Larry Holder is an excellent beat writer covering the New Orleans Saints for the New Orleans Times Picayune. He isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and say what the fanbase or the players may not want to hear. After another disappointing 0-2 start in September, with the Saints careening towards irrelevance once again, Holder went all-in.
The beat writer said on his podcast with fellow Times Picayune scribe Jeff Duncan that he would shave his head if the Saints somehow found a way to turn it around and reach 10 wins. After three consecutive 7-9 seasons and with a defense that was on pace for record worst numbers after two weeks, it must have seemed like a safe bet.
But then the Saints put together a remarkable turnaround, keyed by one of the great rookie classes we’ve ever seen with Alvin Kamara on offense and Mark Ingram on defense. New Orleans won eight consecutive games and finished at 11-5 on the season, winning the toughest division in football in the NFC South.
On Thursday, Holder made good on his bet by shaving his head in downtown New Orleans. One has to feel for him, because he has a decent head of hair for a sportswriter.
The Saints have been one of the great stories in the NFL this season and this makes it even better. Hopefully they’ll be able to continue their success through the postseason after proving a lot of people wrong throughout 2017. Maybe Holder’s bet will encourage other beat writers around the country to have some fun with bold predictions for the teams that they cover on a daily basis. Or after seeing Holder getting his head shaved… maybe it’ll encourage them to play it safe. Given the unpredictable nature of sports, I’m guessing the latter is more likely.