Mark Ingram

USA Today

Eagles vs. Saints

Philly is not going into the Saints house and coming out with a win.

January 11, 2019 - 12:59 pm
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This week marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Sopranos, so here’s a little pop quiz: what’s the hottest show right no? It’s not Bodyguard. Or Killing Eve. Although both are awesome. And it’s not Ozark. Or Homecoming. 

The hottest show right now is the New Orleans Saints locker room after a win. And if you haven’t caught that show, I suggest you binge the re-runs before this weekend, because that is incredible. The videos of the post-game dance parties are incredible. And since we’re in award season, the award for best performance by a male lead has to go to Teddy Bridgewater. He is incredible every single time.

And if you didn’t know it before watching their celebrations, the Saints are loose. Very, very loose. And very, very motivated. How motivated?

Well, let me start by saying this is a tweet from a New Orleans-bankruptcy attorney, but the incident has been verified by ESPN and by Mark Ingram. 

Here’s the tweet from earlier this week:

Yesterday, 4 armed guards entered the Saints locker room, with Coach Sean Payton wheeling the Lombardi trophy on top of $225k in cash. 

Coach then said: “y’all want this???”

“Win 3 F’n games.”

The locker room erupted. $225k is each player’s SB bonus. 

#WHODAT

But of course, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. And that was. Turns out it wasn’t 225 grand, but only 201 grand, because that’s what the bonus would be this year…And depending on which report, it might have only been three armed guards. 

So to recap: that’s Sean Payton, a group of armed guards, the Lombardi Trophy, and 201 thousand dollars in cash. And as if that wasn’t motivation enough, the money quote:

“Y’all want this? Win three bleeping games”

Freaking incredible. DOES NOT GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT.  

And it brings to mind something – remember a few years ago when there was the suggestion that maybe Sean Payton had been in New Orleans too long? That maybe the game had caught up to him and figured him out? That maybe a change of scenery would be good for him? That maybe he didn’t have that edge, that juice that he once did. 

Uhh, is there anything juicier than wheeling in the Lombardi and more than 200 grand in straight cash? Nope. 

And after watching the Saints go 13-3 with an absolutely ridiculous offense, it's pretty safe to say that the game hasn't caught up to Sean Payton. 

And this isn’t some crazy, desperate, motivational stunt by Payton. This is right in line with who this team is. This is their identity. They win big, they dance, they party, they post it on twitter and Instagram and they let you know about it. What happens in the locker room, DOES NOT STAY IN THAT LOCKER ROOM: IT’S   broadcast to the ENTIRE world. 

They’re good and they’re having a good time and they’re not afraid to tell you about it.

And now, just before they face an Eagles team who they absolutely humiliated in November, Payton is at it again. And it’s brilliant. Because instead of just taking it one game at a time, he’s talking about all three games at once. Instead of avoiding bulletin board material, he’s practically printing it off and handing it out.

And instead of letting his guy’s coast through a week as they prepare for a team they beat 48-7, a team where they held to less than 200 yards and racked up nearly 550 yards against, a team they might take for granted, he’s got their attention. 

Because that’s what this was about. It wasn’t about a cool image and a cool story. It was about telling these guys what they have in front of them, the opportunity of a trophy, a ring, and a stack of cash that is within reach. 

So did that presentation work? It did for Alex Okafor: "I think everybody in this locker room wants a Super Bowl. But there's just seeing something in person that just adds a little bit more motivation. And just seeing that Super Bowl trophy, seeing that cash ... I mean, if you ain't ready to play after that, then we don't need you.

And it had an even greater impact on Mark Ingram.

Hell yeah it was nice. It was better than nice. And yes, if the Saints win and I’m Mark Ingram, I don’t want direct deposit or some wireless transfer. Don’t Venmo me anything. Skip the Cash app and just give me the cash. 

So what about this weekend? Nick Foles is an absolute magician in pressure situations. This Eagles team is better than the one that was smashed less than two months ago. But Foles is going to need more magic than he’s ever had before to beat Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and a locker room full of guys who just saw two hundred grand in cash in their own house. Good luck, Eagles, you’re gonna need it.

In fact, I’ll just say it. It’s not happening. Philly is not going into the Saints house and coming out with a win. The Saints have a top five passing attack, a top five rushing attack, they’re lighting people up defensively for the first time in a long time, they don’t lose at home and they haven’t forgotten Minnesota stunning them a year ago at this time.  Oh and they can clearly envision what it’s going to be like to get their hands on the Lombardi and a stack a cash; and they have their coach to thank for that. I’ve got the Saints, and I’ve got them big this weekend.