Saints Fans: The Krewe de Boo?

In the opening minutes of the Saints’ first preseason game in the dome, the vibe was electric. The crowd was like a hungry pack of wolves, prepared to feast on the flesh of the Houston Texans. But when it came time to sink their teeth into the enemy, the enemy wasn’t wearing a Texans jersey.

Just minutes into the game, Jason David found himself on the receiving end of a verbal flogging, courtesy of the home crowd. Had the boos from Saints fans been hundred dollar bills, David would be about 5 million dollars richer. Saints fans, known for their passion and knack for telling it like it is, let David have it after a 14-yard Texans completion in the first quarter. And from that point on, it just kept getting uglier.

In an interview with the Times Picayune, Jason David accepted the boos from the crowd, admitting that he likely would have booed himself for his performance. (I commend a man for knowing when he sucks and having the courage to point the finger squarely at his own chest.) But Saints quarterback Drew Brees wasn’t as understanding when it came to the crowd’s frustration.

“C’mon people. We haven’t even started playing games that count yet. It’s extremely unfair. We’re talking about the first quarter of our first preseason game at home. The bottom line is we all need to improve — offense, defense and special teams. We shouldn’t be hearing boos, especially at this time. We should be hearing encouragement.”

This isn’t the first time Drew has chided Saints fans over their barrage of boos. Back in November, when Olindo Mare lined up for what many expected to be another missed field goal in the dome, Who Dats hurled the heckles at the kicker. Drew made a frustrated gesture to the fans in an effort to quiet them down. And he had this to say after the game…

“That’s the dumbest thing ever. We’re in a dome, great kicking conditions, but when the fans are booing you it’s just echoing everywhere. I mean — people — support him. You want him to make it, right? Don’t boo. Cheer.”

Needless to say…Olindo missed the kick.

So the question remains…is Drew right? Are Saints fans being too hard on their team? Are they hurting player morale and possibly jeopardizing the production on the field? Or are these just grown men who make waaaaay too much money to complain about what the folks paying their salaries have to say? Suprisingly enough, I’m torn.

For starters, I definitely think that these are grown men who make waaaay too much money to complain about what folks paying their salaries have to say. In fact in most cases, the simple formula is “Do your job and you don’t get booed.” With that said, I don’t think booing a player during the game could ever be considered an effective motivational tool to get him to perform, especially a kicker whose accuracy often times largely depends on nerves. Now after the game…let it all out. I sure as hell do!

Football is a game of emotion and momentum. One swing of the pendulum in the wrong direction can turn a game on it’s head. I’m not saying David should get a “That’s okay, Champ” Little League Coach-esque response every time he gets beat on man coverage. But I also don’t think booing his every mistake will make him more focused and thusly more proficient at his job. And I realize that sometimes the booing is not so much meant for the player as it is for the coach who’s leaving him in. Still, the emotion of the crowd can have a ripple effect on the whole team, regardless of the intended target.

I lived in Atlanta for 3 years and sadly was forced to get my football fix on many a Sunday by attending Falcons games. (Don’t worry, I got free tickets.) Anyways, I found it both laughable and pathetic that Falcons fans seemed so quick to turn on their team. They’d boo them on 3 and outs in the 2nd quarter, they’d boo them on the way to the tunnel at the half, they’d boo them on blown coverage or missed routes. It was like being at an Ashlee Simpson concert. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “How silly is this. Are they really dumb enough to think booing will make this team play better? Stupid Falcons!” Then I’d proceed to spilling my beer “accidentally-on-purpose” on the Falcons fan next to me.

While I’ve never thought of Saints fans as fairweather, I must admit there is something slightly misguided about cranking up the catcalls in the first quarter of a preseason game. And yes, I know Jason David’s disastrous performance has the power to turn even the most mild-mannered among us into a rabid animal craving the taste of fresh blood. But ultimately, I’d rather save my negative energy for the refs’ bad calls and the opposing teams than for the players in black and gold on game day. Besides, a Monday morning Chick rant has long felt much healthier than the shallow mid-game jeer.

Here’s the flip side to all of this…we fans pay good money to see our team play hard. Ticket prices seem to go up every year. Hell, you gotta pay damn near $10 for a beer. So when we go to the games, we want 100% from everyone, every time they take the field. When a player routinely disappoints, we as fans almost seem compelled to let the player or even the coaching staff know that changes must be made. Not to mention the fact that many of these angry fans have been with the team through decades of hardships, disappointment, and embarrassment. One might say they’ve earned the right to boo whomever, whenever they damn well please. One might say it, but I’m not sure that I’m willing to.

Just as I was wrapping up this article, I got a call from my dad, the man who attended the Saints very first game at Tulane Stadium and has been in awe of the team ever since. He’s the same man who inspired my love for football and this beleaguered team. I asked this ultimate Saints fan his take on the “boo-ha-ha.” His response: classic dad.

“You can’t blame the fans. I’m not against him (David) but when I saw him the other night I said, ‘I hope I don’t end up looking at his ass.’ Next thing you know I blink my eyes…touchdown against the Saints. And I said ‘Aw sh*t…#42.’ But you know, I go for the underdog. I want him to succeed. And who knows, this might be his year. He might be man of the year. “

He went on to say…”I love my Saints. I love me some football and it’s gonna happen. It’s got to happen. I really do believe that this is the year.”

Blind optimism….now that’s the Saintly spirit.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

About Nola Chick
Shaneika, a.k.a. Nola Chick, is a lifelong crazed Saints fan and creator of chicksinthehuddle.com. If she looks familiar, you may have seen her lose a Cadillac on "The Price is Right" with Bob Barker or win Super Bowl tickets on the Ellen Show. (She gets around...) Twitter Handle: @chicksndahuddle

Comments

  1. saintseester says:

    I love your Dad! I am not comfortable with the booing. Never have been, never will. It will not serve any purpose other than making the OTHER team feel good.

  2. elsie p. says:

    ditto. although sometimes, i just can’t help myself.

  3. aj says:

    I agree about booing. I know these guys make millions of dollars and they are the best at what they do (or should be for the salaries they command) but they are human. There are times that they will make mistakes; at other times things happen that are out of their control and they just can’t make the play. If you ever have a chance to talk to the anyone that plays the game and they actually open up, they know they screwed up and anything you say or do can’t be any worse than what they have told themselves.

  4. Chris H. says:

    No, Saints fans aren’t hard on the team, we’re some of the most loyal fans around. The fans are booing at the coaching decisions.

    Mare getting booed was because the Saints fans couldn’t believe the coaches put him back in. Same with Jason David…why is this guy still playing for us?

    Had it been a new guy on the field first quarter of first preseason game, you wouldn’t have heard the nasty boos. Saints fans are sick of seeing coaches repeatedly stick with players who repeatedly come up short.

    If I’m at the first home game this year, and Peyton puts Jason David in, guess what you’ll hear from me? Big A** BOOOOOO!

  5. GW says:

    Here’s what I think…

    —Fans don’t have the right to do whatever the hell they want to do. For example, I support the ejection of fans at baseball games where the players can hear them for using racial epithets and other over-the-top heckling like bringing spouses/kids/etc. into it. I do not think that “paying their salaries” by buying tickets (which I think is a ridiculous concept to begin with) entitles a fan to carte blanche re: that kind of thing.

    —Booing does NOT rise to that level, and it’s perfectly acceptable for fans to boo anyone, any time, for any reason. (During a game, that is. Heckle an athlete “in real life” outside the stadium and you deserve whatever you get.)

    —Booing is counterproductive, and though I won’t begrudge anyone the right to do so if they choose, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    —Counterproductive or not, poor performance does DESERVE boos. Maybe fans shouldn’t boo David, but when they do, it’s not like it’s unwarranted. I give David credit for understanding that. It speaks to his intelligence and common sense that he gets that. Doesn’t make him a better corner though. Respect for him as a person: up. Respect for him as a corner: unchanged.

    —But it has to be a two-way street, IMHO. If it’s acceptable for fans to boo, it should also be acceptable for Drew Brees (or any other player) to call the fans out for being assholes, if that’s how he feels about it.

    —I certainly don’t think Drew “doesn’t get it.” Of course he gets it. He just disagrees. Different personalities are going to have different outlooks on the booing thing, and Drew’s outlook on it is precisely what I’d expect it to be. Totally in line with what we know of his character. Reasonable people can disagree on the issue.

    —Lots of fans ARE assholes, and wear their sense of entitlement like a chip on their shoulders. And the whole “we pay their salaries” truism is often the basis for it. Whether or not I agree in a given situation, it does my heart good when a player fires back at the Almighty Fan, and I’d love to see more of it. I understand how from a PR standpoint, it’s never a good idea to fire back at the fans, but IMHO it’s the exact opposite of booing… productive or not, if it’s deserved, it’s deserved. And fans deserve it a lot more than they get it. Players ought to, within reason, be able to call fans assholes when the player is of the opinion that they’re being assholes, especially when their play is above reproach like Drew’s is. Players are people too.

  6. Jake says:

    Saints fans are the nicest and easiest fans on their team by far. I can’t believe some of the stuff they get away with sometimes. It’s just Jason David is THAT BAD. He’s waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy beyond deserving booing at this point.

    Hey, I used that photo last year after 0-3.

  7. nolachick says:

    all very valid points, but i’m still torn. it’s not that i don’t get the urge to boo i just don’t think it serves any functional or helpful purposes. and i agree with aj that if anything, it gives the opposing team a boost. now booing after the game, once they’ve already lost, i get.
    as for Chris’ point, I remember the Aaron Brooks saga and I know how frustrating it was to keep him in the game no matter how many times he threw a pick and laughed it off. But did booing after work in convincing Haslett to yank him out? Not so much.

  8. Jake says:

    I say encouragement is for college, not for someone who is making millions of dollars to get the job done.

  9. Monty Beaver says:

    Booing when they make a bad play? Fine.

    Booing on their first trip out the tunnel in a preseason game? Let’s give Ol’ dude a break. In every interview he’s given he’s expressed a genuine desire to improve. Let’s be supportive until he starts costing us something serious.

    No matter how much money they make, it can’t feel good to a team or player to feel like their fanbase expects the worst of them.

    And let’s not forget the Saint’s home record over the last couple years. If what we’re doing isn’t working, let’s try something else!

    But if he allows touchdowns, fans are supposed to get on his case.

Speak Your Mind

*