Taysom Hill, a 30-year-old Swiss Army knife with 11 professional completions to his name, will start for the New Orleans Saints against the Atlanta Falcons. This means that Jameis Winston, who threw for over 5,000 yards last year and was the immediate answer when Drew Brees went down with injury, and is more focused on the art of quarterbacking, will once again be wearing a baseball cap on the sidelines.
The news is sending predictable shockwaves because this is a rare case where public opinion isn't so much divided, but lopsided. There are precious few people roaming the Earth who believe Hill is an above-average contributor at the position. Sean Payton is one of them and his opinion holds the most sway.
So, yeah, it's going to be interesting. This could be a spectacular disaster or delightful coronation. Rarely if ever does a team competing for a homefield advantage through the playoffs get the privilege of turning to someone eligible at the tight end position in fantasy football. It all has a strong Tebowian aroma, though clearly Hill has a superior arm and athleticism which says more about the former Heisman Trophy winner than anything.
People are diving into their mind grapes to figure this out because it is, in many ways a perplexing decision. A few obvious possibilities stand out.
One, as stated before, Payton is a true believer. Two, New Orleans has essentially been overpaying for Hill's services with his compensation only making sense if he were a viable option to line up under center every play and help the Saints, always title contenders, accomplish their lofty goals. Three, the board has cleared out to present a use-it-or-lose it scenario. As in, if ever there were a time to go chuga-chuga-choo-choo on the Tayson train, it's now against a woeful Falcons defense.
Which brings us to possibility No. 3. Spite. The same thing that drove Jerry Seinfeld to return a fancy jacket to disappointing results. It is unclear who Craig the ponytailed salesman is in this situation, though certainly not Payton. Craig's motivation for dangling the Nicole Miller dress in front of Elaine were clearer and more cringeworthy.
Indulge this theory by acknowledging that this is one of the fiercest and pettiest NFL rivalries. Neither side makes any secret of their disdain. What better way for the Saints to bury the dagger than by running some sort of Mickey Mouse offense up and down the field?
Honestly, at this point, embarrassing Atlanta makes as much sense as anything else.
Sunday should be fun if only because so many people are going to look either brilliant or asinine, therefore spawning inevitable overreaction and sample-size discussions.