Former Saint and 10-year NFL veteran Roman Harper should know as well as anyone what an undefeated team looks like. His current Carolina Panthers team is 11-0, and Harper played on the 2009 Saints team that started 13-0 and won a Super Bowl.
His short answer, offered in a first-person piece for Sports Illustrated published online Thursday: “I don’t know.”
“As a team, the 2009 Saints embodied the party culture of New Orleans, and we embraced our role as celebrities of a small market,” Harper says. “In short, we partied very hard.”
That contrasts with the Panthers, who he describes as “younger, more unified on the field, but still learning how to handle success.”
There are other differences, for example, betweeen Saints quarterback Drew Brees and less-traditional Panthers signal caller Cam Newton: “I don’t remember Drew doing a front flip over a defender to get into the end zone,” he said.
The bottom line, Harper says, is that each team has to find a formula that works for that particular team.
Harper also comments on how the league has changed in his 10 years -- tighter scrutiny amplified by social media -- and how he had to adapt and grow as a player and person.