Welp, the good news is what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except when it doesn't, and leaves you severely crippled instead.

And that's precisely where we are at this point, right? That certainly seems to be the consensus in the Legitimate Media™ anyway. Might as well go ahead and pack it in until 2013, if not years later than that, because we're straight fucked now. All hope is lost. Forget about the Saints being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its home stadium. The Rog put the bone to that notion something fierce. Hell, we'll be lucky if the franchise has recovered by the next time New Orleans hosts the Super Bowl. Right, Duncan & Varney?

But hey, don't blame the Rog. After all, it's not his fault that Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis are a couple of arrogant pricks. (Have you heard about the horrors they routinely inflict upon members of the Legitimate Media™? It's a goddamn outrage!)

It's not his fault that Payton and Loomis thought they were above the law. They just got what was rightfully coming to 'em. Righteous Rog just did what he had to do to preserve the integrity of the sport. Or something.

This isn't persecution, it's justice. And by golly, if Tom Benson had any integrity and/or balls, he'd take Payton and Loomis out back and put a rifle to the base of their skulls like he oughta. Because that'll help. We're not exactly sure how, but at least it'll send a message of some kind. And apparently sending messages is all the rage these days.

Hey, we're already boned for the forseeable future anyway. Might as well give up and start over from scratch, right? Perhaps another four decades of lovable and laughable impotence will go a long way toward "restoring the franchise's reputation." Because that's important for some reason. Surely we all yearn for the good ole days when the Saints were lucky to win 4 or 5 games in a given season, but by golly, our morals were beyond reproach!

Wasn't it a whole lot easier to be a Saints fan back when we didn't really have to concern ourselves with largely-irrelevant details like whether or not the Saints actually won very many games on the field? At least in those days we could always fall back on "Well, yeah, but we love 'em anyway. Which makes us the BEST FANS IN THE WORLD!" And then we could look down on those who looked down on us and our sad-sack football team.

Back then, at least we could wrap ourselves in our own self-righteousness to keep us warm during those long, cold winters of disappointment and general futility. We could at least proclaim ourselves to be the epitome of sportsmanship and class. Because it's not whether you win or lose, it's how cute and cuddly and friendly and non-threatening you are while bending over and taking it right in the poop chute on a weekly basis. Good times. Or something.

See what happens when you go all Icarus with it and fly too close to the sun on wings of hubris? Hell, even back in 2009 the Legitimate Media™ (not to mention a significant subset of our own fanbase) tried to warn us that it was all too good to be true. To not get too comfortable on the throne because it was only a matter of time until the other shoe dropped and it all came crashing down. One way or another. That sooner or later there would be a heavy price to be paid for going places we didn't belong. But we were too stupid to listen.

See what happens when you "sell your soul" for a championship?

Doesn't feel so good now, does it?

Actually, yeah, it still feels pretty fuckin' good. Right down to my soul. Is that wrong?

Wouldn't trade it for all the moral high ground in the world, thank you very much. So how about you go ahead and lick my tainted Lombardi?

Sorry to disappoint you, Legitimate Media™ Guy, but I simply refuse to give up on Our Heroes. I refuse to throw them under the bus. And I refuse to feel guilty about it.

Sue me, but I still love 'em anyway. Just like I've been doing all my life. And there's not a goddamn thing you can do about it.

Shame me if you must. I am not ashamed.

Call me "misguided" for directing my anger toward the Rog and/or the snitch rather than the men who are actually responsible for bringing this whole shitstorm down upon themselves and the franchise. Accuse me of "not getting it" for choosing to stand with my team even in the face of obvious wrongdoing. For decrying the "justice" while discounting the crime. For blaming the "wrong" people. I'm not about to apologize for it.

This just in, assholes: I'm a fan. I'm not interested in being "objective" or "rational" or "unbiased" here. And I'm not about to apologize for that either.

Believe it or not, I'm well aware of the facts as they've been presented, and I'm perfectly capable of understanding and acknowledging those facts. I don't have my head in the sand here. I don't deny that rules were broken, and that some form of comeuppance was inevitable.

But I'm under no obligation to be happy about it. I'm under no obligation to meekly accept Righteous Rog's Dog & Pony Show as "justice." If Loomis and Payton are a couple of arrogant pricks, I'm under no obligation to hold it against them. I'm under no obligation to be morally outraged over their crimes, nor am I required to hold a grudge against them for the consequences they've brought down on the team.

With open eyes, I choose to forgive them. Sue me.

Meantime, you'll just have to pardon me for not curling up in a fetal position in the nearest closet and waiting for 2013 (or 2020, or whenever the media tells us it's okay to go ahead and come back out.)

Color me unimpressed with both the length and girth of the so-called Ginger Hammer. Hot dog down a hallway, Rog. Perhaps Jimmy Johnson can suggest an all-natural herbal remedy of some kind.

I'm sure I'll be accused of being glib here, but I reject the Legitimate Media™'s gleeful insistence that the Rog effectively dropped a nuke on any hopes we might have had for another championship any time soon. Nope, not buying it. Reports of the Saints' demise have been greatly exaggerated.

For all the media's (and fans') slack-jawed astonishment at the unprecedented severity of the Rog's wrath, I simply fail to see anything here that promises to be overwhelmingly difficult to endure, and even overcome, at least from an on-the-field standpoint. (And that's really all I give a shit about here.) Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that the penalties are insignificant. Far from it. But they don't exactly strike the fear of God into me either.

Hell, if the Legitimate Media™ and the dumbstruck fans buying into the current narrative would bother to cast their gaze away from the mushroom cloud for half a damn second and give it a moment of genuine thought, the possibility might even occur to them that the penalties were deliberately conceived with the intent to generate maximum "wow factor" while mitigating the actual negative effects on the Saints' competitiveness going forward.

Scoff at the notion if you like. I'm not fool enough (or even contrarian enough) to suggest that the Rog deliberately went light on the Saints here, or had any desire to do the Saints any favors. Not by a long shot. But while protecting itself on the "player safety issue" might be priority one for the league right now, maintaining competitive balance remains high on the league's list of priorities too. And it's not in the league's best interest for the Rog to go all scorched earth with it on any franchise, for any reason. The important thing was that he create the perception that he did. And to that end, well, mission accomplished. They sure are lapping it all up.

But, as Saints fans, what the hell are we so scared of here? Serious question.

Fines? Irrelevant. It ain't our money, and none of it counts against the cap. Sucks for Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Benson Football Inc, but it's no skin off my seedbag.

Sean Payton is a damn fine football coach, but it's not like he's the only guy on the planet who's capable of coaching this team for a year (and then we'll go from there.) Hell, there's already another experienced NFL head coach in the building, for crying out loud. And two other "up and coming head coach of the future" type candidates as well. And they've got four full months to adjust to the new guy, it's not like they've got a game to play next weekend. Surely four full months is plenty of time for everyone involved to wrap their minds around the situation and get acclimated to the new reality.

Anybody gonna miss Joe Vitt for six games? Hell, if heads simply must roll over all this, I'd like to take this opportunity to go ahead and nominate that guy. Far as I can tell, the only thing Vitt brings to the table is being one hell of an enabler for Sean Payton's Mr. Hyde tendencies. And I think we've all had just about enough of that.

Loomis's suspension runs from September through October, which is pretty damn convenient. What exactly does Mickey really do during the first eight weeks of a given regular season anyway, other than sit in a suite on Sunday afternoons? Surely nothing that Khai Harley, Ryan Pace and Rick Reiprish can't handle. Especially given that Mickey has four whole months to "coach 'em up" to whatever degree it's even necessary. Meantime, offseason personnel and contract matters are completely unaffected.

I'm not gonna sit here and try to convince you that the loss of two second round picks is no big deal. But it's not exactly a death blow either. It's just two rookies, for crying out loud. And if league-wide draft history is any indication, at least one of them would just have been a huge waste of time and money anyway. Sure, that's all the more reason you want to have as many arrows in your quiver as you can. Because chances are, half of 'em are gonna miss. But that cuts both ways. It's incredibly unlikely that the Saints are gonna miss out on two perennial Pro Bowlers they'd otherwise have had over all this. It's far more likely that the Saints are losing out on one eventual starter of unknown relative quality, and avoiding one bust.

Player suspensions? Might I remind you that this is the Saints defense we're talking about here? Who exactly can we not live without for a handful of games? Who on this defense is so damn good that his absence would sink the ship? The suspensions are gonna be staggered anyway, which will lend further credence to the notion that the league is deliberately seeing to it that the Saints don't lose the ability to be competitive through all this. Not that anybody's gonna be high-fiving the Rog for that, or anything else, any time soon. And rightfully so.

But it's not like the Rog magically turned this team into Cleveland or St. Louis or Miami overnight.

The funny thing is that it's not so much about "He can't kill us!" It more about the practical reality that he can't kill us. As a practical matter, it's simply beyond the limits of his authority. It's also contrary to the best interests of the league. If this is, as the Legitimate Media™ continues to insist, "as close to the Death Penalty as it gets!!!" then please allow me to offer this here rebuttal: "Ha!"

Ginger Hammer indeed. Eat a dick, Rog. #wemaketherulespal

And will it not be impossibly glorious when the Saints mow right through all this shit while skipping nary a beat? And with each passing Saints win, the narrative in the Legitimate Media™ gradually starts shifting from "Holy shit, the Rog sure did throw the book at 'em!" to "Wait a minute, how did the Saints get off with just a slap on the wrist???" Ha! And we will laugh and laugh, and they will cry and cry.

Meantime, it's on us fans to carry the torch now. The team itself has no choice but to be contrite and compliant, at least publicly.

You're not gonna see Drew Brees going all Jim McMahon with it and wearing a headband with "Goodell" written on it in with a felt tip pen. There won't be any "SP" helmet decals or jersey patches. Sean Payton isn't gonna be showing up on the sidelines wearing a ridiculous (though hilarious) fake nose and moustache. There won't be any derisive comments about the Rog coming from anyone who's even remotely officially associated with the Saints. (Well, maybe that Ornstein asshole. But fuck that guy.)

Nobody's gonna be showing up to a postgame presser wearing one of them there "Free Sean Payton" tee shirts from any of the approximately fourteen thousand local merchants currently punching one another in the face over the latest shiny new penny lying out in the middle of the street.

No, the organization itself simply cannot afford to be defiant on this thing. Not anymore, anyway.

But that doesn't mean we can't. Yes We Can!

And we should. Wait, scratch that. We must.

Let there be no doubt about it. The league and the Legitimate Media™ can't wait for us to wash our hands of Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis and whomever else they consider to be assholes. They'd love nothing more than for us to shut up, give up, and resign ourselves to our rightful place as hopeless fans of a hapless, disgraced football team.

Screw Dat.

No sir, not this guy. Fuck you.

Not that our defiance will change anything, of course. (By the way, would somebody please go ahead and hip Boycott Guy and Online Petition Guy to this particular truth? Thanks.) But it'll make us feel better, and that in and of itself is reason enough. An added benefit is that it's sure to piss off Jeff Duncan. High five!

They want us to get over it and let it go. To accept it and move on. That way, they can write the script going forward.

But we all know damn well that there ain't gonna be any getting over it and moving on, no matter what we do. It's gonna be the talking point for the forseeable future. Every time the Saints take the field. Every time they pop up on Sportscenter. Every time an article is written about them. And there's not a goddamn thing we can do to change that either.

So to hell with letting it go. To hell with getting over it and moving on. To hell with the so-called high road. To hell with letting them direct the narrative. To hell with bending over and just letting them do their business.

No sir, not us. Fuck them. Sinn Féin.

So by all means, wear your Hanes Beefy Tees with the hastily-conceived, excruciatingly trite catch phrases silk-screened on 'em. Hell, wear your obnoxiously bulky Saints-themed Boba Fett costume if you genuinely don't give a fraction of a fuck about the people sitting in your general vicinity who aren't overly impressed with your cleverness and just want to watch the fuckin' game rather than your dancing for the tee vee cameras.

Do what you've gotta do. Just do not go gentle into that good night.

It is our duty as Saints fans to be as defiant as we can possibly be over this thing. To squander no opportunity to deride it for the farce it is, as loudly and as publicly as possible. The team can't, which is why we must. One guy goes down, the next guy steps up. We are that guy.

You know what would do my heart good? You might recall that back in the late 80s/early 90s, Mets fans would derisively chant "Daaaaaryyyyyl! Daaaaaaryyyyyl!" in the general direction of Darryl Strawberry. If this here pissant blog had more than about a half dozen regular readers, and I could actually go all Mickey Loomis with it and make it happen, I'd float the notion that the Dome crowd might oughta get a "Rooooogerrrr! Rooooooogerrrr!" chant going every single goddamn time the Saints defense lines up this fall.

What do you think the chances are that we could go all "viral" with this? Slim to none? Shit. Would it help if I promised not to trademark it and try to extort monies from you later on if it takes off? Because I'm more than willing to release it on a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. I just wanna see it happen.

Meantime, the Saints may or may not win a(nother) Super Bowl (high five!) this season. And unless they go ahead and win it anyway, we'll never know whether or not all this bullshit made the difference. What we do know is that they may or may not have won it anyway, and the odds would have been against them regardless. Just as they are for any given team in any given season. But the assholes think that poking a hole in the "Championship Or Bust" mentality is gonna break our spirit and send us into some kind of chaotic tailspin.

They don't know us very well, do they?

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