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Barry Hirstius

Saints Numbers Are Nice — But Don’t Mean Anything Without the W’s

Number #1.

That's where the New Orleans Saints were ranked overall in total offense last year, and they were #2 overall in points per game.

2.

That's the number of teams in NFL history (the 2013 Denver Broncos were the only other) with a 5,000-yard passer (Brees), two 1,000-yard receivers (Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Mark Ingram) all in a single season.

5,208.

That's the number of passing yards that Drew Brees had last season, which was the 5th time in his career (more than all other QBs in NFL history combined). No other NFL QB has done it more than once. EVER.

Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Brees, here's another number: 465.

That's the number of pass completions that Brees needs in the upcoming 2017 season to surpass Hall of Fame and former Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre, who holds the current record with 6300. 

With 5,836 career completions right now, Brees is behind only Peyton Manning (6,125) and Favre. If Brees is able to completes 465 passes this season, he’ll break Favre’s record.

Barring any unforseen injury or a meteor falling from the sky and landing on top of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, it's an easy task for Brees, who completed 471 passes last year.

And since we're so fascinated with numbers, here's a few more:

Brees also has a good chance of breaking another Hall of Fame QB -- New Orleans native and former Colts legend Peyton Manning’s -- records for career yards and touchdowns, although he’ll probably at the very least need two more seasons to do that.

Brees currently sits 5,829 yards behind Manning and 74 touchdowns behind Manning. That's likely to happen sometime near the end of the 2018 season, if God is willing to continually bless Brees with a few free samples of bottled water from "The Fountain of Youth".

Now just in case you haven't noticed, all of these numbers listed above are just some of the numbers that a large segment of Saints fans seem to openly gush over, as if they were a group of computer geeks at a math and science convention.

Photo courtesy of David Grunfeld, The New Orleans Times-Picayune

But perhaps what's being lost by those particular fans' love for numerals which illustrate just how great that the Saints or Drew Brees are or have been in their impressive accomplishments, is something far more important.

You see that's because in the bigger picture, the only thing that really matters is WINNING.

You remember that if you're a Saints fan, right?

Like the 13 wins in the NFL's 2009 regular season, which was back when the Saints won their one and only Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLIV) -- the same Super Bowl victory that most Saints fans arrogantly believe that the rest of the NFL still cares about, when the reality is that most football fans from elsewhere across the country could give a damn less -- since a majority of them don't even remember who won the Super Bowl 2 years ago much less almost 8 years ago.

Here's a number for you: 21.

Want to know what that number stands for?

That's 21 out of the last 48 regular season games that the Saints have won dating back to the 2014 season, you know the same year that the Saints currently have ZERO players remaining from that year's 2014 NFL Draft class.

Oh, and one more while we're at it: 3.

That's the both the number of consecutive losing seasons that the Saints currently have, as well as the current number of consecutive times that the Saints have missed the NFL Playoffs thanks to three straight 7-9, 7-9, and 7-9 finishes (2014, 2015, 2016).

By now, you're probably thinking to yourself: Geez dude, relax. You sound like some old man that's always standing outside in front of his home, yelling at the neighborhood kids to 'STAY OFF MY LAWN!!!'

So I'll just end my rant about numbers and Saints fans' seemingly never-ending fascination with them by just simply saying this: 

Numbers are nice, but they don't mean a damn thing without the W's.

Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

The only thing that anyone --- and I do mean anyone --- cares about in the NFL and usually in any sport being played in general, is being the team or individual that has the most success.

And that success is ultimately determined by the number of games a team or an individual has won, not by statistics.

Somehow along the way, that seems to have been forgotten in this day and age of handing out participation trophies to our children and grandchildren, even after you just finished watching 7-year old Bobby and his teammates get their collective asses whipped so bad that the scoreboard operator had to stop updating the number of points being put up by the other team.

It's okay that little Bobby and his teammates got humiliated, because they still had "fun".

That's all well and good, and if we are supposed to be happy with the results regardless if they go in our favor or against us, then so be it.

But....the New Orleans Saints play in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, and the "big boys" of the NFL play by a whole different set of rules then the kids in Pop Warner do.

Which is exactly why it should come as no surprise that the League's ultimate prize -- the Vince Lombardi Trophy -- is named after the same man who once famously said: "Winning isn't everything, it's the ONLY thing".

Sure, we want the youth culture to understand the important things such as player safety and good sportsmanship; but somewhere along the way, we've forgotten to tell them what the GOAL of playing sports is besides the thrill of competition, which is to be the best that you can be.

Photo courtesy of David Grunfeld, The New Orleans Times-Picayune

And whether we like it or not, that is ultimately measured by winning games --- not putting up great stats but still losing the game in the end.

Truth be told: you can actually achieve victory while posting average to slightly above average stats. In the end, it's about making pivotal plays in key moments, instead of falling prey to or becoming a victim of them.

And so now it seems as if the New Orleans Saints and their fans suddenly have gotten too comfortable with losing, and have allowed the love of numbers to become an acceptable substitute for victory.

In the next few months ahead, we'll going to eventually find out if both are finally ready to raise their standards --- and make the goal of getting "W's" become a priority, once again........

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Saints News Network Editor / Featured Columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and columnist previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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