It wasn’t that long ago when a trip to play the Saints in the Superdome felt like an automatic loss for the visiting team, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that it feels like a long time ago.
Sunday’s 26-19 loss to the Buccaneers was their sixth straight loss at home and their first loss at home to the Buccaneers since the final week of the 2010 season. It’s hard not to draw a line between the loss of the team’s mystique at home and the overall struggles that have them with a 7-11 record overall since the start of last season, although coach Sean Payton stressed this is a new season with a new team.
“It’s a fair question [about the home losing streak], but this is a different team in this locker room,” Payton said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “They are dealing with an opening home loss. Obviously we talked about it all week, the advantage you can have of playing at home here and the history of playing here and all those other things. There are just so many guys that are new to it, and we need to embrace it. The ones that have been here need to communicate how important it is for this to be an advantage.”
Whatever advantage the Saints derived from the Superdome came because the noise and venue exacerbated advantages they already had over the opposition on the field. The Saints of 2014 and 2015 don’t appear to have too many of those advantages, which means there’s nothing a building can do to swing the tide in their favor.