Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
As I get older, if there is one thing that annoys me more and more, it is how too many media writers cover sports with the seriousness of a presidential campaign or a war.
The New Orleans Saints last preseason game is a shining example of what happens when experts want to create extreme levels of outrage and 'serious' issues out of nothing.
It was an exhibition game that you have probably already forgotten 90 percent of. Quick, what was the score of the Saints first preseason game? Did you have to Google the answer? I did.
If you read certain columns about Jimmy Graham's two personal fouls for dunking the football over the goalposts following his touchdowns, you might think he is ruining America, being selfish, or being an egomaniac. If there is anything old sportswriters hate more than players 'not playing the game the right way' or making a spectacle of themselves, I have yet to discover it.
God forbid Jimmy Graham show a little anger over yet another dumb NFL rule in A GAME THAT DOESN'T COUNT! What was he thinking? What about the children, Jimmy?
The only thing I didn't like about Jimmy Graham getting the 15-yard penalty was he didn't get good value. Graham should have dunked the ball, taken and tweeted a selfie, had a sign ready saying Roger Goodell=No Fun League, and finished with an ice bucket challenge for ALS. If you are going to make yourself the center of attention, then you should go big and raise money for charity.
The best line about all the media outrage Graham caused came from one of my Twitter followers, The Angry Ocho, who said, 'Dunks on goalposts are the gateway penalty. Soon he will be dunking on woman and children.'
So true. We should applaud Roger Goodell saving countless women and children from Jimmy Graham's dunking fury.
My personal favorite Jimmy Graham outrage column was Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports wondering if Graham's two penalties might destroy the entire Saints locker room and single handedly burn an entire organization to the ground. Take it away Greg...
'If you're Payton, you're a little nervous. You're wondering if other players on the team will decide that the most talented guy on roster, Jimmy Graham, is onto something. Maybe this whole team game isn't about the team but the player. The game on Friday night mattered, all exhibitions do for myriad reasons, and Graham treated it like it mattered most of all to him and his version of anarchy.'
You hear that Saints fans? ANARCHY. We could be one more Jimmy Graham dunk from the lawless land of the television show 'The Walking Dead' but without the zombies! Violent gangs roaming the countryside doing unspeakable things! You can't win football games with anarchy!
Why yes, after watching Sean Payton coach the Saints for seven years, we know he is soft on discipline and barely has control of the locker room. He never yells at players and let's the inmates run the asylum. When I think Sean Payton I think anarchy is just one play away. Just look how terrible coordinated the Saints offense is? I've seen fraternity keg parties better organized.
Did you catch Sean Payton's post game press conference? From my point of view it was almost more entertaining than the actual game. I joked on Twitter Payton was one stupid question away from dropping four letter words everywhere.
If media or fans think Sean Payton is going to let the Saints be swallowed up by a tsunami of penalties, then you either haven't watched the Saints since 2006 or just want to write a column that gets a ton of page views. The man looked as if he was one more illegal contact penalty away from turning into a pro wrestler and cracking a chair over one of his own players' heads. Let the following quote ease your mind...
'We'll say, 'Hey, when we get to the regular season, it'll clean itself up,'' Payton said. 'That's silliness.' His face had the seriousness of Dwight Eisenhower planning the invasion of Normandy. It will be OK.
Sean Payton would be horrible to have as a boss. He'd nag you about every little thing, make you uncomfortable and likely have you worried about being fired. I'd want my boss to be none of those things, but I love them in my team's football coach. I don't have to worry about the Saints season getting ruined by penalties because Sean Payton is worried about it for me.
I have seven years of Payton to base that off of. When Jim Haslett said penalties were a problem and he'd fix them, I'd laugh, because history told us Haslett's Saints were barely capable of lining up correctly.
You know what the last four years of Sean Payton on the sideline tell me? 48 wins and 16 losses. Let's all bet on that and point at everyone yelling, 'CRISIS!' and laugh. It'll be fun and that's what Saints football is supposed to be anyway.
I worry about lots of things about the 2014 Saints; will they have any healthy corners week one vs. Atlanta, will the place kicking drive us crazy, and what happens if a starting offensive tackle gets injured? You know what I don't worry about? Jimmy Graham's penalty stunt. September can't get here fast enough.
---------- 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.