3. It is easier to lose now rather than later
This one is kind of trivial but every single fan feels this way deep down, whether they know it or not. The New Orleans Saints have had three ugly losses in the playoffs three years in a row but for a mixture of reasons, this one definitely hurts the least.
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Yes, it was a nail-biter and it did still hurt, but we can all look at how the team played in this game and honestly say that they did not really deserve to win. Neither team did, it was an ugly game where either team could have lost, and in this case, it was the Saints.
That is much better than outplaying the Vikings only to allow a miracle, once in a hundred touchdown at the end of regulation to lose the game; or significantly outplaying the Los Angeles Rams, only to blow a big lead and then get screwed over from an obvious no-call on pass interference.
The other reason why this loss is easier to handle is the timing of the loss. Last year it was one game shy of the Super Bowl against a New England Patriots team that the Saints absolutely could have beaten.
Two years ago it was in the Divisional Round and the Saints would have gone on to play Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. While Foles ended up carrying the Eagles to a Super Bowl, the Saints definitely would have been heavy favorites in that game.
Even if they won this game they likely still would have gone through the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and either the Kansas City Chiefs or Baltimore Ravens, all of which are juggernaut teams.
It is easier to lose and think about the offseason now than go through several battles only to come up short in the end. It sounds trivial, and it really is, but it definitely makes it feel better.