Sean Payton has been pretty candid all year about being a little rusty after returning from his forced sabbatical. We've seen it ourselves from time to time, particularly in playcalling and clock management situations.

Fortunately, it hasn't really been too big a deal. But I think we all agree that it has definitely been an actual thing, and it's to Coach Payton's credit that he acknowledges it. Sunday night we discovered that he's particularly out of practice in one other specific aspect of his game: the motivational gimmicks. Guh. You'd have to try really hard to come up with such a triple-whammy of bizarre, ill-conceived peripheral silliness. Which I suppose, in a way, kinda made it awesome.

That's why, despite all indications to the contrary, I'm just gonna go ahead and take it as a deliberate exercise in buffoonery. I want to believe that Coach Payton is a magnificent bastard, and the whole thing was some kind of intentional satirical meta-commentary on the kind of foolishness that goes on in other venues. I want to believe that we were supposed to snicker and snark, and enjoy it "ironically" (or whatever the kids are saying these days.) That it was all an elaborate joke. "Ha! So this is the kind of stupid shit they suck down with a straw in places like Kansas City and Pittsburgh, huh?"

I know that's not what it was, but that's what I choose to believe anyway. Shut up, let me have this.

I mean, it might not have been quite so ridiculous if they had just done one of the things and left it at that.

Wanna jump into the whole loudest-stadium pissing contest? Fine, I guess. The Benz™ being loud has always been a point of pride, so I suppose it's easy enough to overlook the "Oooh, all the cool kids are doing it!" and/or "We'll show them!" factor. It still would have been a silly "Me too! Me too!" kind of thing, but whatever.

But Payton wanted to go one better. Put a little hot sauce on it. Or something. And what better way to do that than to appropriate a longstanding (and ridiculous) Pittsburgh "tradition" by hastily arranging for fans in attendance to each receive their very own… towel. (Absolutely free!)

And not just any old towel, no sir. A plain… white… towel. Hell yeah, now that's what I call lagniappe! They fit with pretty much any home, hotel, or motel decor! And word on the street is that they were super plush as well. Tom Benson don't skimp on the toiletries, bitches!

Say, know what else towels (especially plain white ones) are really good for? Putting between a constantly-vibrating appliance and the hard surface upon which it sits in order to… dampen the noise.

So, yeah, why wouldn't you fill the Benz™ with 75,000 pieces of terrycloth on a night when you're trying to set a noise record? White pieces of terrycloth, at that. While the home team is dressed in all black and the opponent is wearing white. Surrender flags, Team Gleason, surely you've heard 'em all by now. And they're all hilarious because… seriously… what the fuck? You couldn't come up with a more poorly thought out giveaway on that particular night if you tried.

But it didn't even stop there, Coach had one more motivational trick up his sleeve. He left sideline passes for a couple of Atlanta-based rappers who made that "anthem" pretty much everybody is sick and goddamn tired of at this point. Presumably for purposes of getting you a lil bit mo crunk. "Surely everybody's gonna totally lose their shit over seeing these two dudes live and in person!" Or something.

Don't get me wrong, it's great that "Halftime" has served the Benz™ so well lo these last several years. But hell, I'm pretty sure not even Connor Payton ever gave a fraction of a shit about actually being in the same building as those two dudes.

(I wonder if Sal & Steve were pissed that they got snubbed in favor the Ying Yang Twins, as opposed to being honored for having invented "Who Dat." My money's on "Yes. Yes they were." Serves 'em right for demanding such an exorbitant appearance fee, I suppose.)

I mean, I guess we can at least be thankful that it wasn't Kenny Chesney or Jimmy Buffett or Robin Thicke or Nickelback. So we've got that going for us. But if you're gonna go all Glanville with it, you might as well go full-Glanville and at least leave the ticket for someone who is currently faking his own death. Like Tupac, for example.

Or, better yet, Kevin DuBrow. I mean, surely I'm not the only one who's been screaming "Who do I have to fuck to get somebody to rock some Slade up in this bitch?!?" I mean, since we're already going retread, white-bred, state-fair with it…

And on a night when you unintentionally sabotaged a manufactured effort to set a noise record by offering a giveaway that couldn't have been more counterproductive to said effort? How could you not invite… Quiet Riot? Come on, Coach. If you're gonna do this shit, do it right!

(I want to be perfectly clear here though, just so there's no confusion about this. Both Slade and Quiet Riot kick[ed] ass.)

Anyway, as silly as the whole thing was, it was also kind of fantastic in all its unapologetic over-the-top corniness. Hearing Sean Payton go all "What do you mean? I don't know, seemed like a good idea at the time!" with it afterwards just put the cherry on top. Rock on, Coach. You're just the goddamn best.

It's a shame the Saints' next home game doesn't come until after the General Purpose Non-Denominational Federal Winter Holiday, because seriously… how fucking metal would it have been for the organization to supply 75,000 giant foam Mr. Bingle style ice cream cone hats to fans in attendance this weekend? Dude! I'd have to repurpose one of them there white towels if they ever did something quite that awesome.

But I guess that'll have to wait until around this time next year. Sigh. Meantime, one hopes that they're already planning something suitably intimidating, motivational and just plain awesome for the week 17 showdown against the Schiano Men. After all, it could end up being Important™.

My suggestion? King Cake Baby masks for everyone! It'd be like a goddamn real life Aphex Twin video or something. Can you even imagine the terror 75,000 King Cake Babies would instill? Heads would explode. The "Twelves" would shit their pants. And so would everyone else.

Sleep tight, NFC.

Think Roger would let Junior and Cam wear a couple of those under their helmets?




Please feel free to pimp us on your favorite social media service: