While some might want the world to move on from the so-dubbed "Minneapolis Miracle," Saints head coach Sean Payton isn’t looking to erase that play from his players’ memories.
"There is nothing wrong with still having that taste in our mouth," Payton said Monday on NFL Network’s Inside Training Camp Live.
Instead of trying to bury it, the Saints will attempt to turn the "Minneapolis Miracle" into motivation for 2018.
"Listen, I don’t know that you move on ever," Payton said. "In our careers, you just hope when it’s all said and done, you’re on the better half of some of those games than the bottom half of some of those games. And you typically as a coach remember the tough losses maybe more than you do the big wins.
Payton echoed what many coaches and players have said throughout sporting history, that the fear of losing can be a greater instigator than the thrill of victory.
"Fear of failure is a big motivating factor in what we do as a player and as a coach," he said. "Fear of not doing well. That is one of the things that I think is a healthy motivating factor."
"More importantly, looking at the dynamic of that game, we didn’t play well early on," the coach noted. "The last half of that game certainly, we came back. I point to the 3rd-and-1 right before we kicked that field goal, we have a chance to get a yard and get that clock down to three seconds and that field goal is the last play of the game.
"There were a number of plays, but I think that has got a healthy spot for us to linger on it. There is an old saying ‘it won’t taste good, but it will go down.’"
Payton and the Saints will take their medicine, digest it, learn from the mistakes that necessitated it, and begin anew when the season opens.
With a Hall of Fame-bound quarterback (Drew Brees), dynamic No. 1 receiver (Michael Thomas), playmaking running back (Alvin Kamara), one of the best offensive lines in football, an underrated disruptive pass rusher (Cameron Jordan), a people-mover on the interior (Sheldon Rankins), a lock-down corner (Marshon Lattimore) and a good safety duo (Vonn Bell, Marcus Williams), the Saints have the pieces in every phase of the game to compete for another Lombardi Trophy.
Seemingly every Hollywood story starts with a devastating moment that motivated the main character towards his or her goals. The Saints have their stimulus. Now it’s the job of Payton, Brees, etc. to write the rest of the plot.