Fun with Folse
Published 12:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005
David Folse II
Can the Saints ever make it?
Comparisons in professional sports are about as common as big contracts. They are everywhere.
In Major League Baseball, everybody wants to beat the Yankees, in basketball everyone wants to beat the Lakers, and in the National Football League everyone wants to beat the New England Patriots.
In a world of parity and salary cap gurus, the New England Patriots have quietly, if you can do it quietly, won three Super Bowls in the past four seasons.
That my friends is a dynasty.
The question that I pose is, can the New Orleans Saints ever reach that plateau?
Let’s break it down shall we.
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery and if you can’t beat them, you try to copy them.
Let’s start with the position of owner: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft vs. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.
Maybe not as important as in the years where there was not a salary cap in the NFL and top players went to the highest bidder; the position of owner is still an important part of any organization.
Kraft has simply spent the money. He has a completely privately-funded stadium that he owns. He spends the money for the top head coaches and personnel men.
Fans love to hate Tom Benson but if you look at the numbers, it is tough to make an argument that he hasn’t spent the money. He paid big money to Haslett because he believes that he is his man. Benson has spent the $$$$$, but has just struck out on the decision making.
Perhaps the biggest disparity between the Patriots and the Saints is in the personnel department: Patriots Scott Peoli vs. Saints Mickey Loomis.
Peoli is considered the top personnel man in the entire league. Tom Brady in the second day of the draft ring a bell?
Under Randy Mueller, Loomis was the salary cap man. When Benson and Mueller “broke apart,” the numbers man was promoted to the position of general manager. This promotion will perhaps go down as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the organization. Trading up to draft Jonathan Sullivan?????? Come on!
The position of general manager has a direct correlation with my next match up: Patriots Bill Belichick vs. New Orleans Jim Haslett.
Is this really an argument???? Haslett has one playoff win; Belichick has only one playoff loss. One of the brightest defensive minds in the entire league, Belichick is arguable now the best coach in the history of the National Football League; surpassing his “mentor” Bill Parcells.
Haslett meanwhile hasn’t been to the playoffs in four seasons and is negotiating a contract extension.
Don’t even get me started on Tom Brady vs. Aaron Brooks. Do I really have to get into that? Some of the personnel decision that this franchise has made throughout the years have boggled the mind.
Let’s take a little trip down the horror that is memory lane: former wide receivers Michael Haynes and Andre Hastings, cornerback Eric Allen, cornerback Dale Carter, cutting some placekicker named Morten Anderson and signing to an extension the best example of a one-year wonder in defensive end Renaldo “Terrible” Turnbull.
So, can the Saints ever reach the mountain top, or the “Patriot Top?” Only time will tell. It sure doesn’t look good right now.