I’m a Saints fan, unquestionably. I have posted often about the Black and Gold since I started this blog. In writing about my favorite team, I labor conscientiously to write passionately but at the same time to write realistically about the game. Since reason easily becomes passion’s slave (to roughly paraphrase a line from the Victorian novelist Thackeray), sports fans must be extra-judicious to avoid making foolish statements or advancing outlandish opinions that wither under the scrutiny of facts. When I read other writers’ and bloggers’ less-than-circumspect gaffs of reason, I am all the more determined that my writing will never express similar foolishness.
For example, I used this blog to call a Dallas Cowboys writer to task last month after reading a post-game sob-fest that sounded ridiculous.
So here comes the 17-14 Falcons loss to the Saints Monday night in the third-highest rated TV game in MNF history. Like all good fans, I relished the hard-fought triumph against one of the truly elite teams with the best record in the NFL this season. I checked out the Falcons website, also, to see how they were reacting to the loss. Kind of like the Cowboys players after the Thanksgiving Day game, the Falcons players and coaches weren’t making stupid remarks or otherwise expressing sour grapes. Everything I heard and read sounded honest and professional.
But then I read some of the website writers’ stuff: The piece that mystified me most was written by a fellow who argued that the Falcons pick-six of Drew Brees’ desperate and ill-advised pass late in the third quarter was the pivotal play in the game.
What?–Give me a break! That play was the Falcons highest moment in the game, and it temporarily gave the Falcons the lead, but the score didn’t stand. How in the world was that play pivotal????? Here are the writer’s own words:
“As far as game-changers go, there wasn’t one much bigger than Davis’ interception to end the third quarter . . . It was pivotal in that it provided a score when scoring was nearly extinct in the game. It also gave the Falcons the lead, ending a third quarter that seesawed back and forth with zeroes on the scoreboard.”
Did this observer see the rest of the game? Did he see the Saints drive down the field in a 90 yard drive in the fourth quarter and Brees throw the six-yard touchdown pass that provided the winning margin? Did he notice the Falcons have to punt on their final possession, after which the Saints finished the last 3 minutes-plus without returning the ball to the Falcons because the Saints converted a clutch third down? Did he notice the final score?
Maybe this writer just didn’t like facing the loss. This guy, I suspect, let his rational guard down to the end that passion arrested reason in pitiful servitude. Sorry, Falcons fans–Maybe we’ll do this again in mid-January and you’ll like the outcome better, or not, depending on the final score. Meanwhile, when losing happens, . . . it does!
And guess what: It could happen again! To either team, for that matter. So one way or the other, may we at least keep our heads screwed on straight with the stuff we publish :).