T he truth is: I just thought it would be funny.
More than anything else, that’s the reason I decided to send a bottle of wine to Cam Newton after we beat the Panthers last weekend.
Now, that’s not to say it was a decision I made just out of nowhere. This was actually something a few months in the making, which is what made it particularly satisfying.
After our first game against the Panthers this year, I had mentioned how Cam was a really fashion-forward dresser — that he’s almost NBA player–esque in the way he dresses. And he shot back that maybe he could teach me a thing or two, that he could “send me some sauce,” if I wanted.
Mind you, I don’t have the luxury of being a fashion plate like that dude. I’m a little too heavy-set for all that. But when he replied about sending me “some sauce,” it had me thinking about my next move.
So Christmas rolls around and I give my D-line coach, Ryan Nielsen, a bottle of wine for the holidays. But, you know, because it’s me, and I sometimes like to joke around, it couldn’t just be some fancy, expensive showpiece wine. I had to make sure it was from a company called “Jordan.”
Coach is like, “Here I am thinking I’m going to get a really nice bottle of wine from my guy and instead I get … Jordan wine?”
Which, you know, got me thinking. Like, O.K., so that sort of annoyed you … huh?
It was like, I can maybe work with this later on. So I kept a bottle in the bag just in case the playoff matchups worked out a certain way and I happened to get the opportunity to send one out to Cam.
Some sauce, as he put it.
And, wouldn’t you know it, everything just kind of came together. After that huge win over the Panthers, I was like, You know what … I’m gonna send my guy some sauce — some Jordan wine! It’s not my wine company. That’s just the name of it, but I thought it would be a phenomenal gift for Cam. That he might enjoy it.
It was all in good fun.
And now it’s on to Minnesota for the next one.
I thought it would be a phenomenal gift for Cam. That he might enjoy it.
This week has been crazy in New Orleans. I feel like the partying from that win is still going on, to be honest. As it is, New Orleans isn’t a place where you ever need an excuse to have a great party. But when there is an excuse, like the Saints playing their best ball in years, well, there’s no place else like it.
All that being said, because I’m a little bit older now, I don’t partake in some of the celebratory stuff around town like I may have in the past. If this was 2011, back when I first joined the Saints, it might be a different story but … I’ve got a family at this point, you know?
As we’ve gotten rolling and moved into the playoffs, I’ve been treading very lightly in terms of excursions around town with the fam. I mean, have you ever tried to be out and about and taking a zillion pictures with fans while you have a one-year-old and a two-year old in tow? It’s just not easy. There’s not a ton of patience on their part for selfies and autographs.
What I will do, though, is something that I would’ve never in a million years thought I’d be into as a twenty-something, and that’s….
Family karaoke night!
I almost can’t believe I just wrote that.
But, you know what? So be it. Some nights after a big win, I’ll go down to this karaoke spot in town with a few of my teammates and their families and we’ll just basically … sing our hearts out.
It’s pretty hilarious.
I’m not up in the club, in the VIP room with the bottle service. I’m on stage calling up OutKast songs or belting out “Crazy in Love” or whatever in front of all the toddlers and moms and everyone else.
I figured maybe that kind of thing would be happening when I got a little older. Like when I’m around where Drew’s at in his career or something. But, you know … here we are.
It’s like: Food plus karaoke … Yes!
I’m evolving as a human being I suppose.
And it’s been cool. I’ve been working on a whole James Brown thing for “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” so folks need to be on the lookout for that real soon.
It’s gonna be hot.
Right now, though, I’m getting ready to fly up north for this matchup with the Vikings.
And I can’t wait.
I’m ready to go. Right now.
I’m ready for Sunday to be here already. The moment we beat Carolina I was already thinking about this game. When Monday rolled around, one day after such a hard-fought battle, I was literally like, I would love to play the Vikings today.
That’s how amped I am.
George Rose/Getty Images
And, for me, it’s always … how should I put this? Interesting. It’s always interesting for me when we play the Vikings because my dad, Steve, has an amazing history from when he played for that team, and the fact that I grew up watching the Vikings do their thing. As a kid, I’d watch that team’s entire defensive line and just kind of be in awe of guys like Chris Doleman and Keith Millard. So the nostalgia of growing up as the son of a Viking gives this game even more significance for me, if you can imagine that.
Minnesota got the better of us early on in the season, but we’re a completely different team than when we played them that first time around.
And I’m going to do everything humanly possible to have my guys fired up and ready to bring it for this one, I can tell you that much.
I’m in my element right now, and I feel like I’m playing the best football of my career. When I take the field, no matter the situation, I always want to be a quarterback’s worst nightmare. I want to be that guy who offensive lineman worry about when they’re game planning — that name coaches put a star beside like, Damn, we have to go against Cam Jordan next week.
And, sure, people may be paying more attention to me nationally this year or whatever, but that’s not going to help me win matchups, or help our team win games. What’s been making the difference instead has been all the work me and my guys have put in this season, and the desire we all play with.
I talk a lot about how certain teams, and certain players, want to win more than others. I’m never doing that to disparage anyone, but I definitely feel like there’s something to that. It’s just a frame of mind that I’ve always adopted going all the way back to when I was a little kid. And it’s something our whole team has kind of bought into.
Like: I want it more than the other guy. Period.
It’s not like you can quantify it really, and be like this guy wants to win, but not as much as this other guy does. My belief is always that I just want it the most, though. I honestly always think I want it the most. And you’re going to have to outwork me and out-hustle me to prove to me that you want it more than I do.
That’s not happening as long as I’m breathing, though. So, good luck.
For me, what’s been especially fun about this year’s team is that our entire defense is really holding its own and playing at a high level on a consistent basis.
It’s not just all about the offense in New Orleans anymore, and that makes me proud.
Now, you know, let’s not get too crazy here. As long as Drew’s around, we’re gonna always be a sight to see on offense. That hasn’t changed. That’s not going anywhere.
But it’s been really cool to be on a team where I have a ton of guys on the defensive side of the ball doing big things on a regular basis. It makes me want to be sure to step up in the same way. I’m always thinking, you know, I need to make more plays because … I got Tyeler Davison shooting this gap and getting a tackle for a loss or Dave Onyemata shooting a gap and making plays or Alex Okafor, back when he was healthy, coming off the edge hot and blowing people up and making plays. Or Sheldon Rankins out here playing so many different positions and excelling at all of them. Or my guy Marshon Lattimore doing his thing on the back end.
I always want to be able to match the production of all my guys and leave it all out on the field. And I truly believe that’s a perspective that is shared by every single member of our defensive unit.
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
So when you have that going on with the defense, and you combine that level of play with an offense where Drew is still, 16 or 17 years in, doing what he does better than anyone else in this league, there’s a real opportunity to accomplish something special.
Add in Mark Ingram showing everyone on the planet what folks around here have known for a long time in terms of just being one of the most relentless and energetic backs I’ve ever seen. And then all these young guys just blasting off like nobody’s business? I mean, Mike Thomas? Are you kidding me? Dude is the closest thing I’ve seen to a Steve Smith–type receiver since I’ve been in the league. The more someone challenges him, the more he wants to dominate that game. If a DB is talking any sort of noise to Mike T., he’s only gonna feed off of it and play even better.
And don’t even get me started on Alvin Kamara.
When he came in, I’d never seen anything like it before. I mean….
Dude has a septum ring and a nose ring?
Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Like, two nose rings!
You better be good when you come into an NFL camp wearing two separate nose rings, you know what I mean?
When I saw that I was like, Where are you from to have both of those in your nose at one time? Like, where is that a thing?
One practice in, though, and I forgot all about the nose rings. It took like two cuts. And maybe one or two tackles that he bounced off of and kept running.
So, yeah, we got everything we need here. Me and the guys on defense. Drew. All the skill players. The line. Mr. Two Nose Rings. Everything.
Now we just gotta roll into Minneapolis and show the Vikings what New Orleans Saints football is all about.
And, you know what? I have an idea about that.
It involves our fans here in New Orleans, and it goes like this:
Why don’t you all come with us up to Minnesota this weekend and let’s make that place a Saints dome this Sunday?
I know it’s kind of far, and this is totally short notice, but I gotta say: I feel like we’re gonna make it worth your while — like something special is brewing, if you know what I mean.
Plus, it’s supposed to be nice on Sunday up there. Negative 6°. Not too bad. But that’s the low. Fourteen for a high! And it’s an indoor stadium anyway, so who cares about the cold?
It’ll be fun.
After witnessing the way our fans were rockin’ in the Superdome last weekend … I would love to see us take that energy and some of that dome-field advantage up north with us this weekend.
So, yeah, I don’t know … I’m not saying you have to commit right now. Just, like, give it some thought. See if you can swing it.
Then, when we all get back into town after we get that W, hit me up and the Jordan wine and karaoke is on me.