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Sean Payton and the Saints solidify themselves as playoff choke artists

The regular season champions have struggled to put it together in the playoffs.

NFC Championship - Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Falcons fans have honorary doctorates in choking. After a blown 25-point lead in the Super Bowl we are undoubtably experts. And today I must take my hat off to the New Orleans Saints. Their dedication to blowing huge playoff games on nearly a yearly basis is otherworldly.

The Saints have put together an impressive regular season stretch after their prior Jeff Fisher-esque 7-9 stretch. This year they were the top seed in the NFC with an impressive 13-3 record. The year before? 11-5 with 1st place in the NFC South. Both impressive playoff berths with the same result.

This weekend’s game had a pretty iconic ending when the Saints brought the Los Angeles Rams into overtime despite a prior 10-point lead. The Saints won the coin flip, a statistically advantageous spot to be in, while additionally playing at home.

It wasn’t enough. The wheels fell off, thanks to Drew Brees and Michael “Catch Rate” Thomas.

That was the end of their season. Football fans will remember another similarly crippling play that ended their season last year.

That is still the most bizarre touchdown I’ve ever seen. That just never happens.

So we are just at two very poor season-ending plays. Is that it?

No, not nearly. There’s a pretty clear process throughout the Sean Payton and Drew Brees years. They previously made the playoffs in 2013 where they went scoreless in the first three quarters before losing to the Seattle Seahawks 23-15 despite a successful onside kick.

How? Marques Colston caught a Drew Brees pass near the sidelines with 8 seconds left. What’d he do? Instead of stepping out of bounds he... passes the ball? It was a laughable forward pass, which required running off the remaining time and ending the game. Just brutal when the Saints had a chance at one more short pass to get them close to field goal range.

In 2012 the Saints were simply outplayed by Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers. It’s not really a choke. The year before may be the most epic play in playoff history. How many plays get their own nickname?

I could write a book of poems about all the beauty in this run. I don’t have enough time to describe how awesome this play was. Suffice it to say, the Saints, particularly Sean Payton and Drew Brees, have a pretty long history of choking in epic fashion in the playoffs.

The Saints appear to simply be more of a regular season team that just can’t finish it out. The Saints, of course, were victorious in Super Bowl XLIV. That season resulted in the Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis receiving suspensions from the NFL and the team losing draft picks for running a bounty program.

You don’t have to defend Brett Favre or Kurt Warner if you pay someone to injure them. Gregg Williams, playing the role of Tonya Harding, perhaps got the Saints over their choke artist tendencies with the illegal bounty program. Hey, at least Vikings fans still have a sense of humor.

There’s not much else to say about Sean Payton and Drew Brees after another painful loss in the playoffs. Actually Payton said it best.

2020 Update: The Saints became the first 13-3 team in NFL history to lose during wildcard weekend after somehow getting outdone by Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings. The “best wide receiver wide receiver” finished with a disappointing 7 catches, 70 yards, and 0 touchdowns. The Saints mismanaged their time to finish out the 4th quarter, forcing themselves to go for a field goal to tie instead of getting an opportunity at the touchdown.

In overtime, the Vikings decisively drove down the field and quickly scored the game-winning touchdown.

Relive this and other moments in this educational tweet video.