Before he even walked across the stage at the Radio City Music Hall, USC tailback and Heisman winner Reggie Bush was being compared as a hybrid of Walter Payton and Barry Sanders, a “can’t miss” prospect who was destined for stardom.
Fast forward five offseasons and after the former No. 2 overall pick was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a backup safety and undisclosed draft pick, the term ‘bust’ has been used to describe him. Be it his injury history, his inconsistency running between the tackles or the limited impact he has made on the field, he hasn’t come within lightyears reaching the potential that was set for him before he even came into the league.
With all that being said, Bush played an integral role in helping the Saints reach two NFC championship games and win a Super Bowl. His “wild card” presence on-the-field also helped quarterback Drew Brees elevate the Saints offense to one of the best in the league’s history.
So in this offseason, since he is no longer a member of the black and gold, it’s important to realize the impact he has had on the Saints during his short career in New Orleans. He can actually take credit for helping the Saints stay in the Big Easy.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it took a prolonged period of time for the NFL to finally announce that the Saints would be returning to New Orleans. When they did, many fans ordered season tickets to support the team, but there was not a lot of excitement surrounding the team. It was hard for a hurricane-ravaged city to get excited for a team that finished 3-13 the previous season and had just signed a quarterback with a bum throwing arm.
Then, Bush fell to the Saints. The Texans took Mario Williams (wisely in hindsight, I may add) and the electrifying running back from Southern California came to the Saints.
Immediately after Bush was signed, the Saints season ticket sale went through the roof, and the excitement for the team’s return reached epic levels. A perusal of YouTube shows an almost panicked reaction from Saints fans at draft parties after the Bush selection was announced.
That excitement has carried the Saints to unthought of heights: a Super Bowl win and being considered one of the best offenses in NFL history. So the next time a ‘Bush is a bust’ conversation breaks out, one can think of how he didn’t reach the levels of hype that were projected for him, or then can think of how he rejuvenated a fan base and helped lead the Saints to NFL glory.
This post previously ran on Saints Post several weeks ago. It was ran again due to the trade of Reggie Bush.