Don’t count out Drew Brees
On paper, Sunday night’s Saints-Bucs game should have been a close one. New Orleans entered at 5–2, while Tampa Bay was 6–2. The Vegas oddsmakers had the Bucs as a three-point favorite, standard for a home team in an even matchup.
The nation’s football “experts” didn’t see it that way. Every single panelist on ESPN, NFL Network and NBC’s pregame shows picked Tom Brady and the Bucs to win.
Not only were they all wrong, it was obvious by halftime how wrong they were. Tom Brady played like crap (22-of-38 passing for 209 yards and three interceptions) and the Bucs got blown out of the water, 38–3. It would have been a shutout if the Bucs, after an intentional grounding penalty on Brady and a sack, hadn’t kicked a 48-yard field goal on fourth-and-20 with six minutes to play.
How could not one of the 15 experts have picked the Saints? New Orleans already won against the Bucs earlier this season, and Tampa Bay had just had a very close call against the lousy Giants on Monday Night Football. The Saints are hardly a juggernaut—they’d won their previous three games by a total of nine points, with two of those victories coming in overtime—but they’ve still got a dangerous offense.
The Saints are hardly the first team to get disrespected by a studio full of analysts, but it has to be exceptionally rare for three full panels of pundits to screw up that badly. It’s become popular this season for teams to call out pregame show panelists when their picks are proved wrong.
After the game, the Saints posted a video of the ESPN, NFL Network and NBC crews making their picks, set to the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme, of course.
Jason Kirk of Moon Crew has an easy solution to help pregame panels avoid getting memed in the future: Just make sure one guy goes against the grain. No one can get mad at the whole group if it looks like one person always had faith in the underdog.
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