Four years ago, just before Halloween, the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints were reeling. They'd just been shellacked at home by a terrible Cleveland Browns team, and risked seeing their season spiral out of control with a decidedly not
terrible Pittsburgh Steelers squad coming to town.
The Saints won because they were ready, but maybe even more because the city
was ready. New Orleans was hyped
for that game; collectively, the fans made a stand, drew a line, and refused to let the Steelers cross it.
Here's what the crowd looked like during the first playback of "Stand Up and Get Crunk":
During the game, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and the New Orleans defense refused to let the Steelers do much of anything on offense. Lots of plays like this happened:
Saints set a world record, too, for largest Halloween party, filling the Dome with costumes. It was a great game, one of the most desperate and exciting regular season experiences the city's had in the last few years.
This Monday, against the Baltimore Ravens, the situation's much the same. The Saints are backed up almost as far as they can go without falling off a cliff. Their goals are still attainable, but not for much longer. They will be facing a solid Ravens team that has crushed each NFC South team it's played so far.
Lose this game, and the last remaining bastion of the Saints' Super Bowl era, the one thing that survived even the mess of 2012 — the Saints' dominance in the Superdome in primetime — will be gone. That's a psychological blow the team and fans may not recover from.
Those are the stakes. This is a big one. It's here the Saints need to make like Picard:
This is the Saints' best chance to show they're still the team New Orleans has known them to be over the past five years. Should be quite a show.