The 2014 New Orleans Saints season can be boiled down to one word: inconsistency.
A week and a day after getting steamrolled at home to the Panthers, the Saints flew off to Chicago and beat down the Bears. In the cold, outside, in the rain. On the road.
But those old narratives don’t really mean much anymore.
Following back-to-back turnovers to start the game, a Brees fumble, two botched field goal attempts and some other assorted messes from both teams, the Saints took over in the second and third quarters and closed the Bears down.
The Superdome has long been known as hostile territory for visiting teams. The crowd prides itself on the cacophonous din raised when their beloved Saints need their help — drowning out visitors' play calls and forcing false starts and bad matchups.
That is, until this year. Now, a great many fans are saying it is they who are being drowned out — by an egregiously bad Superdome sound effect.
It's the Dome Siren, a piped-in air raid alarm-style noise played at ear-splitting intensity each time an opposing team gets ready to play a third down.
The wheels have come off the 2014 New Orleans Saints.
In a tight race with the Atlanta Falcons for “first place” in the sorry NFC South, on Sunday afternoon the Saints rolled over at home to the woeful Carolina Panthers.
It was a sullen, almost sordid affair for a Saints game. A nasty on-field fight spilled through the end zone wall. A fan threw a beer onto the field. The crowd booed an entreaty by the PA announcer to “Please remember our Fan Code of Conduct." By the start of the fourth quarter there were — maybe — a couple thousand people left in the stands.
The Baltimore Ravens came into New Orleans on Monday night and became the third team in a row to beat the Saints at home.
The final score: 34-27.
It’s the first time in 13 years the Saints have lost three straight in the Superdome.
New Orleans managed to take a lead into the half, but the Ravens tied it up with a field goal… and then Drew Brees threw a pick-6 (an interception returned for a touchdown) right to Baltimore safety Will Hill.
Opposing teams have not missed a field goal against the Saints all year.
For players and coaches, a football game starts long before kickoff. The same holds true for the food-minded Saints fan. For such fans, it starts with choosing what to cook and devoting the hands-on work to ensure a victorious feast.
It's really no wonder. Take the enthusiasm of the Who Dat Nation, add south Louisiana's endemic passion for food and the results are predictably over the top.