Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saints Running Up the Score on Atlanta: Classless?

Well, I guess it's to be expected that some Atlanta Falcons fans would be complaining about the decision by Sean Payton to let Drew Brees gun for the record on Monday night football by driving for another score with only 3:22 minutes left in the game and the Saints holding an insurmountable 22 point lead.  Was Payton's decision unsportsmanlike?  Not in the least, if you ask me.

First off, I never understood why at the professional level there would ever be something unsportsmanlike about scoring whenever possible.  I mean, these guys are getting paid to play to score and to win.  They have an obligation to their paying fans to play 100% all out for the entire 60 mintues.

Second, putting up points can make a difference to the team in all sorts of ways.  It puts other potential competitors on notice.  It can just suck the life out of the opponent which can give a team a psychological advantage the next time the two teams play.  And the fact is that there's a really good likelihood that the Saints will play the Falcons again in the playoffs when it really matters.  Getting that psychological edge is good strategy for that eventuality.

Third, it does great things for team morale, for fan morale, and for the players to be associated with a history-breaking performance by the team's QB on a Monday night football game with serious divisional and playoff implications.

All that said, I disagree with Duncan on one point.  At the end of his article, he calls for yanking the starters next week once the 49ers outcome is known, all in the interests of protecting the players for the playoffs and for the Superbowl run.  Again, the fans pay good money to see their starters play all 16 regular season games.  Only injury should keep someone out of the lineup.  And the Saints as a team could really rack up an historical season by playing aggressively, with their best talent, and putting up some great team offensive numbers.


Eric said...

I don't have a problem with a coach running up the score, ever... but I do think it is wise to take your best players out of the game once you are reasonably sure victory has been secured or a statement has been made. There is no promise to fans that they will always get to see their favorite starter play for 4 quarters, and some fans enjoy watching the back up squad play so they can assess the talent waiting in the wings.

Huck said...

Maybe some fans enjoy watching back-up players get some playing time, but not many.

Most people who pay a ticket premium want to see their team's starters and their team's star playmakers on the field.

It's one thing to cycle in the back-up players with a few minutes left in a game that has been satisfying to watch up to that point; but it's another thing altogether to actually give over an entire game to the back-ups -- especially if it's potentially the last home game of the season.