Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
When the Saints announced the three initial inductees into their Ring of Honor during Sunday’s game would be Ricky Jackson, Willie Roaf, and Archie Manning I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe they are leaving out the coach who brought them their first taste of success.”
Basically with the new Ring of Honor the Saints are saying, “These are the three most accomplished, important people in the history of our franchise who are retired.” They got two names right but completely botched the third.
Ricky Jackson and Willie Roaf are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame so I’m not here to argue their induction. I’m here to argue for the coach with the most wins in team history. In the first class for the Ring of Honor Jim Mora deserved to be inducted over Archie Manning.
Arguing about Archie with Saints fans is to argue about a myth wrapped in memories Saints fans wish they had.
The argument goes like this….
The Saints were horribly run in the 1970’s and Archie Manning was the only great player they had. If the Saints had been well run Archie would have won Super Bowls because he was that good.
It’s not an argument based on what Archie did on the field. It has more to do with the fact he was the on field embodiment of Saints fans suffering. He took a beating for a decade, never complained, and never asked to be traded away from the trash pile that was the 1970’s New Orleans Saints. Saints fans of a certain age love him for it and they should but he’s not one of the three most important people in Saints history.
Jim Mora is.
In the 19 years before Jim Mora was head coach of the Saints they won 83 games. In Jim Mora’s 11 years in New Orleans the Saints won 93 games.
Archie Manning might be more loved than Jim Mora but the first three people in the Ring of Honor should be honored for on field accomplishments.
Mora took the Saints to four playoff games and before Sean Payton arrived his four-year stretch from 1990-1993 was unmatched in team history.
During that time the Saints won 49 games, first ever division title, and went to the post season three times.
Archie should be in the Ring of Honor but he should have had to wait. First should equal best and most important.
Before Jim Mora the Saints were the biggest joke in the NFL. He made the Saints matter. Before Mora the Saints hadn’t sold out consecutive home games in the Superdome since it opened in 1975 or had a winning season. Jim Mora had actual on field accomplishments and it should have trumped what Archie might have been.
Rob Ryan's Big Chart of Fun: All year long I’ll be charting how the Saints defense does under Rob Ryan in certain situations. For a full explanation of how it works read this. For all you people emailing me demanding to see the chart, the Rob Ryan Chart lives here.
The defense missed 14 tackles against the Jets but don’t think Rob’s boys are failing apart. The Jets only averaged 3.2 yards per rush on first down, New York converted only 30 percent on third downs, and had only one pass of over 10 yards on 2nd and 3rd and long.
The Saints let Chris Ivory get loose a few times but I still believe in the beautiful hair of Rob Ryan. If you thought Rob wanted to beat his brother imagine how bad he wants to beat the team that just fired him?
Last Week: 2-3
Dallas (+7) at New Orleans: I just have an awful feeling about this game. Something tells me Dallas is going to rope in America into thinking they are a contender.
In theory the Saints should be able to roast a Cowboy defense that has given up four 400-yard passing games but I’m not sure they can without Marques Colston, and with or without a beat up Jimmy Graham.
Eventually Drew Brees isn’t going to be spectacular at home in prime time. The Saints offense has injuries and line issues and I really hope I’m wrong about this because I’ll be at the game. I suspect we’ll know about five minutes into this game if the Saints have brought their A game.
Come 11 p.m. Sunday night the Saints won’t be alone in first place.
I wrote the previous paragraphs before I re-watched the Cowboys previous two games and I’m changing my mind.
The Cowboys defense is so bad they made Christian Ponder look like a decent young quarterback and the week before that Calvin Johnson had 5000 yards receiving (slight exaggeration but it FELT LIKE 5000).
Tell me if you've seen this story before: Saints start fast, Cowboys make late charge, Tony Romo throws soul crushing interception in fourth quarter, Skip Bayless blames all the Cowboys ills and world hunger on Romo.
Repeat until end of time.
Alabama (-11.5) vs. LSU: I want to believe LSU can win this game. America needs Les Miles to stop the Death Star known as Alabama football. If the Tigers pull this off I’ll consider 2013 a success.
Do you remember why LSU hired Les Miles to be their head coach? Probably the main reason is in 2001 he took a 3-7 Oklahoma State team into Norman and beat the Oklahoma Sooners as a 27-point underdog. Then to prove it wasn’t a fluke he did again the next year at home when the Sooners were favored by 14.
The question is how can he do it in Tuscaloosa? Zach Mettenberger needs to play at least as good as he did against Georgia where he threw for 370 yards and three scores and Alabama needs to have a couple mistakes.
My heart and my hatred of Alabama and Nick Saban want to believe. My head thinks it’s going to get ugly and by 8 p.m. Twitter will be trying to convince Jon Gruden to come to Baton Rouge. I’m going with my heart and am really excited for maybe the greatest Les Miles post game press conference ever. It will break Twitter.
Carolina (+6) at San Francisco: The Panthers are going to make the NFC South race really interesting if they can survive the next three weeks against the 49ers, Patriots, and Dolphins.
After they beat the 49ers be ready for 900 stories on Cam Newton maturing next week.
Philadelphia (+2.5) at Green Bay: Packers coach Mike McCarthy said,” I have all the confidence in the world in Seneca Wallace.”
Mike also was sure New Coke was going to be HUGE.
Seattle (-6.5) at Atlanta: Probably the only time all year I will root for Atlanta to win because it would help the Saints. I’ll feel dirty pulling for the Falcons but in the end I’ll hate them more for not getting a win the one time I wanted them to.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at email@example.com, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at Itunes.