The 2016 football season has come and gone and for me I could not be happier. This football season was tough for many reasons that I hope I can clearly articulate. Upfront disclaimer: my two favorite football passions are the LSU Tigers and the New Orleans Saints and yes, I am a fan. I am not, as most of you know by now, one of those fans who dismisses the truth when our favorite teams disappoint. Disappointing is the one word that sums up football season 2016.
Let's start with LSU because they did indeed end the season on a high note and seem to have plenty to look forward to in 2017. The whole coaching thing this year was curious, if not confounding because what wound up happening could have happened 9 months earlier. Promises to reform the LSU offense by Les Miles were not to be and the Mad Hatter was gone. Enter Coach O. On balance the new coach did an admirable job and did seem to have the Tigers prepared for Alabama, especially defensively. Year end impressive wins against Arkansas, Texas A&M and Louisville in the Citrus Bowl are all hopeful signs. I am disappointed that the full greatness of Leonard Fournette was never realized at LSU and I hope he excels in the NFL. But #5 is a pretty darn good running back and I believe a legitimate contender for the Heisman, provided that LSU line plays stout and consistent. I will be pulling for Derrius Guice to have a huge 2017. The offense will have a new play caller in Coach Canada and Dave Arranda on defense seems to be a solid move especially after the Louisville beat down. Once again, LSU seems to be on track to have another top 5 recruiting class and has two big name QB's in that number. So I am hopeful for 2017. Of course the big elephant in the room, pun intended, remains Alabama. Nothing will happen between today and next fall to make the Crimson Tide bad. And then there is the never ending fact that SEC football is tough and often the SEC devours their own. Still, I am quite hopeful.
So let's look at the Saints. I don't see the same amount of hope at all. How can any decent Saint fan continue to look at the product on the field since the end of 2013 and not say enough is enough. There has been no real improvement for these Saints over this long string of losing seasons. The Saints are good enough, because of Drew Brees and a decent offensive philosophy, to keep them from being severely bad. But this is no longer enough and the defense is still not good enough; certainly not consistent. The Saints are still plagued by years of very bad drafts and free agent busts. This years draft did produce a gem or two all though the jury is still out on Rankins while Thomas and Bell look stout. I see nothing about the current crop of Saints that can improve on their 3rd straight 7-9. Throw in all the rumors swirling around the head coach and that too could add some drama to the 2017 campaign. I for one am of the opinion that it is time for Payton to go and also high time we find our own version of Dak Prescott. Brees can't hang on forever. Sadly, I am not hopeful that the Saints will be much better in 2017.
So the end of another football season that on balance was just not that good. Let's see what 2017 has to offer. One thing I do know, I sure wish it would get here soon because even a bad football season is better than offseason every year!