Saints Should Give Chiefs Fans Hope

Perhaps it's foolish and idealistic to compare the Chiefs to the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints mere days after their victory. But you can't deny what just happened – a team previously defined as the NFL's sad-sack loser franchise reached the pinnacle of pro football. It was magical.

And yes, magic is the right word for it. Before qualifying for the postseason this year, the Saints had made trips to the playoffs just twice in the previous 16 seasons. Forget about going to the Super Bowl, much less winning it. The Saints, before this year, had never won more than one playoff game in any trip to the playoffs.

Before Drew Brees, the Saints had gone through 14 starting quarterbacks in 16 seasons, including two guys named Billy Joe. Not one of them had qualified for a Pro Bowl. Do you realize how difficult it is to field an NFL franchise for almost two decades and never send a quarterback to Hawaii? The Chiefs, who have never had anything close to a franchise quarterback since Len Dawson, produced four Pro Bowl quarterbacks in the last 20 years. This season, Vince Young and David Garrard went to the Pro Bowl. That should tell you something about the New Orleans Saints, and what they used to be.

Even when the Saints seemed to catch a break over the last 16 years, something went wrong. At one point, desperate for an offensive playmaker, they traded an entire draft (and two more picks in the following year's draft) for Ricky Williams, who was hailed as their savior. He scored a whopping 18 touchdowns in three years and was traded to Miami, where he promptly made the Saints look stupid by winning the league rushing title and going to the Pro Bowl.

Even worse? The best player the Saints wound up getting in return for Williams was Charles Grant, who now sports a Super Bowl ring. Even so, essentially the Saints traded an entire draft (and then some) for a mediocre defensive end. Even Carl Peterson could not have survived a mistake of such epic proportions.

Comparing the Saints to the Chiefs is downright unfair. The Chiefs never had it that bad. Jamaal Charles could blow out both of his knees and Branden Albert could regress back to the awful form he displayed at the beginning of last season, and the Jared Allen trade would still look halfway decent compared to the tragedy of the Ricky Williams/Mike Ditka marriage and divorce.

And getting back to the subject of quarterbacks, it's worth noting that the Saints actually had found a quarterback who had Pro Bowl potential in the middle of their 16 years in the NFL desert. This was a full decade ago when they stumbled upon Jake Delhomme.

Instead deciding Aaron Brooks was the answer, the Saints didn't even attempt to re-sign Delhomme following 2002. He promptly led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl.

Say what you want about the Chiefs letting Rich Gannon escape to Oakland and his own Super Bowl appearance, but Gannon was 34. When the Saints let Delhomme slip through their fingers without even receiving compensation in return, he was just 28 years old. Brooks never even set foot on an NFL playoff field.

And so the Saints waited for something to change for the better, which was basically what their entire franchise history was about until last Sunday. But even when they found their quarterback (Brees), nothing really changed. Despite throwing 62 touchdowns in two years and almost breaking Dan Marino's decades-old single-season passing mark, Brees couldn't get the Saints to march anywhere other than where they had been before – mediocrity.

Terrible defense was holding the Saints back. They weren't even close, winning 15 combined games in 2007 and 2008. Sound familiar, Chiefs fans? You know all about bad defense holding back a record-setting offense and prolific quarterback.

So, yes, it was magical what transpired in South Florida on Sunday. In short order, the Saints proved that no matter how bad things may seem, even when your franchise is seemingly hopeless and commits horrible blunders one after another on the field and off it, things can change. Even when a hurricane threatens to wipe your stadium off the face of the earth and you are matched against a Manning and hardly anyone is picking you to win, dreams do come true.

The Saints eventually found their quarterback, he went to the Pro Bowl, and he won the Super Bowl despite his 25th ranked defense. And at the end of it all, he was holding a baby as tears glittered in his eyes. Magical. Hollywood couldn't have written a better script.

If it happened to New Orleans, it can happen to Kansas City. As bad as things seem right now – 10 wins in three years, no playoff wins in almost 20 years, no Super Bowl in 40 years – the Saints should give every Chiefs fan hope that eventually, a new day will dawn.

Maybe it's foolish to think that way. But Boomer Esiason said it best, just before Sunday's game:

"My head says Colts. My heart says Saints."

If you have a heart, you have to believe the Chiefs have hope today. Top Stories