We preempt this regularly scheduled article about Saints Rookie Mini-Camp to bring you this Saints News Network 'Special Report', about a topic that seemingly refuses to die among Saints fans within The Who Dat Nation fan-base: the alleged 'hatred' of the Saints organization, by assorted members of the National Media that cover the NFL.
If you somehow missed it, the very latest member to perpetuate 'hate' or "throw shade" on the Saints organization is ESPN's NFL 'Insider' Dan Graziano; who while giving his analysis on the brand new, recently released ESPN NFL Power Rankings (yes, Power Rankings in the month of May -- BEFORE any NFL team has even conducted Training Camp or survived the Pre-Season without any significant injuries), gave a scathing preview of what he believes folks will witness from #24th ranked Drew Brees and company in the upcoming 2017 season.
And when I say 'scathing', I mean that Graziano didn't "pull any punches".
In fact, it was as bad as you'd ever want it to be; if you're looking at it strictly from the perspective of a devoted and hard-core loyal member of The Who Dat Nation.
Now to be totally fair and trying to remain unbiased as someone who covers the Saints for a living and is also a native of New Orleans to boot, I didn't think Graziano's take on the Saints was totally inaccurate; although I do feel that he is being a bit harsh.
Additionally, I believe the #24 ranking is a bit low as well --- but it is what is.
But for many Saints fans themselves, they believe that Graziano's blistering criticism is yet another indication of the 'hatred' that's visibly being displayed against the team and the organization over the past several years; by a wide array of National Media members (ESPN, Sports Illustrated, etc.) dating back the past several seasons.
However, if we are to assume that somehow there is some sort of "conspiracy" that's being currently being implemented by the National Media, in an effort to intentionally portray the team in a 'negative light'; then we also have to ask this simple question:
WHY would they even be doing such a thing?
What would be their purpose or their reason to do so?
What could even possibly be behind their motivation?
Is it actually possible that a wide array of NFL analysts from various national publications and websites, are actively seeking to do harm to the New Orleans Saints franchise --- out of all of the 32 NFL teams that they could 'hate' or 'pick on' ?
Why not the Cleveland Browns, who are 'hands down' the worst franchise in Pro Football right now?
What about the Jacksonville Jaguars, who haven't done anything with regard to 'winning', in over a decade?
Or even the "new" version of the Los Angeles Chargers -- who have incurred the wrath of every football fan, both in and outside of southern California -- after the way that they suddenly "up and left" the good people in the city of San Diego this past winter?
The answer is probably not the one you think it is, if you are looking at it with "Black and Gold" colored glasses on.
Simply put, the New Orleans Saints franchise isn't relevant anymore.
According to the official Webster's Dictionary, 'relevant' is defined as: "appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances; of contemporary interest".
Since the year 2012, the New Orleans Saints have finished 7-9 in four of their past five seasons.
Within that same 5-year span, they've only made the NFL Playoffs one time -- in 2013 -- when they finished 11-5 and earned one of the 2 Wild Card spots in the NFC. They were eventually eliminated by the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Round.
So in other words:
In the eyes of the rest of the NFL, the Saints --- as of right now --- just aren't the same relevant team that they were from 2009 through 2011, when they won Super Bowl XLIV and had a combined regular season win-loss record of 36 wins and only 12 losses.
Which means that no one "hates" the Saints.
They just don't RESPECT them anymore.
It's one of the reasons why the Saints are only televised twice this year on National TV, even with two future Hall of Famers -- Drew Brees and Adrian Peterson -- playing together now on the same team.
So how do the Saints get the National Media to respect them again?
Obviously that all starts with winning more games.
In the last 5 years, the Saints have won 39 regular season games and lost 41 of them. That's just below 'break-even' level, which makes them a "middle of the pack" franchise, and not a Top 5 team in the NFL like they were from 2009 through 2011.
We already know that the Saints have had some pretty good Drafts the past few years, and with what appears to be yet another good Draft class this year, hopefully the Saints are poised and ready to "do some damage" this upcoming season, and make a hard run at a NFL Playoff berth this year.
But --- talking about it and then actually going out and doing it, are two different things entirely.
However, this never-ending belief among Saints fans that the National Media "hates" the Saints and their fans, or even the city of New Orleans itself, just isn't true at all.
To borrow a hot term that's always being used in our culture right now, the idea that the National Media 'hates' the Saints is a "false narrative".
For Saints fans, the bottom line is that you shouldn't be offended by anything said by the National Media regarding the Saints right now.
If Saints fans want the National Media to 'shut up' and quit saying things about the team that they don't like, then it's completely on the Saints organization themselves to finally MAKE them have to do it.
The Saints organization, from top to bottom, has a lot to prove this year.
Otherwise, there's a pretty good chance that you might not see some of them --- either on the field or off --- still hanging around in 2018.........