Forecast: How much did you savor the 2011 Saints?

Forecast: How much did you savor the 2011 Saints?

Credit: AP

New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) rushes during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. Sproles set an NFL record for most all-purpose yards in a season on the play. The Saints won 45-17. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

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Posted on January 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer

My wife and I were out for dinner on New Year’s Eve with some friends. One of them was talking about how his wife is constantly worrying about what they’ll do when their daughter is 6 and 10 years old, and then 20, but he doesn’t.

“I just enjoy my daughter being 4. I’ll worry about 15 when she’s 15.”

I tried to do that this year with the Saints. While some fans, blogs, and media started saying in November, “I just want the playoffs to hurry up and get here,” I was the exact opposite. Can we have another month of games and we’ll kick the postseason off in February? I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a regular season more.

My Sunday routine was the same every week except when I was in New Orleans to watch the game in person. I’d wake up and get on my elliptical machine for 30 minutes and listen to ESPN’s football preview podcast, then I’d go grab a pre-game meal, which would flush my 30-minute workout down the drain. It usually involved pizza, a Dairy Queen milkshake or cheeseburger, and a couple of times all three. I figured if I’m watching an offense score excessive amounts of points I should eat to excess.

How good was the Saints offense at home? Their season low for points was 27 against Tampa Bay. By now you know all the records they broke Sunday during their 45-17 destruction of Carolina. Lost in the chase to get Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham individual records, you might have missed the Saints ran for 208 yards and finished 6th in the NFL in rushing and didn’t have a running back crack 100 yards in a game until Chris Ivory in the season finale.

It was the best offense in Saints history, and every week I’d remind myself, “This is not routine. Jimmy Graham isn’t supposed to look like he is playing against children. Drew Brees is 9-9 on third down and how is that possible? Has Thomas Morstead even punted this month?”

We would all like to believe the Saints will just pick up and continue this show next August, but every season is different. The Saints will still be very good next year, and hopefully great, but they probably won’t be like this.

I hope you enjoyed all 16 weeks.

While 2009 was a journey -- watching a championship team make great comebacks, score on defense, escape when defeat looked certain, and end with a title, the Saints Super Bowl win -- in the eyes of football history isn’t much different than most of the other teams to hoist the Lombardi trophy.

I realize it means more to Saints fans and New Orleans, but in 25 years the 2009 Super Bowl Champion Saints won’t look much different than the 1980 winning Oakland Raiders.

The 2011 Saints have a chance to be put along side the NFL’s all time great teams. If they win another title they’ll most likely have to do it mostly on the road beating Lions, 49ers and Packers teams with a combined 38-10 record.

They can be the record-setting offense led by Drew Brees who won two out of three Super Bowls. History will say the Saints offense set records for passing yards, total yards and first downs.

History will only remember it if they win another Super Bowl.

Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at ralphmalbrough@hotmail.com, find him on facebook, or follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough

 

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