New Orleans Saints
|New Orleans Saints|
Play in Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, Louisiana
Headquartered in Metairie, Louisiana
|Team colors||Black, Old gold, White
|Fight song||"When the Saints Go Marching In"|
|Mascot||Gumbo the dog and Sir Saint|
|Owner(s)||Tom Benson and Rita Benson LeBlanc|
|General manager||Mickey Loomis|
|Head coach||Sean Payton|
|Black and Gold, The Who Dats Boys, The Bless You Boys, The Cajun Kids, The Beasts of The Bayou, the Simon Templars|
|League championships (1)|
|Conference championships (1)
|Division championships (5)
|Playoff appearances (9)|
The New Orleans Saints are an American professional football franchise based in New Orleans, Louisiana. They are currently members of the Southern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The team was founded by John W. Mecom, Jr. and David Dixon and the city of New Orleans. The Saints began play at Tulane Stadium in 1967.
The name "Saints" is an allusion to November 1 being All Saints Day in the Catholic faith, New Orleans' large Catholic population, and the spiritual When the Saints Go Marching In, which is strongly associated with New Orleans. The team's primary colors are old gold and black; their logo is a simplified fleur-de-lis. They played their home games in Tulane Stadium through the 1974 NFL season. The following year, they moved to the new Louisiana Superdome (now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, since Mercedes-Benz has purchased the stadium's naming rights through the 2021 NFL season).
For most of their first 20 years, the Saints were barely competitive, only getting to .500 twice. In 1987, they finished 12-3 (their first-ever winning season) and made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but lost to the Minnesota Vikings 44-10. The next season of 1988 would end with a 10-6 record, proving that the Saints were a competitive team, and that 1987 was not a fluke. The Saints defeated the St. Louis Rams 31-28 in 2000 to notch their first-ever playoff win.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and, indeed, much of the Gulf Coast region. The Superdome was used as an emergency temporary shelter for displaced residents. The stadium suffered damage from the hurricane (notably from flooding and part of the roof being torn off as well as internal damage), and from lack of available facilities. The Saints were forced to play their first scheduled home game against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (the Giants' home stadium); other home games were rescheduled at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas or Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During the season, it was rumored that Saints owner Tom Benson might deem the Superdome unusable and seek to legally void his contract and relocate the team to San Antonio, where he has business interests. Ultimately, however, the Superdome was repaired and renovated in time for the 2006 season at an estimated cost of $185 million. The New Orleans Saints' first post-Katrina home game was an emotionally-charged Monday Night Football game versus their division rival, the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints, under rookie head coach Sean Payton and new quarterback Drew Brees, defeated the Falcons 23-3, and would go on to notch the second playoff win in franchise history.
The 2009 season was a historic one for the Saints. Winning a franchise-record 13 games, they qualified for Super Bowl XLIV and defeated the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts 31-17. To date, it is the only Super Bowl Championship that they have won, and as it is the only Super Bowl the Saints have appeared in, they join the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the only three NFL teams to win their lone Super Bowl appearance.
First the brainchild of local sports entrepreneur Dave Dixon, who also founded the Louisiana Superdome and the USFL, the Saints were actually secretly born in a backroom deal brought about by Congressman Hale Boggs, Senator Russell Long and NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. The NFL needed congressional approval of the proposed AFL-NFL merger. Dixon and a local civic group had been seeking a NFL franchise for over 5 years and had hosted record crowds for NFL exhibition games. To seal the merger, Rozelle arrived in New Orleans within a week, and announced on November 1, 1966 that the NFL officially had awarded the city of New Orleans an NFL franchise. The team was named for the great jazz song most identified with New Orleans – "When the Saints Go Marching In", and it was no coincidence that the franchise's official birth was announced on November 1, which is the Catholic All Saints' Day. When the deal was reached a week earlier, Dixon strongly suggested to Rozelle that the announcement be delayed until then. Dixon told an interviewer that he even cleared the name with New Orleans' Archbishop Philip M. Hannan: "He thought it would be a good idea. He had an idea the team was going to need all the help it could get." 
Boggs' Congressional committee in turn quickly approved the NFL merger. John W. Mecom, Jr., a young oilman from Houston, became the team's first majority stockholder. The team's colors, black and gold, symbolized both Mecom's and New Orleans' strong ties to the oil. Trumpeter Al Hirt was part owner of the team, and his rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" was made the official fight song.
That first season started with a 94 yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown by John Gilliam (No other team in NFL history has ever returned a kickoff for a touchdown on its first attempt as a new franchise), but the Saints lost that game 27–13 to the Los Angeles Rams at Tulane Stadium. It was one of the few highlights of a season that ultimately saw the Saints finish 3–11, which set an NFL record for most wins by an expansion team.
For most of their first 20 years, the Saints were the definition of NFL futility. They would not finish as high as second in their division until 1979. The 1979 and 1983 teams were the only ones to even finish at .500 until 1987.
One of the franchise's early bright moments came on November 8, 1970, when Tom Dempsey kicked an NFL record-breaking 63-yard field goal to defeat the Detroit Lions by a score of 19–17 in the final seconds of the game. After standing unmatched for 28 years, this record has been equaled by Jason Elam in 1998, Sebastian Janikowski in 2011, and David Akers in 2012, but has yet to be broken.
In 1980, the Saints lost their first 14 games, prompting local sportscaster Bernard "Buddy D" Diliberto to advise Saints supporters to wear paper bags over their heads at the team's home games; many bags rendered the club's name as the "'Aints" rather than the "Saints."
The Jim Mora era
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 1991, 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. His 93 wins are still a franchise record, and are three more than the Saints won in their entire history prior to his arrival.
The Mike Ditka era
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 era
Jim Haslett held the post from 2000 to 2005. In his first year, he took the team to the 2000 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 Katrina
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 Payton era
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." The game is remembered by Saints fans for Steve Gleason's blocked punt on the opening series that resulted in a touchdown for New Orleans.
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 beat the Dallas Cowboys 23-7 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.
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.
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.
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 14, going on to end the season with a 3-game losing streak (Saints became the first team to win a Super Bowl after losing its last three regular season games).
Although its opponents would include winners of 9 of the last 15 NFL MVP awards, the team advanced to the 2010 NFC Championship game where they defeated the Minnesota Vikings, led by Brett Favre, 31–28 in overtime (at 9:19 CST), earning their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Television ratings for Super Bowl XLIV (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
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 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 had made 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 began their season with a loss against the Green Bay Packers, but the team rebounded for the next four weeks to bring their record to 4-1. A loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought the record to 4-2, but the team bounced back with a blowout win against the struggling Indianapolis Colts. A surprise loss to the St. Louis Rams resulted in the record dropping to 5-3. In the next seven weeks the Saints beat talented teams such as the eventual Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants, Detroit Lions, and Atlanta Falcons, bringing their season record to 12-3. To cap off the season, quarterback Drew Brees broke the single season passing record held for over 25 years, on the way to a Saints division winning game. The Saints won the NFC South title on December 26 and ended the 2011 season as the 3rd Seed in the NFC. They finished with a 13-3 record, beating Carolina 45-17 and also giving running back Darren Sproles the record for most all-purpose yards in a single season. New Orleans Saints beat the Detroit Lions in the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game 45-28. New Orleans also tied the NFL's postseason mark for team first downs in a game (34), and broke the record for total yards with 626, eclipsing the yardage record set 49 years ago. The Saints lost Saturday, January 14, 2012 in the Divisional round in the playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers in Candlestick Park.
After an offseason dominated by news of the so-called bounty scandal and the year-long suspension of head coach Sean Payton, the Saints sought to refocus on football and produce yet another winning year. Instead, the team, lead by offensive line coach Aaron Kromer for its first six games, started the season with four straight losses and a last place spot in the NFC South. The team finally broke through with a win in Week 5, against the San Diego Chargers, a game that also saw quarterback Drew Brees break Johnny Unitas's longstanding record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. After their scheduled bye, the Saints went on to win 4 of their next 5 games, to bring their record to an even 5-5. Joe Vitt returned after his six-game suspension to serve as interim head coach for the rest of the season. The team failed to hold its momentum, however, and lost the next three games, including a loss at Atlanta that also marked the end of Brees' record touchdown streak after 54 games, and a 52-27 blowout loss to the Giants that dropped the Saints to 5-8. Despite winning 2 of their last 3 games, and Brees again leading the league with 5,177 passing yards (his third time to surpass 5,000 yards, as he remained the only quarterback to break that barrier more than once), the team finished tied for last in the NFC South, at 7-9.
The Saints' 2013 season will begin on September 8, 2013.
2009-2011 Bounty Scandal
After a lengthy investigation conducted by the National Football League's security department, the league alleged on March 2, 2012 that 22 to 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints maintained a "pay for performance" program that included "bounty" payments administered by then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated, "The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for 'performance,' but also for injuring opposing players." The report also found that head coach Sean Payton was aware of the allegations but failed to stop the program. The league also said that Mickey Loomis, the Saints' general manager, was directed to end the program by owner Tom Benson, but didn't. The memo released to NFL teams found Payton and Loomis guilty of "conduct detrimental" to the league.
On March 3, 2012, Benson addressed the bounty payments controversy on the Saints' website, stating, "I have been made aware of the NFL’s findings relative to the “Bounty Rule” and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."
On March 21, 2012, Commissioner Goodell announced that, as a result of the bounty scandal and the NFL's investigation, Sean Payton has been suspended for one year, Gregg Williams indefinitely, and Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular season games. The team was also fined $500,000 and docked second round draft picks in 2012 and 2013. Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt also was suspended six games and fined $100,000. Payton's suspension started on April 1, 2012, and all the suspensions are without pay. Goodell will meet with Williams again after the 2012 season to determine the coach's status.
On May 2, 2012 it was announced that four players who played for the team between 2009 and 2011 would receive suspensions for their alleged participation in "Bountygate": Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma (16 games), Saints defensive lineman Will Smith (4 games), former Saints/retired linebacker Scott Fujita (3 games), and former Saints/current Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (8 games).
Most of the players who were the targets of questionable hits by the Saints, including Favre and Warner, claimed the bounties were merely part of the game. However, several former players interviewed by Sports Illustrated said that while payments for good hits and sacks were indeed considered part of the game, bounties for intentionally injuring opponents violated an unwritten code.
However on July 26, 2012 Jonathan Vilma and seven witnesses from the Saints testified in front of a federal judge in New Orleans that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell got his facts wrong in the bounty scandal."Everybody was sworn in under oath in front of a judge with the risk of perjury and jail time if we were lying, and categorically denied there was a bounty," Vilma said in a text message to ESPN's Ed Werder. "Seven people testified, 2 sworn affidavits (one by Drew Brees) all saying the same thing. I ask that you and ESPN report the facts. No more bias or b.s. or hearsay. I gave you facts that you can report if so choose." 
Tulane University Sports Law Program Director Gabe Feldman (who attended the hearing in court) said, "Clearly the judge, by her questions, indicated she thinks Goodell overstepped his authority, and this case was always going to be about if he executed his power fairly... The NFL's retort is that with all due deference, you don't get to second guess (commissioner Roger Goodell). Judges only have limited jurisdiction over arbitration issues." 
Saints All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees made a controversial tweet on June 20, 2012 stating, "If NFL fans were told there were "weapons of mass destruction" enough times, they'd believe it. But what happens when you don't find any????" Brees immediately issued another statement to clarify, "My WMD comment has nothing to do with politics or our brave military. Merely an analogy to show how media influences public perception." He went on to say, "I apologize if the WMD comment offended anyone. Especially our military. There is no one I respect more than our service men and women." 
Logos and uniforms
Black, along with old gold and white, has always been one of the team colors, but it wasn't the first choice of original majority owner John W. Mecom, Jr. His preference was for Mecom Blue, a medium shade which was used by all of his other investments. After the league office informed him that his proposed combination too closely resembled that worn by the San Diego Chargers, he settled on black as the primary color as a nod to his financial involvement in the petroleum industry. "Black gold" is a term synonymous with oil.
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 Mecom 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 PolyTurf 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 (54 °C). 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 to the black jerseys and white pants for 1983. They reverted 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 as of 2007[update]), 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.
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; the Saints were outscored 78-10 in the final two contests to end a 7-9 campaign.
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, complete with an accurate 1967-era helmet which featured a larger fleur-de-lis, a darker shade of gold and grey facemasks. But one season later, they stopped using the alternates and again reverted 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. From 2003 through 2008, the New England Patriots had 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 and also on November 6, 2011 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 27-16 Saints win. However, the 2011 throwbacks use the current-helmet, meaning the shades of gold on the helmet and jersey do not match.
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 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 black pants with the black jerseys against the San Francisco 49ers, 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 the black pants in their 2006 playoff run.
Since 2008, the Saints have worn white jerseys at home for preseason games and early regular season home games.
The Saints' oldest and most storied 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)
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 10 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 coming against New Orleans after previously starting out 0–26 overall.
The Saints and the Carolina Panthers have been minor rivals since Carolina was introduced into the NFC West as an expansion franchise in 1995. Both teams would realign to the NFC South in 2002. This series has been extremely close. As of the end of the 2012 regular season Carolina leads 19-17.
Carolina defeated New Orleans on the road every year from 2002 to 2008, a streak of seven seasons. Notable games include Carolina's 19-7 home victory in 1996 that sparked Saints head coach Jim Mora's infamous "Diddley Poo" rant and resignation from the team, Carolina's 10-6 win in the 2002 season finale at the Superdome to knock the Saints out of the playoffs, and the emotional 2005 season opener at Carolina where the Saints won 23-20 in the face of Hurricane Katrina and an eventual 3-13 season.
The New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys rivalry in most part is fueled by hatred by Saints' fans for the Dallas Cowboys (The New Orleans Saints are not commonly listed among teams viewed as rivals by the Dallas Cowboys or their fans). Both teams have played each other 25 times, with New Orleans owning the recent series winning 7 out of the last 8 games. The Saints have won the last 4 meetings in Dallas, including a 2-0 record at Cowboys Stadium. The all-time series record stands at 10-15, in favor of Dallas.
The most common postseason rival for the Saints are the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints and the Vikings have played each other three times in the postseason, with the most recent being the 2009 NFC Championship Game. Although the Vikings have dominated the overall series, the Saints have won the last three including the 2009 NFC Championship Game.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers were division rivals with the Saints up until realignment in 2002 when the Saints moved to the NFC South. The 49ers dominated the rivalry when the Saints played in the NFC West, but the Saints have held the upper hand since realignment winning the first six game since moving to the NFC South. The teams met most recently in the divisional round of the 2011 playoffs, with the 49ers winning 36-32 in an exciting game that saw four lead changes in the last four minutes of the game. The Saints trail the all-time series 24-46-2 which includes 0-1 in the postseason.
Record vs. opponents
(As of Week 17 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|
|Houston Texans||2||1||0||.667||W 40–33||September 25, 2011||New Orleans, LA|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||3||2||0||.600||W 23–10||October 2, 2011||Jacksonville, FL|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24||18||0||.560||W 41-0||December 16, 2012||New Orleans, LA|
|Detroit Lions||11||9||1||.547||W 45-28||January 7, 2012||New Orleans, LA||1-0 postseason|
|Buffalo Bills||5||4||0||.556||W 27–7||September 27, 2009||Orchard Park, NY|
|Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts||6||5||0||.545||W 62–7||October 23, 2011||New Orleans, LA||1–0 postseason|
|New York Jets||6||5||0||.545||W 24–10||October 4, 2009||New Orleans, LA|
|Seattle Seahawks||6||5||0||.545||L 36–41||January 8, 2011||Seattle, WA||0–1 postseason|
|Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders||6||5||1||.542||W 38–17||November 18, 2012||Oakland, CA|
|Kansas City Chiefs||5||5||0||.500||L 24-27 OT||September 23, 2012||New Orleans, LA|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||7||7||0||.500||W 20–10||October 31, 2010||New Orleans, LA|
|Cincinnati Bengals||6||6||0||.500||W 34–30||December 5, 2010||Cincinnati, OH|
|Carolina Panthers||17||19||0||.485||L 38-44||December 30, 2012||New Orleans, LA|
|Chicago Bears||12||13||0||.480||W 30–13||September 18, 2011||New Orleans, LA||0–2 postseason|
|St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals||12||14||0||.462||L 20–30||October 10, 2010||Glendale, AZ||1–0 postseason;|
|New York Giants||12||15||0||.462||L 27–51||December 9, 2012||East Rutherford, NJ|
|Atlanta Falcons||41||47||0||.461||L 13-23||November 29, 2012||New Orleans, LA||0–1 postseason|
|Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams||31||39||0||.443||L 21-31||October 30, 2011||St. Louis, MO||1–0 postseason|
|Tennessee Titans||5||7||1||.423||W 22–17||December 11, 2011||Nashville, TN|
|Philadelphia Eagles||11||15||0||.423||W 28-13||November 5, 2012||New Orleans, LA||1–1 postseason|
|Miami Dolphins||4||6||0||.400||W 46–34||October 25, 2009||Miami Gardens, FL|
|Dallas Cowboys||10||15||0||.400||W 34–31 OT||December 23, 2012||Arlington, TX|
|San Diego Chargers||4||7||0||.364||W 31–24||October 7, 2012||New Orleans, LA|
|San Francisco 49ers||24||46||2||.333||L 31–21||November 25, 2012||New Orleans, LA||0-1 postseason|
|Washington Redskins||8||16||0||.333||L 32-40||September 9, 2012||New Orleans, LA|
|Green Bay Packers||7||16||0||.304||L 27-28||September 30, 2012||Green Bay, WI|
|New England Patriots||4||8||0||.333||W 38–17||November 30, 2009||New Orleans, LA|
|Minnesota Vikings||9||18||0||.333||W 42–20||December 18, 2011||Minneapolis, MN||1–2 postseason|
|Cleveland Browns||4||12||0||.250||L 17–30||October 24, 2010||New Orleans, LA|
|Denver Broncos||2||8||0||.200||L 34–14||October 28, 2012||Denver, CO|
|Baltimore Ravens||1||4||0||.200||L 30–24||December 19, 2010||Baltimore, MD|
|Total Record Including Playoffs||312||403||5||.434|
** The Saints were designated the home team for this game.
- Passing Yards: 510 Drew Brees (November 19, 2006 vs Cincinnati Bengals)
- Passing Yards Per Attempt: 16.1 Drew Brees (November 30, 2009 vs New England Patriots)
- Passing Touchdowns: 6 Billy Kilmer (November 2, 1969 at St. Louis Cardinals) & Drew Brees (September 13, 2009 vs Detroit Lions)
- Passer Rating: 158.3 Drew Brees (November 30, 2009 vs New England Patriots) Tied NFL Record
- Consecutive Pass Completions: 19 Drew Brees (December 27, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Rushing Yards: 206 George Rogers (September 4, 1983 vs St. Louis Cardinals)
- Rushing Touchdowns: 3 Reggie Bush (December 3, 2006 vs San Francisco 49ers)
- Receiving Catches: 14 Tony Galbreath (September 10, 1978 at Green Bay Packers)
- Receiving Catches, postseason game: 15 Darren Sproles (January 14, 2012 at San Francisco 49ers)
- Receiving Yards: 205 Wes Chandler (September 2, 1979 vs Atlanta Falcons)
- Receiving Touchdowns: 4 Joe Horn (December 14, 2003 vs New York Giants)
- Punt Return Yards: 176 Reggie Bush (October 6, 2008 vs Minnesota Vikings)
- Pass Interceptions, Game: 3 Sammy Knight (September 9, 2001 at Buffalo Bills)
- Longest Interception Return for Touchdown: 99 yards Darren Sharper (October 4, 2009 vs New York Jets)Tied by Patrick Robinson,Nov 6,2012 vs Phladelphia Eagles
- Field Goals, Game: 6 Tom Dempsey (November 16, 1969 at New York Giants)
- Total Touchdowns, Game: 4 Joe Horn (December 14, 2003 vs New York Giants) & Reggie Bush (December 3, 2006 vs San Francisco 49ers)
- Points Scored: 24 Joe Horn (December 14, 2003 vs New York Giants) & Reggie Bush (December 3, 2006 vs San Francisco 49ers)
- Points Scored, Team: 62 vs Indianapolis Colts
- Margin Of Victory: 62–7, October 23, 2011 vs Indianapolis Colts
- Passing Attempts: 670 Drew Brees (2012)
- Passing Completions: 468 Drew Brees (2011) - NFL Record
- Passing Completion Percentage: 71.2 Drew Brees (2011) – NFL Record
- Passing Yards: 5,476 Drew Brees (2011) - NFL Record / All-Time Record
- Passing Touchdowns: 46 Drew Brees (2011)
- Passing Interceptions: 22 Aaron Brooks (2001), Drew Brees (2010)
- Passing Rating: 110.6 Drew Brees (2011)
- Rushing Attempts: 378 George Rogers (1981)
- Rushing Yards: 1,674 George Rogers (1981)
- Rushing Touchdowns: 13 George Rogers (1981), Dalton Hilliard (1989), and Deuce McAllister (2002)
- Receiving Receptions: 99 Jimmy Graham (2011)
- Receiving Yards: 1,399 Joe Horn (2004)
- Receiving Touchdowns: 11 Joe Horn (2004), Marques Colston (2007), Jimmy Graham (2011)
- Quarterback Sacks: 17 Pat Swilling (1991) and La'Roi Glover (2000)
- Pass Interceptions: 10 Dave Whitsell (1967)
- Pass Interception Return Yards: 376 Darren Sharper (2009) – NFL Record
- Pass Interceptions Returned for Touchdowns: 3 Darren Sharper (2009)
- Field Goals Attempts: 41 Tom Dempsey (1969)
- Field Goals Made: 31 Morten Andersen (1985) and John Carney (2002)
- Points: 147 John Kasay (2011)
- Total Touchdowns: 18 Dalton Hilliard (1989)
- Punt Return Yards: 625 Michael Lewis (2002)
- All Purpose Yards: 2,696 Darren Sproles (2011) - NFL Record
- Yards From Scrimmage: 2157 Deuce McAllister (2003)
- Points Scored: 547 (2011)
- Passing Attempts: 4,340 Drew Brees (2006–2012)
- Passing Completions: 2,910 Drew Brees (2006–2012)
- Passing Yards: 33,571 Drew Brees (2006–2012)
- Passing Touchdowns: 244 Drew Brees (2006–2012)
- Passing Rating: 98.2 Drew Brees (2006–2012)
- Passing Interceptions: 156 Archie Manning (1971–1982)
- Rushing Attempts: 1,429 Deuce McAllister (2001–2008)
- Rushing Yards: 6,096 Deuce McAllister (2001–2008)
- Rushing Touchdowns: 49 Deuce McAllister (2001–2008)
- Receiving Catches: 532 Eric Martin (1985–1993) and Marques Colston (2006–2012)
- Receiving Yards: 7,844 Eric Martin (1985–1993)
- Receiving Touchdowns: 58 Marques Colston (2006–2012)
- Quarterback Sacks: 123 Rickey Jackson (1981–1993)
- Pass Interceptions: 37 Dave Waymer (1980–1989)
- Field Goal Attempts: 389 Morten Andersen (1982–1994)
- Field Goals Made: 302 Morten Andersen (1982–1994)
- Extra Points Made: 412 Morten Andersen (1982–1994)
- Points: 1,318 Morten Andersen (1982–1994)
- Total Touchdowns: 58 Marques Colston (2006–2012)
- Pass Interception Return Yards: 621 Tom Myers (1972-1981)
- Pass Interception Returned for Touchdowns: 4 Sammy Knight (1997-2002)
- Punt Return Yards: 1,482 Michael Lewis (2001–2006)
- Kickoff Return Yards: 5,903 Michael Lewis (2001–2006)
- Longest Punt: 81 Tom McNeill (1967-1969)
- Games: 196 Morten Andersen (1982–1994)
Pro Bowl players
The following Saints players have been named to the Pro bowl:
- QB Drew Brees, Archie Manning
- FB Tony Baker
- RB Deuce McAllister, Dalton Hilliard, Rueben Mayes, George Rogers, Chuck Muncie, Andy Livingston
- LT Jammal Brown, William Roaf, Jermon Bushrod
- LG Brad Edelman, Jake Kupp, Carl Nicks
- C LeCharles Bentley, Joel Hilgenberg, Jonathan Goodwin
- RG Jahri Evans, Michael Owen
- RT Jon Stinchcomb
- TE Hoby Brenner, Henry Childs, Jimmy Graham
- WR Joe Horn, Eric Martin, Wes Chandler
- DE Will Smith, Joe Johnson, Wayne Martin, Renaldo Turnbull, Bruce Clark
- DT La'Roi Glover
- LB Jonathan Vilma, Mark Fields, Keith Mitchell, Sam Mills, Vaughan Johnson, Pat Swilling, Rickey Jackson
- CB Tyrone Hughes, Bennie Thompson, Dave Waymer, Dave Whitsell
- SS Roman Harper, Sammy Knight, Tom Myers
- FS Darren Sharper
- K Morten Andersen, Tom Dempsey
- P Mitch Berger, Brian Hansen, Thomas Morstead
Super Bowl MVPs
Pro Football Hall of Famers
- Doug Atkins DE 1967–1969
- Earl Campbell RB 1984–1985
- Jim Finks GM 1986–1993
- Hank Stram Coach 1976–1977
- Jim Taylor FB 1967
- Mike Ditka Coach 1997–1999 (inducted for playing career with Chicago Bears and other teams, 1961–72)
- Tom Fears Coach 1967–1970 (inducted for playing career, 1948–1956)
- Rickey Jackson LB 1981–1993
- Willie Roaf OT 1993-2001
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. When Offensive Tackle Willie Roaf was selected in 2012, he became the second player whose time with the Saints contributed to his selection. Roaf was a member of the NFL's All-Decade team of the 90's.
- 31 Jim Taylor (officially retired, but is assigned to active players)
- 81 Doug Atkins (officially retired, but is assigned to active players)
- 51 Sam Mills (officially retired, but is assigned to active players)
- 57 Rickey Jackson (officially retired, but is assigned to active players)
Notably, Archie Manning's number 8 jersey, and Deuce McAllister's number 26 has not been assigned to any other Saints player, but is not officially retired. When Mark Brunell played for the New Orleans Saints, he wore the number 11, despite usually wearing the number 8.
New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame
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 team
In March 2011, the Saints Hall of Fame selection committee selected the franchise’s all-time team as the club heads into its 45th year of competition (2011). The committee, composed of 19 prominent members of the local media chooses a Saints all-time team every five years. On the 2011 version of the team, 19 of the 29 honorees were unanimous selections.
The following is the list of the All-Time Saints team, along with their years of service to the Saints:
Joe Gemelli "Fleur-De-Lis" Award
Awarded yearly to a person who has contributed to the betterment of the New Orleans Saints organization.
New Orleans Saints head coaches
New Orleans Saints staff
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
Radio and television
The Saints' flagship station is WWL (870 AM/105.3 FM), 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; both stations also carry a heavy complement of coach and player shows. Tim Brando and Solomon Wilcots call the preseason action.
- Mercedes-Benz buys naming rights to New Orleans' Superdome
- Sandomir, Richard (2010-01-26). "Sandomir, Richard. "Congress's Team: Deal for Merger Included Saints," ''The New York Times'', Wednesday, January 27, 2010". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- Mule, Marty (2010-02-08). "Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies". Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- "saintsdoggle: UPDATE: Saints sell out suites for 2007 season; Season ticket wait list 25,000 deep; San Antonio finally giving up?". Saintsdoggle.blogspot.com. 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- Sportsillustrated.cnn.com[dead link]
- Google.com[dead link]
- "Super Bowl XLIV: Why Are the Saints Being Called "America's Team"?". Bleacher Report. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
- "NFL says Saints created 'bounty' program from 2009-2011". nfl.com. 2012-03-02.
- "Statement From Saints Owner Tom Benson". neworleanssaints.com. 2012-03-03.
- "NFL Announces Management Discipline for New Orleans Saints". neworleanssaints.com. 2012-03-21.
- "Four players suspended in NFL bounty scandal". CNN. May 2, 2012.
- Perez, A. J. (2012-03-09). "Bounty issue could be NFL legal problem". Fox Sports.
- Vilma awaits decision|
- title=New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma does not receive restraining order
- Klopman, Michael (June 20, 2012). "NFL Star Apologizes For Controversial 'WMD' Tweet". Huffington Post.
- Langenhennig, Susan. "Power colors: Black and gold are tops on the red carpet – and this season – on synthetic turf," The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), Monday, November 30, 2009.
- "Pro Football Hall of Fame page for Mike Ditka". Profootballhof.com. 1939-10-18. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- "Hall of Famers » WILLIE ROAF". Profootballhof.com. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Saints Hall of Fame Info". New Orleans Saints. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- Brian Allee-Walsh, "Ex-Saints coach Jim Mora says Morten Andersen a shoo-in for Canton, Ohio", Times-Picayune, November 6, 2009.
- "McAllister, Benson, Henderson to be honored by Saints Hall of Fame", WWL-TV, May 18, 2012.
- "Saints Hall of Fame Announces All-Time Saints Team". Neworleanssaints.com. 2011-03-09. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
- James Varney, "New Orleans Saints longtime equipment managers receive Gemelli Award", Times-Picayune, May 25, 2010.
- "Saints Radio Network Stations". New Orleans Saints. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
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