It’s appeal week, Who Dats. And every one of us has a different opinion on what’s going to happen behind the closed doors of the commissioner’s office. Will Payton and Loomis and Vitt go in and let the commissioner have it? Will they throw red paint on the commish’s new suit and be dragged out by their heels screaming “Hypocrite!” while Goodell’s secretary gasps in horror? Or will they go groveling to the man on their knees, begging for their jobs, as one local media member suggests from atop a horse so high it defies the laws of physics?
I don’t know. We’ll never know. One must assume that someone within the organization has actually seen the document that we’re supposed to believe is 50,000 pages long. (Let’s see. I have a 500-page ream of paper on my desk right now. Just eyeballing it, I’d say it’s about an inch or so thick. Has anyone seen a Fed-Ex guy with an 8-foot stack of paper enter the Saints facility?)
We haven’t seen that evidence, and judging from this scrupulous league office’s history, there are a dozen interns shoveling paperwork into a burn pit at a pace that would make State Farm executives blush so that we never will. We’re told that there are emails, and some game notes, and, uh, well, 49,901 more pages of very damning stuff, or something.
What I wonder most is something I haven’t seen too many people talk about. I wonder what Roger expects out of this appeal. Groveling? Yeah, probably. The dude’s ego is just that big. The best move would be to go with the “but nobody got hurt” line of reasoning – intent means nothing unless a crime is committed. If you listen to the interested parties after it’s all over, you’ll get an impression of a conversation that was amicable and productive and some more adjectives of no less than three syllables that describe a peaceful meeting with level tones and probably an uncomfortable number of handshakes.
That can’t be right though. I refuse to believe it. Roger just cannot be happy about Payton’s pursuit of Parcells as interim coach and the so-obvious-it-must-be-on-purpose failure to give Parcells an official offer so that he’s not “part of the organization” yet under the terms of the imminent suspension. No, Roger’s not happy, because the dirty, cheating, lying Saints are set up to be as good as ever in 2012 – and you better not believe that nonsense coming from Roger’s mouth about not wanting to affect the competitiveness of the team.
He did want to crush the Saints, the evidence is in his actions, and we don’t need 50,000 pages to prove it. We really only need two words: “33 games”. The media’s waking up, slowly, and noticing that, now that their initial outrage at those damned dirty Saints is subsiding. I’m not providing links to those hacks, you can go find it if it matters to you. Peter King is talking about the outrage (here’s looking at you, genius), and Florio posted something that didn’t suggest someone high in the organization should be executed, and still the universe exists, somehow.
When the media writes of backlash from fans, they always seem to be surprised at how passionate and hard-headed our fans can be. Really? This is news to you? We can and will keep it up. Look, I’m not deluded into thinking that we as fans can really make a difference in how the league is run. But what we can do is keep being heard, keep lashing out, keep irritating the hell out of generally everyone involved. That’s right. While the commissioner mulls over how to erase the Saints’ season to offset some potential legal liability that existed long before Gregg Williams ever stepped through the door, Saints fans will chant “Who Dat” while Jimmy Buffet sports a Free Payton t-shirt and the man himself plays the bongos. That’s how we roll. If you can’t beat ‘em, piss ‘em off. (By the way, when did Jimmy Buffet get that old? Holy crap. If I saw that dude lounging on the beach, I’d grab my wife’s hand and take the long way around him.)
That unity, that dedication to lashing out at every opportunity, no matter how passive-agressive, is key to maintaining our sanity and having the last laugh. Mind if I indulge in a little history? I hope you don’t. When Caesar’s armies defeated the Gauls, he went home and wrote about it. Caesar was a cool author, arrogant and conceited. He wrote in the third person, which in my opinion is basically the most kickass way to tell a story about killing lots of people. Angry Who Dat approves wholeheartedly. Historically, the problem is that Caesar was writing for a Roman audience, and there is no dissenting account, so we have to take it with a grain of salt. The Gauls were pretty ruthless; Caesar said that they fought amongst themselves over the leadership of their armies, but once they came together, holy hell. They left their towns and burned them to the ground, in an effort to starve the Roman soldiers. Gotta love the point-of-no-return decision making there.
To make a long story short, of course Caesar won. According to his account (if one reads between the lines) he credited the victory at least in part to a lack of unity among the Gauls. Every step of the way, Ceasar tells us, they were fighting over how to take the next step. While under seige, they fought over whether to eat the women and children, or so Caesar claims. One only needs to spend an hour on any internet message board to realize we’ve had a similar mentality at times.
We can learn a lesson here, Who Dats. Take the no-turning-back attitude of the Gauls, but leave the disunity behind. We don’t have to make complicated decisions here; just dedicate yourselves to ruffling feathers and taking the media to task and chanting Who Dat at terrible concerts and embracing wholeheartedly the “I don’t give a crap what you think” attitude of the administration of our franchise. You want to support them? Join them. Join their cause and display the same brashness and refuse to apologize for anything, and don’t be bothered when they hate us. Embrace it, and enjoy it while it lasts.
That said, I’d give anything to be a fly on the wall in the commissioner’s office tomorrow, but I will have to do what every Saints fan does this week: imagine it, talk myself into believing in a fantasy world where Vitt, Payton, and Loomis stride in with either a convincing argument or a glorious last stand in which no backing down or giving in or apologizing will be tolerated. No White Flags! Yeah, right.
Personally? I like to believe that Roger will confront the guys with whatever flimsy evidence actually exists, and ask them if they have anything to add. Sean Payton will then say, “Sir, physical violence is the least of my priorities,” and launch into an a cappella rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Whether hilarious, ridiculous, obscene, or apologetic, indulge in your vision of these appeals as long as you can, Who Dats, because if we’re to be honest with ourselves, we all know that there is no happy ending here – Goodell will uphold any and all penalties. If he shortened the suspension it would only be to remove the Parcells Maneuver™ from the equation. It seems this move is a win-win for the Rogers of the world. Not to worry, folks, the next move is ours. Whatever it is, I hope it leaves some guys in suits griping to high heaven about those pesky Gauls.
Two more minor issues that made the Who Dat angry this weekend:
1. Celebrities, especially athletes, tweeting about the Mega Millions lottery. Yeah, you have me convinced, you’re just a normal guy dreaming about being rich like the rest of us. But here’s the problem. You are rich. So shut the hell up, and be embarrassed like a decent person should when they spend $1,000 on lottery tickets. You shouldn’t be advertising that, you should be denying it – because it’s stupid. Roddy White, you’re already getting free money. You need to stop it most of all.
2. Blogger. Everything about it. It took me three days. Why does a company as powerful as Google, with so much power at their fingertips, manage to fail at everything they touch? A blog site is a glorified word processor with a hosting service. How do you screw that up?
Have a nice appeal week.