Much like last month’s NFL Draft, many football lovers eagerly awaited the release of their favorite team’s upcoming NFL schedule. The NFL, never missing the opportunity to make some cash, turned the affair into a three-hour event. To be honest, I was really looking forward to it because what the heck else am I going to do?
However, unlike the draft, I only watched about three seconds of the NFL’s schedule release. Honestly. I turned it on and immediately turned it off realizing life is just too short to watch the Rich Eisens and Deion Sanders of the world — easily the worst crew covering the sport (if you can even call it coverage).
The show was made redundant by the immediacy of Twitter anyway. Throughout the day, local and national scribes reported on which games would be played when and, before you knew it, the entire season was cobbled together right before our very eyes.
And, boy oh boy, is this year’s New Orleans Saints home schedule going to be one for the ages. To say it’s hot would be an insult to heat and this spicy endeavor cranks up the oven Week One with the visit of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their wonderboy duo of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
In what used to be a ho-hum division game has been turned into must-see TV with the former Patriots heading south to warmer climates. The hype train has already left the station, albeit slowly, with some predicting a playoff visit for Tampa Bay but I’m not ready to go there just yet.
Their season ends is a question mark, but I am sure it will begin with a loss in the Superdome, even with the Saints recent history of shaky starts. Drew Brees will not lose to Tom Brady at home. Mark it down. That historic first will be followed by another one, as the NFL sends the Black and Gold to Las Vegas to open up the Raiders’ new dome. It will be a rough road game so early in the season. Teams only get to play their first home game ever once and this game will have a playoff feel. It’s delicious to contemplate the Saints getting the chance to pin losses on the debuts of Brady in Tampa Bay and the Raiders in Las Vegas. This is a schedule that bears many gifts.
Home Slate For The Ages
The home slate just keeps delivering as Week Three brings Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to the Dome. Rodgers will be looking for revenge as the Saints thumped the Packers 44-23 in their last visit to the Dome in 2014. Plus, I imagine Rodgers will still be spitting fire since the Packers shocked the NFL by selecting quarterback Jordan Love in the first round. So, that’s gonna be fun.
The next two weeks will have the team travel to Detroit and host the Chargers before heading into the bye week. On the other side of the bye, intrigue goes back up to 10, as our man Teddy Bridgewater returns to New Orleans leading the Carolina Panthers. I expect Who Dat Nation to give Teddy a massively warm reception as he is introduced and then a massive cold shoulder for the next 60 minutes. The Saints follow this contest up with back-to-back road games in Chicago and a rematch in Tampa Bay.
That all sets up the megaton showdown with the San Francisco 49ers. At home again. I’m sure you remember what happened last year. I’m sure you remember all of the red in the stands. I’m relying on you to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Enough said.
After that revenge game, the stomping of the Atlanta Falcons shall go down on the Sunday previous to Thanksgiving night, which will be nice for yours truly. I never quite feel my age as I do when trying to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends at the Fairgrounds and then getting inside the Dome to feast on dirty birds. That’s just a helluva day, y’all. One year, we also worked in a friend’s midday birthday celebration and concert down on Frenchman. By the time it was game time, Melanie said she thought she was going to die. But, we powered through to support the Black and Gold!
The Saints longest stretch from the friendly confines of the Super Dome follows with the boys traveling to Denver, Atlanta and a rough December matchup in frigid Philadelphia (cue Brees can’t play in cold weather sports talk).
When they return they’ll have the Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs and their superhuman quarterback Patrick Mahomes (cue dynasty sports talk) to deal with. After that tough go revenge will be in the air once again as the Minnesota Vikings come to town to close out the home slate. The last game of the regular season has the Saints traveling to Carolina in a game that hopefully features a lot of stars in Black and Gold chilling on the sidelines awaiting the playoffs.
In short, it’s an amazing schedule in which every home game has a primetime feel. The Saints will face off in the Dome against Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, rookie first-rounder Justin Herbert, Teddy Bridgewater, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes and the nerd from Minnesota. That’s just a beautiful slate of games.
Now let’s all put our hands together (as in keep washing them) and hope that we can all watch these games together at the Dome in a safe fashion. It feels like a long shot at this point but keep your hopes high and family safe. We’ll get through this and there is literally gold (and black) on the other side of the rainbow. Who Dat.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: New Orleans To-Go Restaurants list
Playlist Recommendation: Little Richard – “Lucille”
Around the Way
Congratulations to Erica and Austin Carr who welcomed their newborn son Clive into the world on April 4. As with everything these days, there was a scare, as it was revealed that Erica had contracted Covid-19 prior to childbirth. Thankfully, everyone is happy and healthy. Austin re-signed with the Saints earlier this week.