No fan base in the country is having a more atrocious beginning of 2019 than New Orleans.
New Orleans is nicknamed “The Big Easy”, yet it’s been anything but that for the Saints and Pelicans as the calendar turned to the new year.
—Blown PI call leads to Saints NFC CG loss
—Anthony Davis requests trade
Tough week for New Orleans sports fans… pic.twitter.com/Ne0vIDKgg7
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 28, 2019
The Saints lost 26-23 in overtime and the Rams are headed to Atlanta to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
With 1:45 left in the regulation on 3rd-and-10 from the Rams’ 13-yard line, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman bulldozed Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis and made helmet-to-helmet contact before the ball arrived.
The game was tied at 20 at that point. The no-call resulted in the Saints kicking a field goal to only go ahead 23-20. Afterwards, the NFL’s head of officials confirmed to Saints coach Sean Payton that they “blew the call,” according to ESPN.
— ESPN (@espn) January 27, 2019
Meanwhile, superstar Anthony Davis has informed the Pelicans of his desire to be traded, with the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers reportedly as his preferred destination according to ESPN.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 28, 2019
Davis and James are both represented by Klutch Sports. Davis was fined $50K for the comments of his agent Rich Paul, who said his client “wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship.”
The Pelicans selected Davis with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Davis is a five-time NBA All-Star, 2017 NBA All-Star Game MVP and a three-time All-NBA First-Team member.
However, the Pelicans have only reached the postseason twice in Davis’ illustrious career, maxing out at the second round. The Pelicans are currently tied for 12th place in the Western Conference.
Another reported factor in Davis wanting out of New Orleans is the Pelicans’ supposed lack of support from ownership.
The Saints and the Pelicans are owned by Gayle Benson, who supplanted her late husband Tom. Mickey Loomis is the general manager for the Saints and Pelicans. In Loomis’ bio in the Pelicans media guide, 497 of the 541 words are devoted to his contributions with the Saints.
The Athletic reports that “a source with knowledge of Davis’ thinking,” believes the second-class citizen perception of the Pelicans in New Orleans rubbed the once-in-a-generation big man the wrong way.
With the brutal double gut punch delivered in January, New Orleans sports fans have every right to be bummed out.
Yet this is a city with a history of resilience, with Hurricane Katrina serving as the most prominent example. The hope is the Saints and Pelicans will soon be able to put the misery of January 2019 behind them.
The Saints are armed for another run at the Super Bowl as they return a talented core led by legendary quarterback Drew Brees. The public outcry from Who Dat Nation even has the NFL considering “a plan that would allow limited coaches’ challenges for incorrect judgment calls that also could include a penalty or time run off if the coach is wrong, per a league source,” according to ESPN.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans will mull over the best deal for Davis to set themselves up for the rebuilding process. While Davis’ reportedly yearns to form a dynamic duo with James in Los Angeles, the entire league is chomping at the bit to gather their assets for The Brow.
Most importantly, both franchises will have the full-fledged support from the Crescent City.
— ESPN (@espn) January 29, 2019
When those better days arrive in the Bayou, the pain of the past will merely be a badge of honor.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) January 28, 2019