The New Orleans Saints' impressive regular season record -- 37-11 over the last three seasons -- has not translated to title contention as of late. The team has advanced past the NFC Championship just once since its 2009 Super Bowl run and owns a 2-3 playoff record since 2017. But if the Saints do anything less than capture a Lombardi Trophy in 2020, it'll be considered a true failure. Or at least that's according to left tackle Terron Armstead, who told reporters Thursday that it's "Super Bowl or bust" for New Orleans this year.
"If we don't get to the big dance," Armstead said, per Nick Underhill, "it's a failed season. That's it."
Most NFL teams, of course, would trumpet the same message. With the Saints, however, the mission carries added weight considering their actions have followed suit. New Orleans has operated this offseason as if its Super Bowl window will close between 2020-2021.
Longtime quarterback Drew Brees is 41 and got a $50 million deal with retirement all but certain to be on the horizon. Armstead's fellow offensive lineman Andrus Peat cashed in on the Saints' win-now mentality, coaxing New Orleans to make him one of the NFL's highest-paid blockers. Adding veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and reuniting with Malcolm Jenkins, now 32, in free agency were other sure signs Sean Payton and Co. are all in on a short-term Super Bowl run during Brees' unofficial ride into the sunset.
The Saints have made the playoffs in three straight seasons, coming within four points of a trip to the Super Bowl in 2018. Since Payton became head coach in 2006, they've earned eight postseason berths and gone 8-7 in the playoffs. In 2019, the club finished 13-3 for their third straight NFC South title but lost to the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card Round.