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Drew Brees, Sean Payton

Editorials

Is the Saints’ Super Bowl window closed after their loss to the Rams?

Ever since their Super Bowl victory following the 2009 season, the New Orleans Saints have struggled to get back to the big stage.

It isn’t due to a lack of effort. The Saints have still managed to tally multiple playoff appearances since 2009, but in those appearances they have bowed out in dramatic and controversial fashion. From Marshawn Lynch’s famous 67-yard touchdown run in the 2010 Wild Card round, to most recently falling after the pass interference penalty that wasn’t called against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game less than a week ago.

No matter what year it is, the Saints always find themselves in headlines regarding their playoff exits. It was just last year that they were ousted by the Minnesota Vikings on a walk-off touchdown after a defensive blunder.

The Saints have had a plethora of chances to make it to the Super Bowl with the great teams they have had during their runs, wasting every single one. With this most recent exit on the footstep of the Super Bowl, it begs the question: is the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl window closed after their loss to the Rams?

Boarded shut

Drew Brees, Saints

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Not only has their window closed, but it has been boarded up. Teams in this league only get so many opportunities at the Super Bowl. The fact that the Saints couldn’t get back with Drew Brees at the helm is the epitome of underachieving. Brees is not getting any younger, as we saw as the 2018 season started to wind down.

Brees wasn’t the same explosive quarterback that he was in the first half of this season. He was even, at one point, considered to be an MVP of the league. It wasn’t until the last five or six games that he dramatically fall off and Patrick Mahomes all but locked up the award.

Now that we saw how he deteriorated as the season progressed, it makes you wonder if we’ve seen the last of Drew Brees playing elite football. That seems to be the case just based off what we saw from him in the playoffs.

His throws were inaccurate and lacking in power. His late fourth quarter bomb to Ted Ginn Jr is exemplary of it. It almost looked like a punted ball, which is very eye opening because the game was being played inside of a dome.

The New Orleans Saints have wasted Drew Brees’ elite years. He won’t be the same quarterback next year as he was this year. He’ll surely start regressing sooner in the season in 2019 than he did in 2018.

Unless the Saints’ defense can improve and the offense starts to rely on the running game a bit more (it was shut down by the Rams in the NFC Title game), the Saints’ dream of a Super Bowl is assuredly over. The only question that will follow this one is how long until the Saints let go of head coach Sean Payton?

What’s next for Sean Payton?

Sean Payton, Saints

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Payton is the main perpetrator to the Saints’ loss to the Rams, not the referees. He’s a fantastic play caller in the regular season, but one recurring theme we always see out of him is how he flames out in the playoffs.

He either gets too cute or just force feeds an offensive aspect, which is why the no-call pass interference is an issue in the first place. Payton dialed up a pass on first down as opposed to running the ball and forcing the Rams to burn their timeouts.

Thanks to his force feeding, Sean Payton may be responsible for closing the Saints’ Super Bowl window. Even if Brees is still playing at a high level next season and Payton rebounds, they still have the great depth of competition in the NFC. It’s not going to be as easy for the Saints in 2019 as it was this past season.

The odds are definitely stacked against the Saints. It’s difficult to see this team beating those odds with an older Drew Brees and a head coach that makes critical errors when it matters most