Hebert who used to be an NFL quarterback -- the horrified "professionals" in the room start reaching for the smelling salts.

Like this guy from
The New York Times:
After Miles made an opening statement, the moderator opened the floor to questions. The first came from Bobby Hebert, a local broadcaster and former Saints quarterback, whose son, T-Bob Hebert, plays center and guard for L.S.U.

Hebert started, according to the transcript: “Coach, did you ever consider bringing in Jarrett Lee, considering that you weren’t taking any chances on the field? Now, I know Alabama’s defense is dominant. But, come on, that’s ridiculous, five first downs. I mean, so it’s almost an approach, I’ll tell you from the fans’ standpoint, that how can you not maybe push the ball down the field and bring in Jarrett Lee?”

In the often mundane world of post-event news conferences, where coaches spew clichés and reporters worry about deadlines, this rant, in all its fan-like anger – from a broadcaster to the man who coached his son – registered somewhere near the level of “bombshell,” as the room fell silent and faces filled with shock.

In theory, such news conferences are supposed to be attended by objective reporters, which doesn’t mean that always happens. But even then, this was unusual, too. In the press room after the game, talk of Hebert’s lack of decorum dominated conversation more than Alabama’s transcendent championship performance.

Lee served as the Tigers’ quarterback for much of the season, when Jordan Jefferson, who played all of the game Monday, was suspended for his alleged role in a bar fight. Lee, in the Tigers’ locker room Monday, said he “thought I might get” a chance to play when Jefferson and the L.S.U. offense remained stagnant from the first half into the second. But that, of course, never happened.

So back to Hebert. He continued with his “question,” later, again according to the transcript, adding, “I know the pass rush of Alabama, but there’s no reason why in five first downs … you have a great defense, L.S.U. is a great defense, but that’s ridiculous.”

At that point, the moderator interrupted, asking, “Do you have a question?”

Hebert responded: “That’s the question. Do you think you should have pushed the football more down field?”

Miles answered: “I think if you watch our calls that we did throw the football down the field. We didn’t necessarily get the football down the field.”
LISTEN, Mr. New York Times, I got a scoop for you. It's better to be the "unprofessional" oaf who asks the obvious damn question everybody wants answered than it is to be a polite, oh-so-professional, ball-less wonder who dutifully repeats coaches' bulls***.

We Louisianians have a saying about this that I just made up:
Sometimes, it takes a couyon.

UPDATE: Let's just say it didn't take long for the Empire to strike back against the Cajun Cannon.

A Sugar Bowl flack told a reporter Bobby Hebert's question was "disappointing" and that he might be banned -- in PR speak, that's called withholding "credentials" -- for future bowl games and BCS championship games.
"We don't want to credential people who go into a press conference and act like a fan," he said.

He had no comment on the future credentialing of coaches who go onto the field and act like homicidal maniacs.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Wir fahrn, fahrn, fahrn auf der Superbahn

What this country needs is a good, old-fashioned socialist revolution that's not on behalf of investment banks, multinational corporations or professional sports franchises.

We've had enough of the other socialist revolution -- the one that brought us accountability-free Wall Street bailouts, the military-industrial complex and states fighting over corporations like whores fighting over a john with a big . . . wallet. The one that ushered in the members-only welfare state. The one that treats corporations like people and people like trash. The one that socializes risk and privatizes reward.

You can have that socialist revolution. No . . . wait.
I want that socialist revolution. I'll bet you would enjoy it, too.

But if you promise not to blab it all over, I'd probably settle for something as simple as the American Dream . . . which we all thought well within reach back when we still dared to dream.

OK, here's my bottom line, which still might be a bridge too far in this age of country-club kleptomaniacs and the best government campaign donations can buy: Is it too much to ask that if taxpayers are going to shell out major dollars for giant public-works projects, that government at least maintains the
pretense the work was on the public's behalf?

Take sports arenas and stadiums, for example.
Remember when you could remember their names?

Plastichrome- Superdome  sign 1975

REMEMBER when you could remember which ballpark was in which city?

Remember when you could remember what the one you helped pay for is being called this week?

In this age of steel-and-concrete commercials for corporate interests, we were down to just a handful of stadiums you could figure out. One was the Louisiana Superdome.

The Superdome opened in 1975, when I was in ninth grade. Building it was a stretch for a poor state like Louisiana, and we still didn't have too much we could hang our civic-pride hats on even after the Dome opened. But, by God, we had that.

And what a "that" we had.

It was a marvel in 1975 -- about the only thing you could say was world-class about the Gret Stet back then, other than the food and the music -- and it's a marvel today. And still, it's about the only thing you can say is world-class about the Gret Stet, other than the food and the music.

And it was the LOUISIANA Superdome.
Take that, Mississippi. And did you know you could fit the Houston Astrodome inside the thing?

Take that, Texas.

But the Houston Astrodome is now the vacant and dilapidated Reliant Astrodome.

And the Louisiana Superdome -- the pride of a state, the landmark whose ground was hallowed by great suffering during Katrina and which rose from the muck like a swamp phoenix -- is about to become the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Take that, Louisiana. At least you can take small comfort in knowing that German money will be paying billionaire Tom Benson to keep the Saints in New Orleans, and not the cash-strapped state government.

WHAT I WANT to know is this: If a German car company will pay the New Orleans Saints craploads of money to rename the domed stadium built by the people of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, thus keeping the NFL team fat, happy and in town . . .
what else could we get the world's corporate titans to pay for?

For instance, New Orleans is a mess. If any city in America needs a bailout, a makeover and a little domestic nation-building, it's New Orleans. Well, Detroit, too . . . but that's not important now.

Trouble is, Louisiana is still a poor state. And one not particularly inclined, or able, to pull off an urban-renewal project of that magnitude -- especially since Katrina trashed the place.
So, what if we sold naming rights to it?

I don't know about you, but I think Exxon-Mobil, La., has a certain
je ne sais quoi. You think the advertising value is worth, say, $10 billion for 10 years?

C'mon down! And don't forget to visit the Exxon Extra French Quarter and put a tiger in your tank!

Or how about Apple? The hip factor alone should make Crescent City naming rights attractive to the ubercool tech colossus.
Apple, La. Short . . . sweet . . . has pizazz.

Wait! Wait! Three words:
The Drunken Apple. Now, that's a good 30-percent funner than the Big Apple.

PERHAPS I could get used to this selling-your-soul thing.

Maybe Corporate America
even could be persuaded to help out Louisiana with its finances. I think that if we could come up with the perfect naming-rights deal, it just might give the ol' coffers quite the stimulus package.

By jove . . .
I think I've got it!

The Trojan Magnum State Capitol

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Who dat mad about dat Saints coach?

Sean Payton bought a house.

Well, lots of people buy houses, albeit lots fewer than before the economy blew up. But what makes this deal by the New Orleans Saints head coach stand out has to do with that old real-estate saw --
"Location, location, location."

In this case, the location of the Payton family's new residence is suburban Dallas.

But, according to Payton and the Saints, the coach isn't going anywhere. Well, professionally. Physically, the fam is hauling butt to north Texas, while Payton keeps a New Orleans-area place to crash during the workweek.

Most places, this isn't a massive issue. Bad PR form on Payton's part, but not a massive issue.

Then again, most places ain't Louisiana, and especially ain't New Orleans.

YOU'D EXPECT a certain amount of fan grousing anywhere. That's what sports fans do -- act like total fanatics. Likewise, everywhere has a certain set percentage of cranks and doofuses.

It's just that, in the Gret Stet, the percentage is a little on the high side.

OK . . .
a lot on the high side.

You can tell that when you're reading stuff like this in the newspaper. By someone employed there. Paid good money (well, at least
money) to produce stuff like this.

Thus, we have the spectacle of a "sports correspondent" for the Houma
Courier/Thibodaux Daily Comet writing with such vehemence agin' a carpetbaggin' coach that one almost can picture Red Man juice flying from his twitching lips as he beat the hell out of his keyboard:
It seems the Paytons never wanted to live in Louisiana from the outset.

As a life-long Louisiana resident, this move by the Paytons tells me that they never liked our state or our way of life.

We have to deal with hurricanes and the BP oil spill has hurt our economy, but Louisiana always bounces back.

It is going to be hard to believe Payton when he promotes New Orleans or Louisiana when his family lives elsewhere.

If I was a Louisiana company that uses Payton as a spokesman, I would drop him immediately.
THAT'LL SHOW that Yankee son of a bitch! I bet he thinks he's better'n us.

Oh, wait.
I don't look at this move as Payton's first step to eventually working with the Dallas Cowboys. I look at it as an insult to New Orleans and our state. I guess we are just not good enough for the Paytons.
THERE you go, podna.

Of course, by that line of reasoning (such as it is), you also could argue the Gret Stet and its benighted citizenry "are just not good enough" for thousands upon thousands of its native sons and daughters -- and I am among that ever-growing number -- who willingly have chosen to move not only their families but themselves the hell out of not only New Orleans, but out of Louisiana altogether.

It happens . . . particularly in states that live their civic lives (such as they are) at the top of all the bad national lists and the bottom of all the good ones.

In other words, fat, disproportionately violent and uneducated is no way to go through life. Or have your kids think is normal.

That's a cruel way to put it, but what the hell other verdict is being delivered by the cold, hard facts of demography? What other verdict is being delivered by the history of a state perpetually u
nable to effectively govern itself?

What other verdict is being delivered by endemic political corruption? By lack of opportunity for its college graduates (underrepresented though they might be as a percentage of total population)?

AND THEN you have the disaster area that is New Orleans. Oh . . . and there was a hurricane there, too.

Listen, all you have to do is look at the state budget, and then look at the kind of racial mau-mauing surrounding the potential merger of one really bad mostly black New Orleans college into a mediocre mostly white one -- and then wonder what the hell percentage is there in such a dysfunctional civic landscape?

You could, but folks in my home state would rather work themselves into high dudgeon that some fellow from California who went to college in Illinois has not come to see life in the Gret Stet as the ultimate meaning of life. Face it, some folk just ain't gonna embrace the suck.

And when you think about it --
which Louisianians don't . . . and won't -- perhaps the biggest part of that never-ending suck is that there is not one chromosome of introspection in the Louisiana genome.

Not one.

This explains a lot. Including, probably, Sean Payton's real-estate transactions.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

That settles it

It's scientifically official: Tom Dempsey da man!

As it turns out, the New Orleans Saints' place kicker made his 63-yard field goal the hard way in 1970.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Happy Dempsey Day!

Forty years ago today, Nov. 8, 1970, a guy with half a foot kicked himself into the record books . . . and into the hearts of New Orleans Saints fans forever and ever, amen.

The scene: Tulane Stadium.

The foe: the Detroit Lions.

The score: Detroit 17, New Orleans 16.

Until. . . .

Peter Finney of the New Orleans
Times-Picayune picks up the story:

"Tell Stumpy to get ready to go in and kick a long one,'' said Heinrich that sunny Sunday in Tulane Stadium.

A 22-year-old kid, born with half a right foot and four fingers missing on his right hand, had no idea "long" meant 63 yards.

With 11 seconds remaining, Errol Mann of the Detroit Lions had just booted an 18-yard field goal to put his team ahead, 17-16.

Now, with two seconds left, the Saints had the ball at their 45-yard-line, following a kickoff return by Al Dodd and Dodd's catch of a Billy Kilmer pass as he went out of bounds.

In those days, the goalposts were on the goal line, not at the rear of the end zone.

As Dempsey looked downfield into the north end zone, the uprights reminded him of "a tiny target'' for someone who had booted three field goals that day, the longest from 29 yards.

"I was more concerned about kicking it straight because I felt I could handle the distance, whatever it was,'' Dempsey said. "I knew I was going to get a perfect snap from Jackie Burkett and a perfect hold from Joe Scarpati. It was all up to me. I had to hit it sweet.''

Dempsey had complete confidence in Scarpati. "Joe told me he was going to put it down eight yards behind the snap, a yard longer than normal. He asked the linemen to hold their blocks a little longer.''

As Scarpati awaited the snap at the Saints' 37, with the crossbar sitting 63 yards away, Kilmer, standing on the sidelines, remembered some members of the Detroit special team laughing. "They thought Tom had no chance,'' he said.

Dempsey would remember something else: a photograph he was given days later.

"It's my favorite,'' he said. "It doesn't show me. It shows what Wild Bill Cody did defending the rush. Bill used his body to take care of the inside rusher and he used his foot to take care of the guy on the outside, who was the great Alex Karras. Wild Bill kicked Karras in the groin.''

And there went Tom Dempsey's historic kick, sailing north, actually sailing a shade more than 63 yards (the ball unofficially cleared the crossbar by a foot).

And there went Dempsey, carried off the field on the shoulders of teammates.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Be a Saint

Maybe the Vatican, in dealing with the sex-abuse scandal and its never-ending aftermath, just needs to follow the example of a Saint.

For one thing, unlike the pope, a Saint doesn't need a veteran Vatican watcher to explain to the rest of the press corps, in effect,
"Yes, Benedict XVI was addressing the Scandals in this homily. It appears he was being critical of the church and pointing to the need for repentance."

At the Vatican, Christ's injunction in the fifth chapter of Matthew about letting
"your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No'," has yet to gain complete traction among those who proclaim it.

IS IT POSSIBLE that, in his own way, a modern-day sinner turned Saint -- as in New Orleans Saints -- might have a better grasp on confession and repentance than many of the pointy hats who've been preaching confession and repentance to fallen humanity since 33 A.D.?

Present-day Saint and former Nebraska Cornhusker sinner Carl Nicks just might. Perhaps they ought to start subscribing to the Omaha World-Herald all across Vatican City:
Carl Nicks returned to Nebraska on Wednesday with a Super Bowl watch, a new tattoo and a humble act of contrition.

Nicks met briefly after practice with head coach Bo Pelini, who banned the offensive lineman from the Huskers’ pro day two years ago. It was an unceremonious parting with the program before New Orleans made Nicks a fifth-round draft pick.

Nicks called the NU football office Wednesday and asked if he could come by — and now plans to stay for the spring game Saturday.

“I figured it was about time to put some water on some of those bridges I burned,” Nicks said.

As soon as the 2007 season ended at Colorado — along with Bill Callahan’s reign as head coach — Nicks stopped going to class, which he counts among the “immature stuff I did.” About three months after Pelini replaced Callahan, he cited an arrest and Nicks being a bad example for returning players in barring him from pro day.

Nicks said it wasn’t until he got to New Orleans and talked with former Husker safety Josh Bullocks that he realized that he was in the wrong.

“For about a good three or four months I had blamed Bo for it and I was blaming other people, and at the end of the day, you’ve got to look in the mirror,” Nicks said. “Once I got a little older, played a little professional ball, I realized how good I had it and just how bad I treated everybody.”
AN ASSOCIATED PRESS story adds this from Nicks:
"I'm not who I was then," he said. "It just kind of hurts, to know I made a fool of myself."

Dressed in shorts and a Kobe Bryant Lakers' jersey, Nicks approached Pelini after the coach's post-practice session with reporters. They talked for a few minutes and shook hands.

"I wouldn't be true to Nebraska if I didn't try to apologize to Bo, even though I didn't play for him," Nicks said. "He's the face of Nebraska. I have to make it right with him, Mr. Osborne and everyone I did wrong when I was here."

Osborne surprised Nicks by greeting him as Carl -- "I didn't think he knew my name" - and then told him to learn from his mistakes and finish his college degree as soon as possible.

"I basically apologized to them for being an irresponsible athlete," Nicks said. "I didn't really have to do it, but I felt I needed to do it."

THAT IS the grace through repentance the Pope was talking about in his homily today -- the one the press was divining for applicability to the Catholic Church's present sins.

It would be nice if Benedict could just come out and say what he has to say . . . plainly. Specifically. Explicitly. It would be nice if he could do that in personal terms, not hiding behind addressing the "church."

It would be nice if the pope's subordinates -- who have been so quick to unleash public-relations Armageddon on the "evil press" for delving into the sins of the fathers -- could follow the Founder's command (again, from Matthew 5) instead:
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.
IT WOULD be nice if everybody involved -- the leadership of an institutional church just as in need of confession and repentance as any of us (and maybe more) -- tried to emulate the saints in all this. And failing that, maybe they just could follow the example of a Saint.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

3 Chords & the Truth: Party in New Orleans

Oh my Gawd, dawl!

What's dey to say about dis week's 3 Cawds & da Troot?

Of cahws, udda dan dat da Saints won da Supah Bowl, Mahdi Gras is almoss heah, an we gonna pawty hawdy, baby.

Translation for those of you hailing from somewhere above the 30th parallel, and east or west of the 90th meridian:

Goodness, friend! What is there to say about this week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth?

Of course, other than that the Saints won the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras is upon us . . . and we're going to party hearty on the Big Show -- it's a New Orleans-flavored edition of 3 Chords & the Truth this week!
AND IT rocks. Hard.

That's about all there is to say, frankly. Of course, other than that if you're not boogying your way through the whole 90 minutes, you may want to schedule a visit with your health-care provider.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

And . . . "WHO DAT!?!"

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Glory bound

In the beginning (OK . . . 1983), there was the "Who Dat" song.

Now, the creators of dat have brought you dis Saints anthem -- "Glory Bound," featuring a couple of true New Orleans musical treasures, Theresa Andersson and Aaron Neville.

AREN'T YOU happy the Saints won the Super Bowl? After all, what could Indianapolis come up with for the Colts?

Anyone? Anyone?

I guess Indianapolis could have brought in Johnny Cougar John Cougar Mellencamp John Mellencamp to do "I Fight the Saints and the Saints Always Win," but what the hell fun would that have been? No, you're really glad the Saints won, and that you have New Orleans folk providing the Super Bowl soundtrack.

And if you buy the single, part of the proceeds go to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. Dat's cool, bra!

Go to the Lombardi Gras

You thought Mardi Gras day was big in New Orleans.

The Saints' victory parade on Dat Tuesday dwarfed anything the Crescent City ever has seen. Hell, this is something longtime fans thought -- on our darker days -- that we might never see.

Pardon us if we're freaking out . . . but damn! I mean, that's Saints Coach Sean Payton holding the Lombardi Trophy over his head.

"World champions" and "Saints" are words we're not used to putting together.


Who dat!?!

Happy Dat Tuesday

In other words, "never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in."

Monday, February 08, 2010

How ta save dem noospapah, dawlin'

Cher, we awl know tings fo' dem noospapah industry is bad bad.

Dey ain't sellin' no noospapah no mo', and da advuhtisah is advahtisin' on da Intanets, but not da noospapahs' Intanets. It hard hard, cher.

But dey hope, Cap!

I TINK I foun' a way ta save da noospapah industry, baby. Yeah, you right!

Now, all you got ta do ta save dem noospapah in your town is to win da Supah Bowl every damn day uh da year. You get da team in your town ta do dat on a regulah basis, baby, and money goin' ta be growin' on dem trees.

Why am I tawkin' lak dis? I don' know, Cap. But dat ain't impotant now.

Look at dis from Editah & Publishah -- which was dead but now it not, because some trade papah company done bought it an' fiyah haff dah staff, but dat ain't impotant now, eidah:
By noon Monday, The Times-Picayune had printed at least 200,000 copies over its ordinary number of single-copy papers -- and the printing presses were still running to keep up with the extraordinary demand for newspapers proclaiming the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory.

"It's a totally moving target," Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss said of the ever-growing press run. "The presses are still going and we are trying to satisfy a demand which doesn't seem to slack." A normal press run for single-copy sales would be about 25,000.

When Amoss arrived for work at the paper Monday morning, he said, the line of people waiting to buy copies stretched all the way around its imposing building. "When I drove up this morning," he said, "I literally gasped. I've never seen anything like this."

Waiting in line was a cross-section of New Orleans of all occupations and races. Walking away were buyers with bundles of 20 or 30 papers, Amoss added.

The coveted front page pictures a triumphant Saints quarterback Drew Brees under a five-inch single word headline: "AMEN!"
IT AS "BIG EASY" as dat, bra. Get you a team, win you a Supah Bowl aftah fawty-three year.

Now, I know you gonna lose you azz fo' 42 year, but you gonna clean up aftah dat, podnah. I promiss you dat.