Sleepless since Seattle

by Leslie Turk

Rest up, Saints fans. Good things are coming.

By now several opportunities for sleep have passed since the Saints lost their divisional playoff game to the Seahawks. Many Who Dats, however, have remained sleepless since Seattle.

You can't get into the Saints website without seeing this. Time to chill, Saints fans. Our boys will be back bigger and better.

They can't put aside Ingram's fumble, Colston's pass, Brees' inaccuracy or Graham's disappearance. In time such memories may fade only to be replaced by insomnia's best friend: fear of the future. Dominating the future for the afflicted will be free agency and the possible loss of the NFL's best tight end, the formerly quite visible Jimmy Graham. Possible complications include intrusive musings over "cap space," restricted versus unrestricted free agents, and restructured contracts. Saints fans suffering from theses advanced symptoms should seek professional help.

Also in the future is the draft, an opportunity to choose fresh spectacular faces or blow the whole enterprise on a pothead. The fact that the Saints have done both in the past would keep Rip Van "Who Dat" awake.

Fortunately, past observations have shown Seahawk-induced insomnia to be temporary, though occasionally recurring. The key to recovery lies in allowing pleasant thoughts of goodness and stability to drive away disturbing images of the past and future. Here to alleviate suffering (and prevent some late night phone calls) are four people who will give Saints fans positive feelings. And they aren't going anywhere.

  1. Gayle Marie LaJaunie Benson - Ever wonder what happened to old, obnoxious Tom Benson? The gazillionaire who constantly threatened to move the Saints? (Talk about sleepless nights.) The boogying dancer who extorted every governor he ever met? Seems he found Gayle, by all accounts a generous, caring person. Talk of the Saints leaving stopped soon after she started attending games. So did the dancing, thank God.

  2. Mickey Loomis - The Saints general manager since 2002 has presided over only three losing seasons, 2005 (Katrina), 2007 (0-4 start) and 2012 (Bountygate). He rebuilt the team after Katrina, signing Sean Payton and Drew Brees, and drafting Reggie Bush. The amazing result in 2006 was the first season ticket sellout in Saints history. He later re-signed Brees and survived Bountygate. And he won a Super Bowl.

  3. Drew Brees - Who can imagine moving to New Orleans less than five months after Katrina? Granted, he received $60 million to do so and signed only after the Miami Dolphins under the leadership of Nick Saban chose Daunte Culpepper instead. But at the time Brees said, "I just felt the energy in New Orleans. They believe I can come back from the shoulder injury and lead them to a championship." The Saints had just played one home game in New York, four in Baton Rouge, and three in San Antonio where the mayor, egged on by Benson, was convinced the Saints would move permanently. All that and Brees "felt the energy" and envisioned a championship. Want more? The top three free agent quarterbacks after Brees were Chris Simms, John Kitna and Josh McCown. And with Brees on board the Saints could draft Bush and avoid the top three quarterbacks in the draft: Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler. Happy, happy, happy.

  4. Sean Payton - Simply one of the two or three best coaches in the NFL. An offensive mind second to none with an eye for talented players and coaches, Payton is also an excellent motivator and play caller. More than that he's one of us, a true Who Dat. What other coach received a phone call offering him an NFL head coaching position while attending a Bon Jovi concert? Or admitted "passing out" with the Lombardi trophy in his arms the night after winning the Super Bowl? He and his family lived through the immediate aftermath of Katrina and his personal life suffered as a result, like so many others. He had his run-in with authority and served his time like many in the state with highest incarceration rate in the country. He's a gambler, winning and losing his bets in big games. He's a survivor, an enduring figure in New Orleans and Louisiana. Payton's back and so are the Saints.

Who Dats, get some sleep. Big days are coming.