What are the chances he's wearing pants?Friends, New Orleanians, countrymen, lend me your eyes. I come to bury Reggie, not to praise him.

So much for Reggie being "UNTRADEABLE!!!!" eh J-Dunc? So much for "The Saints want him back, Reggie wants to be back, and they'll figure out a compromise to keep him on the team." So much for "Reggie understands that New Orleans is the best place for him, and the Saints understand that they NEED him in this offense for it to be as effective as it has been." So much for "No way in hell the Saints draft a tailback in the first round." So much for "Oh, they drafted a tailback in the first round, but it doesn't affect Reggie at all, and there's room for all of 'em in the backfield." So much for… well, just about all conventional wisdom all summer long.

All I know is that for the first time in my life, I have a bona fide "second favorite team." Thanks, Miami. First you give us two first-round picks for Ricky Williams, then you let us have Drew Brees, and now you get Reggie Bush out of my face? And give the Saints something in return for the privilege?

I love you, Miami Dolphins. With a small portion of my heart. I will genuinely be pulling for Kyle Orton and Reggie Bush to get you to the Super Bowl this year. Hey, two seasons ago, the Saints beat the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV in Miami. There would be a certain delightful symmetry in the Saints defeating the Dolphins two seasons later in Indianapolis. With Reggie playing for the other team this time.

And to Mickey Loomis: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'd kiss you if you weren't swimming with disease. You, sir, are absolutely owning it this whole offseason.

Look, I've been accused of being a "Reggie Hater" pretty much from the day I started this here blog. And for the 3-millionth time, hopefully the last, I will point out that I've never "hated" Reggie Bush for any reason. Oh sure, we've had a good bit of fun at his expense here over the years, no sense in denying that. That puts Reggie right there with Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton and Drew Brees. We'll bag on anybody when there's a chuckle to be had, and/or when we can piss off Message Board Guy.

I don't "hate" Reggie. Never have. I just think he's not a very productive NFL football player. And guess what? I'm right. Always have been. And with each passing year, I (and those of my ilk) have only been getting righter.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. There was nothing else the Saints could have done with the 2nd overall pick in 2006. They had to take Reggie. And doing so was not a mistake, not by a long shot. It was exactly what they should have done, what they had to do, and if I could travel back to 2006 and be in Mickey Loomis's position, I'd do it all over again. There is genuine merit to the notion that Reggie Bush may very well have saved NFL football in New Orleans back in 2006. Maybe that's true and maybe it's not, but I damn sure wouldn't chance it. For that hypothetical alone, the Reggie Bush Era was more than worth it.

But that was 2006. Half a decade ago. Everything has changed since then. And while many would argue that Reggie played no small role in that, I would assert that Reggie did in fact play a pretty small role in that.

Reggie lit the fuse for the change, no argument there. How? Why, by being a celebrity, of course. By being a "superstar." By mugging for the cameras. By saying all the things we desperately wanted to hear. By flashing that winning smile. By "putting the Saints back on the map" (or, more accurately, putting them back on Sportscenter.) By generating excitement, just by virtue of being Reggie Bush. And that's great. Thank you, Reggie. No sarcasm. Thank you for that. It was exactly what the Saints and the city of New Orleans needed at the time, and you might have been the only person on the planet at that time who could have pulled that off. And you did pull it off, and it was huge. Maybe much moreso than we'll ever really know.

But that was 2006. At the time, the Saints weren't so much a football team as they were a reality tee vee show. And Reggie did what reality tee vee stars do. They bring star power. They bring the pretty, the glitz and glam. They bring excitement and drama. They make people pay attention. They "expand the brand." As I've said before, he was Paris Hilton. He was Kim Kardashian.

Lest we forget, all indications were that he never wanted to be here in the first place. He auditioned for The Apprentice and got stuck on Big Brother. He was hoping to be on Top Chef and ended up on Chopped. But he didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter, and to his credit, he learned to live with it. Hey, $60MM is $60MM am I right?

And much like Paris Hilton, he got himself a smash-hit top-40 single back in 2006. He led the team in total yards from scrimmage (by 52 yards over Dulymus, who at that point was the Saints' very own Paul McCartney. Accomplished, but pretty much done, and definitely not at all relevant to the pop charts anymore.) It would be Reggie's one and only 1000+ scrimmage yards season. And, against all odds, the Saints went from 3-13 to the NFC Championship Game.

"Hey, this Paris Hilton chick is a pretty talented singer. Pretty hot too. Clearly the sky's the limit for her."

Problem is, much like with any reality tee vee star, the more you see of 'em, the less impressed you are.

Reggie slipped to second on the team in total scrimmage yards in 2007. On the other hand, he did lead the team in rushing yards for the first and only time. Unfortunately, that was mostly by default. He only rushed for 581 yards and was 4th among Saints tailbacks in yards per carry. Payton wasn't ready to trust Pierre yet, Dulymus spent most of the season in street clothes, and Aaron Stecker was Aaron Stecker.

2008: 3rd on the team in rushing yards and scrimmage yards.
2009: 3rd on the team in rushing yards and 5th in scrimmage yards.
2010: Tied for 4th on the team in rushing yards (with Ladell Betts!!!) and 9th (NINTH!!!) in scrimmage yards.

Reggie Bush never led the Saints in total touchdowns. He never led the team in 40+ yard plays or even 20+ yard plays. He led the team in scrimmage yards once (half a decade ago in 2006) and in rushing yards once (in 2007.)

He played in 44 of 64 regular season games the last four years, and missed 20. That's 68.75% played to 31.25% missed.

But, by golly, despite all that, the one thing nobody will dispute is that the Saints' offense was a fuckload better with Reggie than without! Right, ESPN? Right, NFL Network? Right, Times-Picayune? Right, Message Board Guy? Dude is a bona fide playmaker. A touchdown waiting to happen. A defensive coordinator's nightmare. He opens the whole damned offense up so that other, lesser players can… you know… actually make the plays. Forget the stats! Reggie is the X-factor that makes this offense run!

So why is it that, looking back now that it's finally over, for the entire time Reggie has been here, the Saints' offense has an unblemished record of being more productive without Reggie than with? And I do mean unblemished.

2006: Reggie played in all 16 games.

2007 with Reggie: 12 games | 343.91 yds/gm | 22.16 points/gm | 5-7 record
2007 without Reggie: 4 games | 413.25 yds/gm | 28.25 points/gm | 2-2 record

2008 with Reggie: 10 games | 390.7 yds/gm | 25.2 points/gm | 4-6 record
2008 without Reggie: 6 games | 444 yds/gm | 35.16 points/gm | 4-2 record

2009 with Reggie: 14 games | 400.78 yds/gm | 31 points/gm | 11-3 record
2009 without Reggie: 2 games | 425 yds/gm | 38 points/gm | 2-0 record

2010 with Reggie: 8 games | 341.5 yds/gm | 23.5 points/gm | 6-2 record
2010 without Reggie: 8 games | 403.5 yds/gm | 24.5 points/gm | 5-3 record

Reggie Bush is not "essential" to this offense, and hasn't been for half a decade. He is, in fact, detrimental to this offense.

Small sample size? It's a full season and a quarter of another. It's a full quarter of the Payton/Brees/Bush Era. It's a HUGE sample size.

And it would be one thing if the disparity was a matter of splitting hairs, if the Saints' offense had been slightly better without Reggie than with, if the difference weren't so significant. But it is. It's a huge difference.

And it was all the time. It's not like "every once in a while the Saints would have a huge offensive game against some chump opponent while Reggie just happened to not be playing, and it skewed the stats." That's just not true, and it never has been. The reality is that the Saints have played damn near one third of their games without Reggie over the last 4 years, and they're always better without him than with. By a lot. One fuckin' hundred percent of the time.

If Reggie's the catalyst that opens up the offense and allows it to reach its full potential, then why is it that over a half decade, the offense puts up more yards, scores more points, and the team wins more games without him?

If Reggie still gives opposing defensive coordinators nightmares, then my question is "Why? Is it because opposing defensive coordinators are a bunch of pussies who are completely ignorant of the reality of the situation facing them?" Far as I can tell, that's the only logical conclusion. Well, either that, or the whole myth of Reggie making DCs soil their boxers on a weekly basis is a crock of shit.

And that's all that really needs to be said about whether or not parting ways with Reggie will be a net positive or a net negative for the Saints going forward.

I'd say "It's about damn time Loomis and Payton finally figure that out" but all indications are that they both figured that out some 3 years ago, and what we've been witnessing since then has been "the process" of weaning us off of Reggie's so-called superstardom. Getting us used to watching a football team again, rather than a reality tee vee show. There's a reason he's been getting less and less camera time (while the clock is running, that is) with each passing season.

This just in: It ain't 2006 anymore, and the New Orleans Saints are no longer a reality tee vee show. They're a fuckin' Championship Football Team. It's a whole different thing.

It's been fun, Reggie. Lots and lots of fun. And I mean that. I'm not saying "Fuck you." I'm just saying "Get the fuck out."

And for those of you who are gonna miss the whole glitz and glam reality tee vee show aspect of it all, sleep easy. Dream Punter Of The Future featuring Thomas Morstead is set to debut on VH-1 in September.

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