I couldn’t help myself and just had to get to the Superdome to watch the New Orleans Saints kick off their (pre)season versus the Minnesota Vikings. While it was fun to see the Black and Gold running out onto the field and hearing the crowd get hyped it was still just a preseason game — and preseason games are dreadful.
I guess it’s just not preseason for the players but the Superdome staff as well, because the lines heading into Gate A were an absolute mess. After standing in line for a few minutes, and not moving whatsoever, Melanie noticed a sign that said we could enter Gate C. We booked it over to Gate C and did get through the metal detectors quickly. Then we walked into the Superdome, right? Nope. Instead of going in, we stood inside a crush of people, because only a few doors were open. My rough count was 10 lines of people being funneled into three doors. Like I said, a mess.
On a happier note, the biggest indicator that this was just a preseason game was walking up Girod Street. Outside of folks in their game gear it felt like any other day. Instead of an army of Who Dat Nation rolling in unison it was just a few groups scattered around. There were no Who Dat chants. It was more of a let’s talk about our day of work vibe. Since no one was bringing the heat, we dipped into Rouses Market for some pizza that tasted like cardboard (but hey, it we got an entire pie for $5 and I can’t pass up a pizza deal) as well as the last opportunity to buy an alcoholic beverage without taking out a second mortgage.
I have to give it up to the fans as they never ever fail to impress. Saints preseason games attract much larger crowds than other teams. It felt great to be among them yelling at referees and cheering on the team. Of course, it’s preseason so it wasn’t as hardcore as usual but it seemed like there were a lot more families and little kids than usual which is always cool.
The crowd, even in this most inconsequential of games, still brought the noise on third downs and got on their feet a few times. It felt like a solid performance because, hey, we’re practicing too. We had to shake off the rust just like the best of players.
I always say the same thing about preseason games — if your team makes it through without major injuries then it’s a victory. So, in that way, the Saints had a good game.
Rookie Deonte Harris was a bright spot, as the rookie out of Assumption College showed exceptional speed and elusiveness in the return game. I assure Marcus Sherels, the veteran who was brought in specifically for his return abilities took notice.
Speaking of new guys, the Saints Latavius Murray looked good catching balls out of the backfield. I mentioned it before, this team will haunt linebackers this year dropping the ball into Murray and Alvin Kamara’s hand out in the flat.
Wil Lutz looked as solid as ever going 4-for-4 with a long of 52 yards. This guy is straight money and underappreciated.
I’m pumping the brakes on the Teddy Bridgewater love. He looked good in the first drive but I don’t think he performed that great in the clutch. He was aided by a few penalties to extend drives, didn’t do much on third downs and was content to dink and dunk in the passing game. However, his connection with rookie wide receiver Cyril Grayson down the sideline was a thing of beauty.
Unfortunately the defense didn’t seem to play with much heart and the Vikings offense maintained control of the game throughout but, again, it’s impossible to really judge a “team” when your stars are standing on the sidelines.
So the boys didn’t bring home a victory but left the field in good shape and that’s all we need to worry about at this point. It gets real in about three weeks when the Saints host the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football and the Superdome will be rocking and the stars will do things stars are paid to do. It’s going to be awesome.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Flying Fish Brewing’s “Salt and Sea” Session Sour
Playlist Recommendation: De La Soul – “Ring Ring Ring”
Around the Way
What are they putting in the water in Jefferson Parish? Whatever it is that fine concoction evidently creates great baseball and softball players as both the girls and boys of East Bank Little League have made the national World Series.
The girls’ tournament has already kicked off and the team (their called Southwest Region on the scoreboards) has advanced to the knockout rounds. All of the knockout games are airing on ESPN. Check them out today.
The East Bank Little League boys beat a team from Texas and will start their tournament on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. Good luck to all of the boys and girls!