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Why the 2010s were a lost decade for the New Orleans Saints

Saints

The New Orleans Saints have been fortunate enough to have Drew Brees and Sean Payton over the last decade or so. Despite having talented rosters over the years, the 2010s were a wasted decade for the Saints.

When Payton and Brees joined forces in 2006, the duo immediately turned around the franchise. In their first season together, New Orleans made it to the NFC Championship Game but lost to the Chicago Bears.

Just three years later, the Saints hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in team history. But since New Orleans’ Super Bowl win in 2009, the organization has failed to replicate the feeling of winning a championship.

As a matter of fact, the last decade has been filled with heartbreaking losses in the postseason. The year after the Saints won their lone Super Bowl, Payton’s team went 11-5 and lost in the Wild Card Round to the Seattle Seahawks.

To kick off the decade, Marshawn Lynch crushed the Saints’ playoff aspirations with his historic 67-yard run. The loss to the Seahawks in the 2010 postseason was just the beginning for New Orleans’ disappointing decade.

Following the loss to Seattle, the Saints improved upon the 2010 season and went 13-3 in 2011. Even though they were considered as a legitimate contender, New Orleans fell at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. This time around, the Saints were defeated on a game-winning touchdown pass to Vernon Davis.

New Orleans would return to the playoffs in 2013 where they went 11-5 during the regular season. For the second time, the Saints were eliminated from the postseason due to a touchdown run from Lynch and the Seahawks.

After the 2013 season, New Orleans went three consecutive seasons of boasting a 7-9 record. Brees was beginning to reach the point of his career where it appeared that his window to win was closing.

Then, in 2017, the Saints finally clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013. However, just like previous seasons, the fans in New Orleans were in disbelief to witness a last-second play send them home.

With no time remaining, Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown. It was back to the drawing board for Payton and the Saints as they began the 2018 season.

Luckily for them, Brees continued to play at an elite level at quarterback. As a result, the Saints won 13 games in 2018 and were able to make it to the NFC Championship Game once again.

The Saints were considered to be heavy favorites at home against the Los Angeles Rams. A non-call on the Rams and an interception from Brees in overtime would cost the Saints a chance at the Super Bowl.

Last but not least, the Saints were hoping for vengeance in 2019. Following an impressive regular season, New Orleans was upset by the Vikings again after a game-winning touchdown to Kyle Rudolph in the Wild Card Round.

Over the past 10 years, the Saints have won plenty of games; including six seasons of 11 or more wins. At the same time, they’ve suffered through some of the most agonizing losses a franchise could withstand.

But considering the state of the franchise, the 2010s have been a bit discouraging for fans in New Orleans. At one moment, it appeared that the Saints were going to become a dynasty with Brees and Payton at the helm.

At the least, the duo secured one Super Bowl during their time together. Nevertheless, Brees is set to become an unrestricted free agent at 40-years-old in 2020; putting the future of the team in jeopardy.

Provided that, the Saints undoubtedly regret not taking advantage of some of their seasons in recent memory. While the last decade wasn’t a complete disaster, New Orleans is hoping for a better one in the 2020s.