This week Sean Payton said he wants to take advantage of the new rules and make the Mercedes-Benz Superdome even more of home field advantage. Coach, I am here to help with some great ideas to make the Dome the toughest place to win a game in the entire known universe.
Are my ideas a bit 'out of the box', possibly against the rules, and perhaps done just to have a good laugh? Yes, but if Bounty Gate taught us anything it's the Saints like to push the envelope. These ideas are incredible and if implemented I believe will guarantee the Saints won't lose a home game until 2045 when Saints quarterback Baylen Brees gets stuck on Mars during his bye week and is unable to get back to earth to face the Falcons.
Drum roll please and onto our list....
1. Two Words: Flambeau Carriers
Everybody loves the Saintsations dancing between quarters but imagine at the end of each quarter if the Saints dimmed the lights and had a procession of 25 flambeau carriers come out of the tunnel onto the field? You think Atlanta coach Mike Smith is afraid of Drew Brees and noise? Wait until he is worried his sideline might catch fire during the latest flambeau show. Nothing intimidates like a flame! The best part is the Saints Flambeau team will have 900 different uniform combinations (Just like the football team) and our own Bradley Handwerger will keep track of the Saints record based on what the Flambeau team is wearing. I look forward to Bradley answering 600 tweets about the Saints record when the flambeau carriers wear all black. They even have a great potential name: The Flambeau Fleurs-de-lis.
2. Naturally N'awlins Gris-Gris Curse
To think all the generations going forward in New Orleans might not get to know, love and appreciate Frank Davis makes me incredibly sad. On Twitter I saw many people say how Frank's passing made them think of their dads because of fishing and cooking. I thought the same thing. A New Orleans without Frank Davis is a little less fun.
I live in Houston and let me tell you what the local TV news is like? It’s like everywhere else in the United States. It’s nothing but bland talking heads giving news, weather, and sports. New Orleans local news has a different history. It’s unique, quirky, and special. Every time we lose a Frank Davis New Orleans TV becomes a little more like everywhere else and that stinks.
I don't want the memories of Frank Davis, Alec Gifford, Bill Elder, Buddy D, and Hap Glaudi to just fade away. I'm old, nostalgic, and love all the unique personalities that have made New Orleans local TV awesome.
I can't help it, I'm a walking version of the song,"Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans."
The Naturally N'awlins Gris-Gris curse idea is really simple; Local New Orleans celebrities get to go on the Dome big screen and put the gris-gris on that week's opponent and at the end of the video a clip runs of Frank saying, "And that's Naturally New Orleans." The thought of Harry Connick Jr. throwing the gris-gris on the Falcons and Frank Davis' memory living forever makes me happy.
*Note: no politician convicted of a crime is eligible to cast the Naturally N'awlins Gris-Gris Curse. This being Louisiana I feel like that needs to be noted.
3. Live alligators on the sidelines
Does this break about 45 laws and endanger fans, coaches, and players? Possibly. And sure adding yet another Saints mascot could anger Gumbo and Sir Saint but if we really want to make winning in the Superdome tough we need to raise the intensity. Jim Harbaugh won't focus so much on throwing his challenge flag during a playoff game when Gaston the gator is 25 feet away. Gaston will be accompanied by a trainer and full Zydeco band but will not be in a cage because this is New Orleans and we let our gators roam. For the record, Gaston can’t work Christmas Eve, as he has to pull St.Nicklus' skiff to make sure all Louisiana children get toys.
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. Special thanks to the guys at Black and Gold Review who took the chart and made it interactive.
The Saints defense was magnificent when Carolina was in second and third and long. The Panthers completed only three passes of more than 10 yards in 20 attempts in those situations.
I wonder if Rob Ryan is hoping as much as I do the Dallas Cowboys replace the 2012 Saints as the worst defense in NFL history. He has to right? I mean Jerry Jones never fired me.
Last Week: 5-0
New Orleans (-5.5) at St. Louis: The last five weeks every game was ‘a big game’ or the ‘biggest game’ and while this week might not feel huge it is.
If the Saints don’t beat the Rams then next week in Carolina becomes a must win and suddenly the Saints are probably going on the road for the playoffs.
This game has the potential to be a repeat of the New York Jets game all over. Against the Jets, the Saints had turnovers on offense and got gashed by the run on defense so the Jets struggling rookie quarterback wasn’t a factor.
This game really comes down to can the Saints make Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens have to throw the ball over 30 times. When Clemens has thrown more than 27 passes this year the Rams haven’t won. There is a reason he is a career backup and the more he throws the more likely we are to see why.
I won’t repeat all the struggles the Saints offense has shown on the road in 2013. You are probably tired of reading them. The offensive line simply has to play better away from the Superdome because the Rams have a pair of great defensive ends in Robert Quinn (13 sacks) and Chris Long (6.5 sacks).
St. Louis is 5-8 and if the Saints can start fast odds are the Rams will fold and it will be a very easy Sunday afternoon. The Saints already had their yearly horrendous road performance on Monday Night in Seattle so I suspect St. Louis is in a world of trouble.
The turnover drought on defense ends in a big way.
Carolina (-11) vs. New York Jets: Why exactly did the Saints hand out plain white towels against the Panthers? They couldn’t get a sponsor to put a Saints logo or write Who Dat Nation on it? I’ll use it as a dishtowel. I won’t call it the worst giveaway at a Saints game just the strangest. Oh and the Panthers are going to do horrible, horrible things to Geno Smith.
I’ll be in Las Vegas this weekend so no column from me Monday. My five fans will be crushed. I will be wagering money legally in Nevada on this game.
Seattle (-7) at New York Giants: Are we sure Tom Coughlin is going to be the Giants coach in 2014? Every time they play even an average team they get destroyed. The Seahawks are way better than average.
Miami (+2.5) vs. New England: Watching the Dolphins almost get beat on a miracle final play nearly caused my poor wife to go into shock. Seeing a team throw desperation laterals is the worst. It’s like a slow motion car crash on your television. If Antonio Brown had not stepped out of bounds I’d be shopping for a new TV because my wife would have put a shoe through our current one.
Detroit (-6) vs. Baltimore: I’m convinced Lions coach Jim Schwartz is Jim Haslett with a goatee. Detroit is an undisciplined mess of a team. The NFC North has been handed to them on a silver platter because Aaron Rogers and Jay Cutler are both hurt yet the Lions aren’t alone in first place. How are they not three games clear at this point? Yet, I’m picking them. This pick makes no sense except the Ravens are not a good road team.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at Itunes.