The New Orleans debuted as an NFL team in 1967 and it took quite some time before they achieved even a modest level of success. Over the years though this didn’t stop the team from having some memorable moments and great players including Archie Manning, Earl Campbell, George Rogers, Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills, Pat Swilling, Bobby Hebert, Joe Horn, Deuce McAllister, Drew Brees and Reggie Bush. The Saints have transformed themselves from a perennial cellar dweller team into one of the franchises that consistently has to be worried about by the opposition. Here is a look at five things you probably don’t know about the New Orleans Saints.
1. The first touchdown scored by the New Orleans Saints as a franchise came via a 94 yard opening kickoff return by John Gilliam in their first game in 1967.
2. Due to damage to the Louisiana Superdome because of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints played all of their home games at other sites during the 2005 season. They played four home games at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, three home games at Louisiana State University’s Tiger Stadium, and one home game in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
3. The Saints traded every draft pick they had in 1999 plus a first and third rounder in 2000 for the rights to draft University of Texas running back Ricky Williams.
4. New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey set the record for the longest field goal ever in the NFL when he booted a 63 yard field goal against the Detroit Lions in November of 1970. This kick was made with two seconds left on the clock and won the game by a score of 19-17.
5. The New Orleans Saints were the first NFL team to wear all black uniforms, both pants and jerseys, when they did so in a 2001 road game against the Carolina Panthers.
The New Orleans Saints’ history as the only professional football team the city of New Orleans has ever known has not always been the smoothest and most pleasant. The team is well loved by the locals though, as was more than evident following the one year absence following Hurricane Katrina when they had to play their home games elsewhere. The Saints will continue to be an important part of everything that makes New Orleans special for many years to come.