Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. ― In the past three seasons, the Saints have won 13 games, 11 games and 13 games.
They’ve gone 3-0 in the playoffs and won a Super Bowl, gone 0-1 and lost in the wild-card round and gone 1-1 with a divisional-round loss.
Yet – and this is where fans will agree – the standards are higher than that.
The Saints want Super Bowl and nothing less.
So, going 14-4 this past season and setting records galore isn’t a salve for the playoff loss at San Francisco.
“I think your standards continue to get high and are high for what we want to accomplish and so I think just shortly after a loss like that it’s hard to maybe come up with a summary,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Certainly there were a lot of good things about the season, and yet, you get that pit in your stomach with the way it ends. And so that’s difficult.
“Having had a season where it ended with a win, where your last game was a win, you know what that’s like and for everyone else in the postseason that’s not the case.”
Just seven short years ago, a playoff berth is all anyone in New Orleans strived for.
Prior to the Payton Era, the Saints had found themselves in the postseason only five times in the franchise’s previous 39 seasons.
Now, in Payton’s six seasons, they’ve reach the playoffs four times. Only once in franchise history has that happened – from 1987-92 under Jim Mora.
But even those seasons the Saints never won a playoff game.
That’s not the case anymore and Payton realizes the expectation level isn’t where it once was.
“We aspire to win championships here,” Payton said. “That’s our goal when the season starts, (and) that’s our last goal - win the division, put ourselves in the best position possible with seeding and win the Super Bowl. We’ll continue to strive for that, that’s what we set out to do.”