We’re months away from training camp, but battle lines are already being drawn up for next season.
With winning the Super Bowl, comes off the field distractions. Players go back to their hometowns and ride around in parades in their honor. Autograph seekers hound them wherever they go. The endorsements come. The TV shows come calling. It’s good to be King.
And with great victories come great responsibilities. As off season OTA’s wrap up this week, the Saints are digging in against an opponenet only they can see- complacency.
Head Coach Sean Payton and the Saints are trying to keep hungry and not just settled on this year’s championship.
Coach Payton, ever the crafty motivator, showed his players a pie chart of how many times teams have successfully defended their title after winning a championship in their respective sports (That’s 8 out of 40 or 20% for the NFL if you’re keeping track)
The Saints have a new slogan for this upcoming season. While last year we were told to “Finish Strong”, this year is “Our Time”. Several players have been spotted wearing shirts with the “Our Time” slogan around the practice facility.
“The philosophy is we still we have not arrived by any means,” Drew Brees told the media Thursday. . “By no means can we relax or think we’re entitled to anything. … But I do feel like we have a great window of opportunity. We do have a lot of the pieces to the puzzle in place.”
Perhaps adding the greatest fuel to the fire for next season is the recent banter between Darren Sharper and a couple of Minnesota Vikings.
Sharper tweeted “Well y’all seen Brett had surgery on that ankle we got after in the championship game. Come Thursday night 1st game. X marks the spot.”
Several Vikings did not take kindly to Sharper’s comment.
“Sharper had surgery, too. And it was the knee,” Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe told members of the media on Thursday morning. “So if ‘X’ marks the spot on Brett, I wonder what would mark the spot on Sharper? I know which one it is. I know exactly which one it is.”
After which, Sharper tweeted back to his friend and former teammate
“So visanthe stankoe X marks the spot on me, how bout X marks the spot for how many catches and TDs you’ll have come Thursday night. X = zero.” He continued by challenging Shiancoe. “If you feeling yourself put your game check on it. No TDs and less than 3 catches you give me your game check. Now whose talking.”
Even Vikings OT Brian McKinney got in on the banter, tweeting Sharper “I’ma do what I gotta do! Heard u was going n on Brett, so I had 2 see what was up with that. U know I’m the head security 4 Brett..we the secret service & Brett is Obama, so try 2 get thru if u want 2! Now this is ur warning!”
The off season is heating up. And so is the anticipation for next season. If that doesn’t get you fired up for next seasomn, I don’t know what will.
“I think just about every player on our team had their high school jersey retired and a street named after them in their hometown, all those things that are all great things,” Brees said.
“I’ve had some wonderful opportunities this offseason, got a chance to meet a lot of great people and do a lot of new things. I hope that we have a lot more offseasons like this.”