Every year, NFL fans can't wait for the start of preseason. And every year, NFL fans are sick of preseason by the end of August. But this preseason is different for the New Orleans Saints and their fans. It's very different.
New Orleans Saints
Having experienced the last several months in New Orleans, I can attest that no team in NFL history is more anxious to start playing football than the Saints are at this moment. Their preseason kicks off on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CT vs. the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame Game.
However, as ready as the New Orleans Saints are to play football, their fans are even more excited. I went to mass on Saturday and the church was standing room only. That's so everyone can party all day on Sunday before the Hall of Fame Game even starts. And when I went out to eat tonight, the entire restaurant staff was wearing Saints jerseys.
Hall of Fame Game
The Hall of Fame Game is almost divine intervention for New Orleans. The extra preseason game will help Joe Vitt and the rest of the coaching staff prepare for the regular season. Once New Orleans chooses Vitt's replacement, I wouldn't be surprised to see him serve as head coach for the last preseason game in preparation for the season.
A veteran team knows that the most important thing about preseason is avoiding injuries. But the 2012 New Orleans Saints are entering the Hall of Fame Game and preseason with an enormous chip on their shoulders. Don't be surprised if New Orleans plays with more intensity than usual in the Hall of Fame Game.
I believe the Saints want to send a message to their fans that they're not backing down this year. I believe the Saints want to send a message to the other 31 NFL teams that they had better be ready to face New Orleans. And I believe the Saints also want to send a message to Roger Goodell who will be in attendance at the Hall of Fame Game.
I believe the 2012 Hall of Fame Game will be different for the New Orleans Saints. It will be very different.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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