|New Orleans Saints|
|Established 1967 |
Play in New Orleans, Louisiana
National Football League (1967–present)
|Team colors||Old Gold, Black, and White|
|General Manager||Mickey Loomis|
|Head Coach||Sean Payton|
| League Championships (1)
| Conference Championships (1)
| Division Championships (6)
The New Orleans Saints are a professional American football team based in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Saints were founded on November 1, 1966 as an expansion team and played their home games at Tulane Stadium through the 1974 season. Their early record was marked by a lack of success; they went more than a decade before they managed to finish a season with a .500 record, two decades before having a winning season, and over four decades before finally reaching the Super Bowl. The team's first successful years were from 1987–1992, when the team made the playoffs four times and had winning records in the non-playoff seasons. In the 2000 season, the Saints defeated the then-defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams for the team's first playoff win.
The Saints reached the NFC Championship Game in the 2006 season but lost 39–14 to the Chicago Bears. They repeated this feat in their most successful season in 2009, this time winning the game and their first conference championship to send them to their first Super Bowl appearance. At Super Bowl XLIV, the Saints won the city of New Orleans its first league championship, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31–17.
- Main article: History of the New Orleans Saints
The Jim Mora EraEdit
Current Saints owner Tom Benson acquired the franchise in 1985, and hired Jim Finks as general manager and Jim Mora as head coach. That combination provided the Saints with their first-ever winning record and playoff appearance, going 12–3 in 1987, which had one fewer game than normal due to a players' strike. Another playoff berth would follow in 1990, and the club's first division title came in 1991. During Mora's tenure the Saints made the playoffs four times, with teams marked by strong defenses led by the "Dome Patrol" linebacking corps, but they were never able to win a playoff game. Mora coached the Saints until the middle of the 1996 season, when he stepped down halfway through a 3–13 season.
The Mike Ditka EraEdit
After the end of the 1996 season, ironically as Diliberto had suggested before Mora's resignation, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was hired to replace Mora. Although this initially generated a lot of excitement among Saints fans, Ditka's tenure ended up being a failure. The Saints went 6–10 in their first two seasons under Ditka (1997 and 1998). During the 1999 NFL Draft, Ditka traded all of his picks for that season, as well as the first-round and third-round picks for the following season, to the Washington Redskins in order to draft University of Texas Heisman Trophy running back Ricky Williams in the first round. Ditka and Williams had a mock wedding picture taken to commemorate the occasion. However, Ditka, most of his coaching staff, and general manager Bill Kuharich were fired at the end of the 1999 season due to the club's 3–13 record.
The Jim Haslett EraEdit
Jim Haslett held the post from 2000 to 2005. In his first year, he took the team to the playoffs but lost to the Minnesota Vikings a week after beating the St. Louis Rams for the team's first ever playoff win. After winning the 2000 NFL Executive of the Year Award, General Manager Randy Mueller was fired between the 2001 and 2002 seasons without explanation by Benson. The Saints failed to make the playoffs in 2001 and 2002, although in the latter year they had the distinction of beating the eventual Super Bowl XXXVII champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in both of their regular season meetings, only the second team to do so in NFL history.
In 2003, the Saints again missed the playoffs after finishing 8–8. The 2004 season started poorly for the Saints, as they went 2–4 through their first six games and 4–8 through their first twelve games. At that point Haslett's job appeared to be in jeopardy; however, he managed to win the three straight games leading up to the season finale, leaving the Saints in playoff contention in the final week of the season. In week 17, the Saints defeated division rivals Carolina; however, the Saints needed other results to break their way and when the St. Louis Rams beat the New York Jets the Saints were eliminated despite having beaten the Rams, who finished with the same record. The Rams, Saints, and Vikings all were 8–8, with the Rams having a 7–5 conference record, Saints 6–6, and the Vikings 5–7. The Rams received the #1 wild-card due to having the best conference record out of the 3, followed by the Vikings due to the 38–31 loss handed to the Saints in Week 6. Haslett was fired after the 2005 season, in which the Saints finished 3–13 and did not play one regular season contest in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina. On January 17, 2006, the Saints hired Sean Payton as their new head coach.
Effect of Hurricane KatrinaEdit
- Main article: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans Saints
Due to the damage Hurricane Katrina caused to the Superdome and the New Orleans area, the Saints scheduled 2005 home opener against the New York Giants was moved to Giants Stadium. The remainder of their 2005 home games were split between the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The Sean Payton and Drew Brees EraEdit
On March 23, the Saints announced that the team's two 2006 preseason games were to be played at Shreveport, Louisiana and Jackson, Mississippi. After a $185 million renovation of the historic stadium, on April 6 the Saints released their 2006 schedule, with all home games scheduled to be played at the Superdome. On September 19, Saints owner Tom Benson announced that the team had sold out the Louisiana Superdome for the entire season with season tickets alone (70,001 seats), a first in franchise history.
The September 25, 2006 home opener, the first home game in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, was won by the Saints 23–3 against the Atlanta Falcons, who were undefeated in the 2006 season at that time. The attendance for the game was a sellout crowd of 70,003. Meanwhile, the broadcast of the game was ESPN's highest-ever rated program to date, with an 11.8 rating, and viewership by 10,850,000 homes. It was the most-watched program for the night, broadcast or cable, and was the second-highest rated cable program of all time at the time. Green Day and U2 performed "Wake Me Up When September Ends" and "The Saints Are Coming", respectively, before the game. The game received a 2007 ESPY award for "Best Moment in Sports".
On December 17, 2006, the Saints clinched their third division title and their first NFC South title in franchise history. For the first time in Saints' history, they clinched their NFC South title on their home field. Sean Payton became the second consecutive Saints coach to win a division title in his first season. After the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Day 2006, the Saints clinched a first-round playoff bye for the first time in franchise history.
After the first-round bye, the Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27–24 in the Superdome in the 2006 Divisional Playoffs. No team had ever had such a poor record in the prior year (3–13) and then gone on to a league or conference championship game since the 1999 St. Louis Rams who advanced to win their first Super Bowl after being 4–12 the season before. Since the Saints' only previous playoff win was in the wild card round, this was the farthest the Saints had ever advanced at the time. The victory was only the second playoff win in team history. The season ended on January 21, 2007 when the Saints lost 39–14 to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game.
- Main article: 2007 New Orleans Saints
The Saints announced that for the second year in a row, the Louisiana Superdome had sold out every ticket for the season. Additionally, all luxury boxes had been sold out for the season. Both of these statistics are particularly surprising given that the city-proper has about 300,000 people or 150,000 fewer people than July 2005 population data (though the metro area still accounts for 1.2 million people).
The first game of the season was against the defending Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts. The Saints lost this game, 41–10, and lost their next three games. In one of these three games, against the Tennessee Titans, the Saints lost running back Deuce McAllister for the season with his second career (second time in three seasons) ACL tear. After winning their first game, against the Seattle Seahawks, two weeks later, the team went on a four-game winning streak to bring their record to an even 4–4. After reaching 7–7, the Saints lost their final two games to finish 7–9.
- Main article: 2008 New Orleans Saints season
Following a disappointing 7–9 record in the 2007 season, the Saints ended the 2008 season 8–8. Failing to qualify for the post season for the second straight year, the Saints found themselves struggling on defense. The Saints would match the explosive offense they had in the 2006 season, however. Drew Brees ended the 2008 season just 16 yards short of beating Dan Marino's single-season record of 5084 total passing yards. Lance Moore came 72 yards short of his first 1000-yard season.
- Main article: 2009 New Orleans Saints season
The 2009 season was the team's most successful season, which culminated in the franchise's first league championship win against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. After achieving a record of 13–0 with their win over the Atlanta Falcons, it marked the Saints' best start to a season in its franchise history. The result clinched an NFC playoff berth, a bye in the first round of the playoffs. By winning their first 13 games, the Saints also set the record for the longest undefeated season opening (13–0) by an NFC team since the AFL–NFL merger, surpassing the previous record (12–0) held by the 1985 Chicago Bears. However, they would fall victim to the Dallas Cowboys in week 15, going on to end the season with a 3 game losing streak.
Although its opponents would include winners of 9 of the last 15 NFL MVP awards, the team advanced to the 2009 NFC Championship game where they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 31–28 in overtime, and then went on to win their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Television ratings for Super Bowl 44 were the highest for any TV program, sports or otherwise, in history., as their successful bid to win the Super Bowl was seen by many to represent the city's resurgence after the devastating Hurricane Katrina
- Main article: 2010 New Orleans Saints season
The Saints 2010 season began in the Superdome as the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings 14–9, in a rematch of the 2009 NFC Championship Game. It was played on Thursday September 9, 2010 and televised on NBC, making it the first time the Saints have opened the NFL's season at home. On Sunday, August 8, 2010, NBC announced the televised opening festivities of the evening would begin with Taylor Swift and the Dave Matthews Band. On December 27, 2010 with a 17–14 win against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta the Saints clinched a playoff appearance (wild card). This marked the first time a team in the NFC South the Saints make back-to-back playoff appearances since the division was formed in 2002. The Saints would face the Seattle Seahawks for the wild-card opener at Qwest Field. The Seahawks were the 1st NFL team to capture their division with a sub.-500 regular season record (7–9). Drew Brees completed a postseason-record 39 passes for 404 yards and two touchdowns. Despite throwing 60 passes and hindered by a lack of depth at running back, last year's Super Bowl MVP wasn't intercepted and rallied the Saints within 34–30 in the fourth quarter. In the end, his efforts were negated by a defense that couldn't get enough stops and a late TD run by Marshawn Lynch breaking nearly a half-dozen tackles with 3:22 left which allowed Seattle to finish off the Saints. Final score 41–36. The Saints also became the only defending Super Bowl champion to ever lose in the playoffs to a team with a losing record.
- Main article: 2011 New Orleans Saints season
Logos and uniformsEdit
Except for minor modifications, the Saints' logo and uniforms have basically remained the same since the club debuted in 1967. The team's logo is a fleur-de-lis (a symbol of the City of New Orleans and of France's Royal Family, which included the House of Bourbon), while its uniform design consists of gold helmets, gold pants, and either black or white jerseys. Minor changes to the uniform stripes and trim have been made throughout the years. The team wore black helmets during the 1969 preseason, but NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle barred the Saints from using the helmets during the regular season, since owner John Mecom, Jr. did not notify the league office of the change.
The Saints predominantly wore white at home when the club played at Tulane Stadium from 1967 through 1974 (except in 1969 and 1970), forcing opponents to wear dark colors in the subtropical climate of New Orleans. When the surface at Tulane Stadium switched from natural grass to AstroTurf in 1971, field temperatures became hotter still. In Archie Manning's first game, in the 1971 season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, temperatures on the field reached as high as 130 F. The heavily favored Rams wilted in the stifling heat, and the Saints claimed their first-ever victory over their NFC West rivals, 24–20, on Manning's 1-yard quarterback sneak on the last play of the game.
The Saints switched to white pants in 1975, coinciding with the team's move from Tulane Stadium to the Superdome, and have worn white at home numerous times since then. One year later, they started to wear black pants with their white jerseys, a move influenced by coach Hank Stram, who introduced red pants to the Kansas City Chiefs' uniforms in 1968. In an October 3, 1976 home game against the Houston Oilers, Hank Stram used the Saints' road uniforms, the white jerseys and black pants. The Saints lost that game 31–26. During the 1981–82 seasons (Bum Phillips' first two seasons as coach), the team wore white jerseys with black pants at home, but reverted back to the black jerseys and white pants for 1983. They reverted back to wearing gold pants with both their black and white jerseys in 1986 under new coach Jim E. Mora. From 1986 through 1995, the sleeves of the jerseys and sides of the pants featured a logo with a fleur-de-lis inside an outline of the state of Louisiana. The logo replaced the striping pattern that had been on the uniforms since the team's inception; save for color variations, the striping pattern was similar to that used by the Washington Redskins (until 1979), Green Bay Packers (until 1997), and Cleveland Browns (still in use), which is likely why the change was made. That logo was removed in 1996 and replaced with a fleur-de-lis on both the sleeves and sides of the pants.
From 1996 through 1998, the Saints returned to gold numbers on both the white and black jerseys, but complaints about the numbers on the white jerseys being too difficult to read forced the numbers on the white jerseys to be changed to black in 1999. The Saints wore black pants with a wide gold stripe with their white jerseys in 1999, but following a 3–13 season and the dismissal of coach Mike Ditka, the black pants were mothballed by new coach Jim Haslett.
While some teams have tried to jinx the Dallas Cowboys by wearing white to force the Cowboys to wear their blue jerseys, the Saints have never attempted this gimmick. The Saints haven't worn white against the Cowboys at the Superdome but they have when New Orleans played against Dallas at Tulane Stadium.
In 2000, the Saints won their first playoff game as they hosted the St. Louis Rams and after having a better road record than home record, they wore their white jerseys, and won 31–28 over the defending champion Rams. The defining play of the game came with the Saints clinging to a three-point lead with minutes to play. The Saints punted to the Rams' Az-Zahir Hakim (who would play one season for the Saints in 2005), who fumbled the punt deep in Rams' territory. Brian Milne recovered for the Saints, who then ran out the clock to preserve the victory.
In 2001, they wore their white jerseys in the first six home games. During that same year, they primarily wore black pants with both their white and black jerseys. They became the first NFL team to wear all-black uniforms in a week 5 road game against the Carolina Panthers, and again in weeks 16 and 17 in home games against the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.
In 2002, the Saints wore black pants with their white jerseys (except for the final road game, a 20–13 loss in Cincinnati when they went back to the gold pants), and gold pants with their black jerseys, a gold alternate jersey, and a 1967-style throwback uniform. But one season later, they stopped using the alternates and again reverted back to wearing gold pants with both their black and white jerseys.
The team introduced a gold alternate jersey (worn with the black pants) during a December 15, 2002 game versus the Minnesota Vikings, a 32–31 loss, but have never worn them since then. Because of the metallic gold's bright color, the gold jerseys were considered the "light" jersey in the game, so the Vikings wore their purple home jerseys as the "dark" colored team. One team must wear "dark" and one team must wear "light", this was done because of black & white t.v. broadcasts so viewers could tell the teams apart. the only exception being if both teams are wearing throwback uniforms, such as Thanksgiving Classic games. Today only the New England Patriots have a "light" jersey (their alternate, a bright metallic silver) that isn't white in which the other team would wear their colored, or "dark" jerseys against them since the third jersey rule was implemented in the NFL in 2002.
The Saints also introduced a 1967-style throwback uniform in a 23–20 win on December 1, 2002 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This uniform wasn't worn again until a 40-33 win against the Houston Texans on September 25, 2011. This variation featured a black face mask as opposed to the traditional grey.
In 2006, to honor their return to Louisiana, the Saints wore a patch on their uniforms with an outline of the State of Louisiana with a fleur-de-lis superimposed, similar to the logo from the 1980s.
The Saints originally planned to wear white jerseys at home for the 2006 season, but during the season, the players voted to wear the black jerseys at home after the second home game. Since the team had informed the NFL office that they planned to wear white jerseys at home, each of the Saints' remaining home opponents would have to agree to New Orleans' request. The Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals did not agree to the switch, forcing the Saints to wear white jerseys for that game.
Starting in week 13 of the 2006 season, the Saints wore white jerseys with black pants and in a Week 16 game in The Meadowlands against the New York Giants (a 30–7 Saints win), the Saints wore the black pants with their road white jerseys. The Saints later stuck with that combo in the NFC Championship in Chicago.
The Saints wore white jerseys for their first four home games of 2008. Three of the four games the white jerseys with black pants combination were worn at home, while the white jerseys with gold pants combination were worn for the first of those four games. The Saints chose to wear the all-black combination for the October 26 game at Wembley Stadium in London vs. the San Diego Chargers, in which New Orleans was the designated home team. They also wore black jerseys with black pants for the rest of their home games at the Superdome following the game at London.
The Saints wore their white jerseys at home for the first three home games of 2009., with the gold pants combination. They wore the all-black combo the last two home games. For its run through the 2009 playoffs, the team wore the gold pants. The Saints wore the white jerseys/black pants combination only once in 2009, the November 15 game vs. the St. Louis Rams.
Again, the 1967 style throwback was worn in a 40-33 win on September 25, 2011 against the Houston Texans.
- Main article: Falcons–Saints rivalry
The Saints' oldest and most important rival is the Atlanta Falcons. The two clubs joined the NFL within a year of each other as expansion teams and have been pitted against one another in the NFC West and later the NFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Battle of the Gulf Coast)Edit
The Saints also have a developing rivalry with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which have been part of the NFC South with the Saints since 2002.
The teams actually played each other quite often as non-division rivals. Between 1977–2001, there were only five years in which the teams did not play. This includes 12 years in a row from 1981–92 – all as a result of the scheduling formulas in place prior to 2002 (this remains a record for most consecutive years in which two teams not from the same division met each other).
The Saints won 13 of 20 games as non-division opponents. Since becoming division rivals the series has been even, with 9 games each won by both New Orleans and Tampa Bay.
One notable pre-division game is a 1977 matchup that resulted in Tampa Bay's first win in franchise history after previously starting out 0–26 overall.
- Main article: List of New Orleans Saints seasons
Record vs. opponentsEdit
(As of Week 3 of the 2011 NFL season. Includes postseason records.)
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties
|Team||W||L||T||Percent||Last result||Last date||Last locale|| Postseason
* Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints were designated the visiting team for this game.
** The Saints were designated the home team for this game.
Saints career recordsEdit
Pro Bowl PlayersEdit
The following Saints players have been named to the Pro bowl:
Super Bowl MVPsEdit
Pro Football Hall of FamersEdit
Until the selection of Rickey Jackson in 2010, there had been no players in the Hall of Fame whose time with the Saints contributed to their selection; the others were chosen for their work with previous teams. However, Jim Finks's tenure as Saints general manager was a significant factor in his selection.
Notably, Archie Manning's number 8 jersey has never been assigned to any other Saints player, but is not officially retired.
New Orleans Saints Hall of FameEdit
The Saints Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization created by and for fans of the team to protect, preserve, promote and present the history of the franchise. The Saints Hall of Fame is located at 415 Williams Boulevard in the Rivertown section of Kenner. Open from 9 am-5 pm Tuesday through Saturday, the Hall of Fame features exhibits and memorabilia covering the entire history of the Saints from their formation through the current season. Due to building damage received during Hurricane Katrina the Hall of Fame is temporarily located at Gate B in the New Orleans Superdome and can be visited for free at every Saints home game. Fans can view videotapes on Saints history and the Saints Hall of Famers as well participate in interactive exhibits throughout the Hall. The facility, which originally opened on July 16, 1988, was expanded to twice its original size in January 2004. Busts and paintings of each of the inductees along with their career highlights are one of the focal points of the museum, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the Saints franchise. New Orleans and Green Bay are the only two NFL franchises with a team Hall of Fame facility.
New Orleans Saints All-Time teamEdit
The Saints Hall of Fame selection committee met recently and selected the franchise’s all-time team as the club heads into its 45th year of competition (2011). The committee, currently composed of 19 prominent members of the local media – representing print, television and radio – chooses a Saints all-time team every five years. The current edition features all eras of Saints history, with 19 of the 29 honorees being named as unanimous selections.
The following is the list of the All-Time Saints team, along with their years of service to the Saints:
*unanimous selection Template:EndMultiCol
Joe Gemelli "Fleur-De-Lis" AwardEdit
New Orleans Saints head coachesEdit
Radio and televisionEdit
The Saints' flagship station is WWL 870AM (FM Simulcast on WWL 105.3FM), one of the oldest radio stations in the city of New Orleans and one of the nation's most powerful as a clear-channel station with 50,000 watts of power. Jim Henderson and Hokie Gajan form the broadcast team. Most preseason games are televised on Cox Sports Television and WVUE (Channel 8), a station which has been owned by a consortium led by Saints owner Tom Benson since mid-2008, and, as the Fox affiliate for New Orleans, carries the majority of Saints games. Tim Brando and Solomon Wilcots call the preseason action.