A very warm welcome to what is my 1st ever review so please be gentle…
Well what can I say? Saints end the 1st half of the season 6-2 – there were many sceptics, myself included, thinking that after going 0-2 with poor Vikings & Pats games that this is going to be another year of 7-9, if not worse, because the defence yet again didn’t work. But come week 3 in Carolina… where was this defence in weeks 1&2!? We were all shocked that the Saints got their 1st win on the road in Panther country 34-13 & thought, “hmm OK, let’s see how they do in London”. Then we shut out the Dolphins 20-0 & ruined the Jay Ajayi home coming, which made the Saints 2-0 in London with a 2 game 2017 win streak which was a nice feeling going into the bye week. Special shout-out to Ben Wright who correctly predicted on our UK Saints podcast that we would go 2-2 into the bye!
Week 6: Back at the ‘dome
AP traded to the Cards for a 6th round conditional draft pick, leaving Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in the backfield with a very good Lions team (at that point) coming to the ‘dome and we were on fire 31-10 going into the 2nd half. We all thought, “complete blow out?” The defence looked like it kept the rhythm from the Panthers and ‘phins games with the turnovers coming from offence and special teams NOT the defence – Saints win at the ‘dome for the 1st time this season and we go 3-2.
Week 7: Heading to Lambeau Field
The Who Dat Nation believed this would be our 1st test of the season going to Lambeau to see if the 2017 Saints really could go up against some bigger and better teams. Sadly, Aaron Rodgers had a broken collar bone and without him the Packers didn’t have much else as far as a leader, so that took the shine off things a bit. Both sides were not pretty but I’ll take an ugly win over a close loss – we left Lambeau victorious 26-17, taking our record to 4-2 with a 4 game win streak.
Week 8: We go 3-1 against the NFC North teams
Coming off our 4th straight win we come back home to the ‘dome against the final team of the NFC North. This for me was a 50/50 game against the Bears – we had just beaten their division rivals in week 7 and they had just beaten the Panthers at Soldier Field, so I was not taking these for granted. The Bears came to play and did they ever, keeping us to just 20 points but our defence stayed strong and racked up another W for the black & gold. A special mention to Zack Miller, the Bears TE too – we all wish you a speedy recovery as that was such an ugly injury in the end zone that myself and some other Who Dat fans believed was a touchdown. We beat the Bears 20-12 and took the win streak to 5 in a row.
Week 9: Bucs coming to the ‘dome
I could write a 1000 words on this game alone: let me start off with Jameis Winston doing that stupid pre game speech about eating a W at the ‘dome? How’s that L taste huh? A special mention to UK Buccaneers who were giving it large all week about putting 50pts on us at the ‘dome and well lets just say we made some memes just for them! The more known BucsUK were more humble in defeat, looking to seek revenge in week 17 when we travel to Tampa. Best get Gruden, Lynch, Brooks & Sapp back on the field then hehehehehehe! It was a masterclass by Lattimore who shut Mike Evans down, hence the cheap shot orchestrated by Winston’s pointing finger. Cam Jordan made sure Winston ate some delicious NOLA grass instead of crabs legs and the Saints roll onto 6 straight wins taking us to 6-2.
The 1st half of the season is in the books and here comes the 2nd half which I believe may be a bit tougher than the 1st 8 games. Bills on the road will be our real 1st test – they haven’t lost at home yet and that’s a record I would like the Saints to end to continue our win streak. A special mention to BUFFALOBILLSUK who joined forces with us at the Big Easy Mafia UK who kept retweeting the fan vote for the week 10 Sky Sports 6pm live game – sorry Bears and Packers fans but it’s a much better game to view and sorry to all Game Pass users for the blackout you will experience. I 1st predicted an 11-5 at the start of the season and now I firmly believe we can go 14-2 – it’s a bold prediction but the way the offence is clicking and the defence is on fire, I really can’t see us losing. I think it will be close games at the Bills and Rams, but i feel we have the team to do the job. Sorry other NFC South teams but we are going 8-0 in the division, so it’s time to get those brooms out! I simply haven’t had confidence and belief in a Saints team like this since 2011.
The worst case scenario for this Saints team ? We have a total meltdown in the 2nd half of the season and a 4-peat 7-9. It would be the worst possible thing that can happen to this Saints team, much worse than blowing a 25pt lead in a worldwide televised Super Bowl against Brady & Co.
Who are the Big Easy Mafia UK?
As many probably know by now I am the Big Easy Mafia UK account holder. In January 2017 Erick Engelhardt, the founder and president of the Big Easy Mafia which he started in 2014 (the only Saints fan club in Louisiana), approached myself and Richard Jeremiah about starting a UK branch of the fan club right here in the United Kingdom. We jumped at the chance and basically helped grow the fan club over here. I do more Twitter than Facebook so created a Twitter account for the BEM UK and it’s the best decision I made – Who Dat dish writer Dean Mullins asked for an interview because he wanted to know more about the Saints UK fan base which was the start of our wonderful journey. A special mention to Gridiron & Gravy, NFLGirlUK, Gridiron magazine, NFL UK, NFL Talk UK, and everyone who has retweeted things for us – we can’t thank you enough for helping us grow.
— Big Easy Mafia UK (@BigEasyMafiaUK) October 1, 2017
For the Saints vs Dolphins game at Wembley 2017, we promoted the game for weeks with the help of my fellow UK Saints podcast presenters Ben Wright & Ryan Cummings. We strived to make that game weekend a memorable one and it didn’t disappoint – we met so many people from the likes of James Baker, Mark Daley and many people from the great state of Louisiana like Tawnya Fitzmorris and her wonderful family, to the Big Easy Mafia mascot WhootyDaOwl, all under the roof of the Barrowboy & Banker on the pre-game Saturday night. As it was such a HUGE success and word was getting back to Erick, he messaged me a few days later giving me 100% control of the Big Easy Mafia UK saying that this side of the pond was mine to control and Stateside was his; I never dreamt I would be in charge of a fan club, especially one that means so much to me, because the people I have met since January I hold in such high regard as it’s because of them I enjoy what I’m doing and I consider them great friends, just through supporting an NFL Franchise. Now, it’s November 2017 and we have almost a 1000 followers on Twitter and our very own line of merchandise including coffee mugs & T shirts and a presenter on the UK Saints Podcast; if you had said to me at the start of all this that this is I am now I’d have said you were nuts!
That’s it from me – I hope you enjoyed my mid-term review and the story on how I became the Big Easy Mafia UK president, even if it does sound long winded!
From myself to all WHODAT nation members around the world – WHODAT!
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 30, 2017
I write this with a heavy heart as today is the day Mr Kevin Cadle is laid to rest. Myself, like many, always loved nothing more than watching Kev at 6pm on Sky Sports, taking us on a journey through the season and couldn’t help but be drawn to his warm and inviting voice and wonderful personality. He will be sadly missed by many and we all send our thoughts, love and condolences to the Cadle family.
Our man, our legend, the BIG MAN, KEV.