Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A dire day in the Dome (not last night)

I often search for old Saints games on YouTube. As you might expect, there aren't many to choose from, and most of them (also predictably) are ones us fans would rather forget. (Indeed, every good Saints game I've ever seen on YouTube has eventually been taken down, while the bad ones last much longer.)

So naturally, YouTube currently hosts what must be (but sadly, might not be) the most shameful week in Saints history — their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1977.

Tampa Bay had never won a game. Ever. They were 0-26 all-time. They hadn't scored in three weeks, and scored only seven points in the past five. They sucked.

So of course they thrashed the Saints, 33-14. In New Orleans.

What struck me about this video is that, even early on, there seems to be almost no crowd noise in the Dome. I thought maybe that was because of the technological limitations of the time, but the commentators note that there only about 40,000 fans at the game, just over half-capacity. And they aren't boisterous fans, either, even from the get-go. This isn't a fan base growing silent as the worst team in NFL history embarrasses their boys; it's a group already weary from 10 years of despair and ever-bleaker prospects, perhaps subconsciously aware that 10 more years of the same awaited them.

By contrast, last night's game was a joy to watch. Even if the Saints had lost, it would still be great to hear that boisterous Superdome crowd make the most of the acoustics. It's so loud, constant and overarching that it compares to radio static. It levels off mainly as a function of fatigue. Saints fans have been persistent and loyal over the years, but the vibe definitely changes when they're winning. Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of that. This video is a reminder of how far the team has come.

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