Do you think they'll play hard in the Big Easy?

There is an old joke floating around football circles that goes something like this; one day the team playing against the New Orleans Saints up and quit, just walking off the field all of a sudden, like. The Saints were on offense. It only took them three more plays to score a touchdown. Such is the image the Saints have to put up with and have to overcome.

It seemed for the longest time that in the ‘70's, the New Orleans Saints were the laughing-stock of the entire NFL. Season after season of last place, save face, much debased, cannot trace, fall from grace, pick up the pace or you'll all be in a different race.

A race for first place. First place in line at the unemployment office, that is. There was nothing the Saints could do right. They would throw it left if the guy went right. They would toss it north if the guy went south. They would move like jelly, ‘cause jam don't shake like that. Actually, to be fair, there was that one legendary game when Tom Dempsey kicked the longest field goal on record despite the fact that he had only half of his kicking foot on him at the time.

Excuse me, a kicker with one half of his foot to kick with?

He was basically missing all of his toes and toenails too. His foot was squared off in the middle. He had to wear a special shoe for his right half-foot, of course, plus, he was missing some of his digits on his left hand.

But not to be rude, but how does an athlete with half a foot get to be a place-kicker? Doesn't that seem a little odd? That's kind of like looking for the change you've lost underneath the streetlight, even though that's not where you lost it, because the light is better there. Unless, pray tell, the team really poured hot metal on top of the top half of his foot and then smoothed it out and didn't want anyone else to know, let alone the refs.

It gives a whole new meaning to the word lead-foot but still he shares the NFL record for the longest field goal with the Broncos Jason Elam. If so, he could have kicked that ball 80 yards! I conclude that the whole lead-foot, longest field goal thing was all a conspiracy, set up by saloon owners in the French Quarter to get the maximum amount of "stool-time" out of all the New Orleans faithful, so ready to get plastered that they ended up looking like sinners instead of Saints fans. I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners have much more fun.

Especially when the celebration moves to Rampart & Basin Street where they party like it's 1999, which is coincidentally, just about the same amount of scoreless minutes played by the Saints in the 1970's. No doubt, it gave them all a gut-wrenching case of the blues; dirty, low-down, growling from the diaphragm, Muddy Waters type of blues.

The KC Chiefs can definitely sympathize with the much-maligned Saints. It wasn't long ago that our own kicking game was the only thing standing between the Chiefs being heroes or goats. When Elliott was getting ready to kick, we could all feel the goat in him rising to the surface. It's not often that you get the chance, as a place-kicker for a football team, to destroy not only the hopes of possibly a generation of Chiefs admirers, but to force yourself to ride out of town on a rail protecting your limbs from marauding souvenir hunters bent on leaving you without a leg to stand on. I think they call him "Gimpy" now, but he needs to be on one of those has-been celebrity TV reunion programs. Lyn Elliott and Bill Buckner and Joaquin Andujar and Roberto Duran and any of thousands of other athletes who need to be cleansed should appear.

They could call it "Where Are They Now? Shameful Sports Chokers Edition." I would change channels from the "Swedish Frisbee-Dog Bikini Contest" to see that one. Unfortunately, Dan Rather would probably interrupt the show to tell us that he has found new documents bequeathing the entire Nicholas Romanov Empire to him and him alone. Coincidentally, his dog ate the originals and all he has are copies written in Russian but, don't worry, he's already had them translated and his 94 year old grandmother is ready to vouch for their authenticity.

The South's gonna do it again. A popular anthem throughout the lower 48 states and true to a trend the KC Chiefs seem to have been the victims of recently. The south may prove to be the undoing of the Chiefs unless they can hunker down and snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat to have any chance of winning the division.

Still that leaves Kansas City with a slim margin for defeat. Slimmer still when you're playing the always unpredictable Saints with our always unpredictable defense. Then, the Chiefs face a mixed-bag of opponents, all of whom are tough and hungry. Five of the last six games are opposite division rivals and may very well turn out to be the deciding factors of who gets to the big dance and who stays home and unclogs the sink in January and February.

If the loss at Tampa Bay has taught us anything, it's the fact that we should look no farther in the future than the game Sunday in New Orleans. If you're generous, you could predict that the Chiefs may win the division with a record of 10-6. Generous to a fault. Since they are 3-5 at the turn, they can realistically only afford to lose one more game out of the last eight.

The Chiefs are going to have to be super-human to pull this one off. In fact, they will probably have to invoke the name of their own healing and gracious guardian angel, all-knowing, all-seeing, St. Peter(son). All requests and prayers relating to the KC Chiefs football team are heard by the illustrious one, St. Peter(son). It's not beyond this powerful spirit to throw over blessings on the Chiefs and sprinkle them with a little goober dust just for safekeeping. Only then will they find the strength to carry on and not get carried out.

Actually, if no one minds, I would like to ask for help from the great St. Peter(son), myself.

"Dear Sir": (eyes closed real tight) "Please give the Chiefs the guidance and direction they desire so badly especially on the defensive side of the ball. Please send down your wise words through the many disciples that serve you, be they on the sidelines or in the front office, and please make the directions clear. Crystal clear! None of that foreign gibberish or pictures painted on some rock for us to figure out and learn from. Oh, St. Peter(son) we ask this in the name of Lamar Hunt, Dick Vermeil and Len Dawson, oh, man, and to all other KC Chiefs fans who pray for the Chiefs to be righteous and successful!"

You can open your eyes now. In order for this to be successful, you need to make the sign of the KC on your chest and also, for that added touch of sincerity, be sure to splash yourself with a little barbecue sauce on the way out, and yes, it was ribs that guy had in that little thing he was swinging around, thanks for asking.


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