Saint ATN

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  1. What's with the penalty disparity between the Saints and their opponents? John Sigler December 2, 2019 2:37 pm ET 102 people are talking about this The New Orleans Saints have overcome plenty of adversity this year, ranging from the five-week loss of starting quarterback Drew Brees to an opening-half schedule that saw them travel to play four opponents on the road in their first six weeks. They’ve also dealt with extra attention from the NFL’s referees and their officiating crews. That’s just part of the game, but this season (and in recent weeks specifically), it’s been unprecedented. Check out the chart above from Jeff Asher of AH Datalytics, sourced from Pro Football Reference. From what we can see there, the Saints and their opponents have largely been penalized at similar rates; New Orleans played largely-clean football from 2006 to 2009, though a brief window from 2015 to 2017 saw their sloppy play benefit their opponents. But this latest surge in fouls has been very clearly one-sided. The Saints are averaging 7.9 penalties per game, which ranks eighth-worst in the NFL. That’s turned into 68.3 penalty yards per game, nearly the equivalent of an offensive drive downfield after good starting field position. It’s kept a number of opposing drives alive, with New Orleans’ opponents gaining the second-most first downs by penalty per game (2.8) in the league. And as the chart above demonstrates, the teams playing the Saints are not being held to the same standard. Those opponents are averaging the fewest penalties per game (5.3) and penalty yards surrendered per game (40.6) in football, granting the Saints the second-fewest first downs by penalty per game (0.92) around the NFL. In a perfect world, officials would keep things fair and balanced and refuse to let one team get away with foul-worthy plays while turning a blind eye to their opponents. However, so long as people — with limited vision and too much autonomy to make judgment calls — are in charge, mistakes are going to happen. You would expect one team to end the day with fewer penalties than their opponent; typically speaking, some teams are better-coached and more disciplined than others. But the difference between how the Saints are being judged and how their opponents are being officiated deserves inspection. One possible answer for that disparity could be that the Saints are playing a schedule filled with the league’s fewest-penalized teams. That’s not the case. New Orleans has played many teams ranked inside the top half of the league in penalties and penalty yards per game. We’ve broken down their penalty stats per game against what they were fouled for in the Saints’ games in the chart below: This illustrates how officiating was nearly even to start the year, if marginally beneficial to the Saints. But over time (especially in recent weeks) there has been a visible shift in opposing teams being fouled less often against the Saints than in their typical games. Things bottomed out in Week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, when they were fouled for 6.8 penalties and 61.5 penalty yards below their season averages. There’s been a clear shift since that game. On the whole, the Saints’ opponents have averaged 2.2 fewer penalties per game and 21.4 fewer penalty yards per game when playing against New Orleans than in their typical outings. In a vacuum, that isn’t much. But when considered in the big picture, those numbers snowball into 35.2 penalties and 342.4 penalty yards over a 16-game season. So what gives? Are the Saints playing sloppy, while their opponents suddenly turn in their cleanest games of the year back-to-back-to-back? Or are the officials allowing the teams playing the Saints to get away with the ticky-tack fouls that happen on every down (holding, hands-to-the-face, that sort of thing) while not giving New Orleans the same leeway? It’s bizarre to say the least. A big part of the problem is limited sample size. Analyzing the game from a quantifiable perspective like this works in other sports like baseball and basketball because there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of data points to work with, whereas football begins and ends very quickly, relying on a 16-game regular season and four-stage postseason tournament. Instances like this are easy to explain away as an outlier, a freak accident, against what recent history informs us. That said, it’s totally understandable if fans aren’t satisfied with that explanation. It’s frustrating to see your team get fouled for what the other squad gets away with, week in and week out. For his part, Saints coach Sean Payton isn’t going to chalk up these lost plays and surrendered yards to any biases from the NFL’s officials. He’s preached the need for improved coaching from his staff as well as better discipline from his players, summing up the situation after their penalty-filled Week 12 win over the Carolina Panthers as, “We are going to need to be smarter in bigger games.” That makes sense, because it’s all he and his team can control. Hopefully the Saints can clean it up and give the officials fewer opportunities to impact their games. Despite dealing with quality opponents and a fine-combed approach by the zebras, the Saints are still 10-2 and owners of their third consecutive NFC South title.
  2. There is no room for any errors. The 9ers D is opportunistic and we have to bring our A-game to all 3 phases or we're getting an L, period.
  3. oh no, someone's broken. Incoming IR notice. Alonso?
  4. The Saints and their fans have a connection and the Saints haven't forgotten about it and they treat their ticket fans well. The NFL doesn't benefit from Small markets and relies on the big markets to make up the difference the Saints are really more of the outlier than the actual norm and that is the NFL as a collective whole. Prior to basketball coming back to New Orleans, the Saints were literally IT. Many other small market areas have baseball and basketball teams along with hockey to split the sports revenue overall and interests. Not many cities were nearly destroyed and had only one team to rally behind thus cementing a bond that goes beyond normal sport. As the team rose so did the city around it. It's rare and we happen to be in that actual parade together. No other team can ebb and flow the way that New Orleans and the Saints do? I've tried to wrap my brain around it. There have been worse tragedies to befall sports franchises like Marshall University or sadly a few soccer teams over the decades. Those communities rallied around them and rebuilt them better than before. The city of New Orleans felt a bit like the Saints helped showed the way to rebuild and not only to rebuild but to prosper again, against the odds. I'm sitting here watching Oakland chase away 2 of the 3 sports teams leaving only the A's with baseball. Oakland has chosen baseball, they didn't choose football FWIW, and I expect this trend in small markets to continue. Small markets have become too saturated with other draws or interests as you're seeing soccer teams start in small markets across the US nowadays. They can't afford all the stadiums and the works that go along with them and with the overpricing of seats by fans, why would a fan go there unless they really cared. Then add in new stadiums now come with the rights to purchase the seats prior to getting the actual seats. I know someone that paid nearly 50k for rights and seats to the Raiders in Las Vegas. I don't see how Vegas will be able to support them at those rates. You really have to give major care and have very flexible disposable income which this lawyer can afford but I cannot see the rest of Vegas is that fluid or flexible for that matter. Los Angeles has turned into more of a financial boondoggle for the NFL and they have a great risk riding there, with LA tanking to the point the NFL has now took to turning down rumors of the Chargers going to London just the other week. If LA can't support 2 teams, which it is showing it can't, and the Raiders expensive experiment in Vegas, the NFL has maxed its credit with the average fan. The NFL has already shown multiple small markets it doesn't care and outright moved their fanbases against the wills of their fans to markets that aren't that hot about it. That callousness will have lasting repercussions and if these expensive small and large market land grabs that have lefts millions of fans without their team to care about anymore don't pan out then further support for small market teams will wane to the point the NFL will wither on its own vine.
  5. *cough cough*
  6. that's 10 wins, I can't win now.