If you somehow do not know it by now, the New Orleans Saints have won Super Bowl XLIV by a 31-17 margin over the Indianapolis Colts. The Saints, playing in their first Super Bowl, did not disappoint, following one of the more unbelievable histories the league has ever seen. This history, has some things that Lions management and fans can learn from.
For fans that really know the history of the Saints, seeing Tom Benson celebrating with the trophy must be like seeing William Clay Ford holding the Lombardi Trophy aloft in front of a crowded stadium. It was Benson after all during Hurricane Katrina, that worked through his PR team to quickly move out of town with all operations to San Antonio. If not for some gaffes in his plans, the Super Bowl might have been between San Antonio and Indianapolis. Imagine Ford, due to the troubled economy, looking to take his team to Los Angeles or San Antonio.
Following Katrina, the team was able to eventually get back in a cleaned up Superdome and get a new coach (Sean Payton) that could change the nomadic culture that had been created the season before. Within a few months, Drew Brees had been added through free agency and some kid named Reggie Bush came in with the number two pick in the Draft. This 2006 NFL preseason and season represents the exact blueprint the Lions need to follow for the future.
The blueprint begins with a GM and coach who have 1) mutual respect and 2) a focus for what it takes to be a champion. While Jim Schwartz may have some of those abilities within, I find it hard to believe that Martin Mayhew is the answer. Next, the Lions need to build the team through free agency. Much like the Saints following Katrina, the Lions will need to overpay and convince players to make the trip north to play for this team. Combine this with successful draft picks in rounds 1-7, and this team might be back to respectability in the coming years.