Fixing the Saints:

Using Team-building Methods Learned from 80s and 90s Sports Movies

 (This piece is completely satirical, and should not be taken as serious sports analysis…or should it?)

by: Jeaux Sportsbreaux


The New Orleans Saints are really bad. If you have a Saint on your fantasy football team not named Brees, you should drop him now and acquire someone on the Packers’ practice squad, your six-year old niece, or a half of a chicken salad sandwich. If someone in your league would trade you a half a chicken salad sandwich for a Saint not named Brees, take that deal all day. Don’t even ask how old the sandwich is or whether it was made with mayo. Just gobble it down. There is no way the sandwich will make you sicker than having a Saint not named Brees on your team the rest of the year.

But, the Saints’ pending demise gives us a chance to rebuild them. I’m sure some NFL salary cap experts, free agency wizards, and Mel Kiper’s hair-helmet are already working on it. However, what if we had to turn the Saints’ season around using only plot elements from 80s and 90s sports movies? Guess what, we do . . .


The Nitty Gritty

A notorious sports movie villain is the champion that doesn’t train, but sits in his ivory tower while being fanned by palm fronds. This causes the underdog to get back to basics, down to the nitty gritty. And, if we are going to move this Saints franchise forward that’s what we are going to have to do.

Best Movie Examples: Rocky I, II, III, and IV training montages, the “no basketballs” practice in Hoosiers, car waxing in Karate Kid, passing eggs in the Mighty Ducks. For your enjoyment, the training montages from Rocky III and Rocky IV. There are an awkwardly large number of quadriceps shots in these montages. It’s like the director was sitting around in the editing room and made a conscious decision that more glistening thigh shots would draw the audience in.

United Artists/MGM

Application to Saints: The Saints rent 30 house boats and move their practice facility to the bayou. They practice every day in waste deep swamp water. They also do completely random, nonsensical things like throw logs around or skin alligators, because it somehow better prepares them than their opponents who are actually doing completely appropriate, targeted, football-related practice drills.

Result: Saints develop team chemistry and we start to feel that maybe, there just might be something something about this Saints team we thought we knew.


The Coach That Doesn’t Fit In

Walt Disney Studios

“Oh no, they hired him?” “He won’t fit in here, because (insert reason).” The new coach is black. The new coach is white. The new coach got fired from his last job. The new coach is a disgrace to the sport. The new coach is a quadriplegic, Hispanic, homosexual female. Okay, the last one is too progressive for the 80s and 90s, but it’s coming.

Best Movie Examples: Gene Hackman in Hoosiers (fired from old job), Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans(black coach coaching white kids), John Candy in Cool Runnings (cheated by hiding weights in the foot of his bobsled), Emilio Estevez in Mighty Ducks (lawyer who was forced to coach as community service following a DUI).

Application to Saints: Sean Payton is so distraught over the preseason, he pulls a Jim Mora “diddly poo” moment, quitting on his team. Who replaces him?

The Saints hire Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as head coach. What’s that? She won’t work here? Why? Because, she’s a woman, a Latina, has no discernible knowledge of football?

Result: Sotomayor holds an emotional first practice in an empty Supreme Court, because “a team can’t know its future without knowing where it’s been.” No one questions whether that makes any sense.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Player on His Final Go-Round

Every team needs an aging player that is steady, emotional anchor for the team.

Best Movie Examples: Paul Blake (Scott Bakula) in Necessary Roughness, Jake Taylor (Tom Beringer) in Major League, Mel Clark (Tony Danza) in Angels in the Outfield, Chet Steadman (Gary Busey) in Rookie of the Year, Andre Krimm (Sinbad) in Necessary Roughness.


Application to Saints: In an effort to chase the elusive World Championship, the Saints sign Bobby Hebert to a one year contract after star quarterback Drew Brees is hurt on a zip line he built in his backyard pool. Hebert moves from the after show on the radio to the huddle. His mobility is limited and even plays some obvious rushing downs sitting on a stool.

Result: Brees gets the ship righted after losing three more games and the Saints rattle off eleven consecutive wins. However, in Week 17 Hebert goes down to injury and is replaced by . . .


The Player That Is Missing a Requisite Skill

Typical movie scene: After showing a bunch of inept players, eventually the camera finds a guy who looks like he can really play. The only problem is he can either only do one thing really well or does one thing terribly bad. This gives us a great moment of synergy between our other sports movie elements. Specifically, the coach that doesn’t fit in takes this player and by taking him back to the basics, the player eventually becomes a contributor.

Best Movie Examples: Willie Mays Hays (Wesley Snipes) in Major League (great speed, always popped up), Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) in Major League (great power, couldn’t hit the curve), Happy Gilmore (Adam Sander) (great drive, no short game), Fulton Reed in Mighty Ducks (big slap shout couldn’t skate).


Application to Saints: TEBOW TIME!!!! It’s perfect. The guy looks like a football player, runs like a football player, and is athletic like a football player. The only problem is . . . he can’t throw. Enter Coach Sotomayor, who teaches Tebow how to pass by forcing him to walk to the ocean every morning, pick up a conch, listen to the waves, and throw it back. From this, he learns the lessons necessary to throw a perfect spiral.

Result: After Hebert’s injury in the first half of Week 17, Tebow enters the game. His first two passes are incomplete. “Oh no, here it goes again,” he thinks. But, then, unbeknownst to Tebow, Sotomayor signals to the crowd and all the fans hold up a conch. A ball boy hurriedly runs in from the sideline and delivers Tebow a football branded with a conch. He completes his next 15 passes.


A Girl

The Saints need one.

Best Movie Examples: Julie “The Cat Gaffney” in D2: The Mighty Ducks, Cathy Ireland as Lucy Draper in Necessary Roughness.


Application to Saints: Most likely candidate = Mia Hamm.

Result: In a crucial game, a bully from the other team takes her out on kickoff coverage. But later, she channels her inner-Kerri Strug and nails a 56-yarder to secure the Wildcard for the Saints. For movie points, her follow-through would hit the aforementioned bully in the crotch.


The Trick Play

Obviously, if the Saints are going to rely on sports movie plots to save their season, they’ll need a trick play or two on the wristband chart.

Best Movie Examples: Jake Taylor calling his shot in Major League, the Hidden Ball Trick in Little Big League, the Flying V in Mighty Ducks, Rocky’s rope-a-dope in Rocky III, the Crane Kick in Karate Kid.



Application to Saints: In the first playoff game, Hebert is wheeled onto the field for one last play. He goes in at quarterback and Tebow goes to wide receiver. OMG, it’s a reverse. OMG, Tebow’s gonna throw it. OMG, Tebow’s gonna throw it to …HEBERT!!!!!!!

Result: Sotomayor takes the Gatorade bath and the Saints move to the Divisional round.

We later find out in the small white font before the credits . . .

The Saints did not win the 2016 World Championship. But, they laid the ground work for back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.

Coach/Justice Sotomayor retired from coaching and was later named Chief Justice. She is the only person to be a Super Bowl Championship coach and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Bobby Hebert retired again and is back to hosting “The Point After” radio show following Saints games. He often enjoys a “daddy soda” or two while hosting the show.

Mia Hamm runs a not-for-profit called Kick for Equality. Thanks to her efforts every NFL team now has a female kicker.

Tim Tebow is still quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. He went on to win 19 consecutive NFL MVP awards.

The Saints never returned to their bayou practice field. But, still today, a small plaque at that field reads “a team can’t know its future without knowing where it’s been.”


Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images