With the Saints going to their first Super Bowl after 43 years in the league (only 2 teams have existed longer without one), what better time to review some of the milestones in Saints history.
1965: The city of New Orleans votes on the name of their upcoming football team.Â The final ballot included “New Orleans Frenchies,” “The Confederate Football Team of New Orleans” and “Noluns Bouyatoufees” (that’s the best written translation of whatever those people were trying to say).Â Not seeing a suitable option, the NFL picked “Saints” out of a hat.
1967: The Saints set the tone for the next 40 years by losing their first game.
1972: QB Archie Manning becomes the best player in Saints history by leading the league in pass completions and games lost.
1979: Local professional basketball team, the Jazz, moves to Utah.Â Left with no other option, New Orleans sports fans immediately turn their support to LSU.
1979: After drafting punter Russell Erxleben with the 11th pick in the draft, coach Dick Nolan was quoted as saying “it’s getting harder and harder to have a white guy as the best player on your team.”
1980: Unsure about their direction, the Saints hold a public raffle to become the next head coach.
1982: The famous “Who Dat” cheer is adopted in reference to the Saints.Â The phrase was popularized by New Orleans residents expressing shock/confusion when they were told they had a professional football team.
1983: Zara’s Super Market in New Orleans launches a successful promotion: Buy $50 worth of groceries, get 4 Saints tickets free (And we’ll throw in a paper bag!).
1985: Local man Tom Benson purchases the Saints for $681,200 and a Chevy Caprice with a full tank of gas.
1985-1996: As part of the NFL’s new campaign to boost fan morale, the Saints are granted their first winning season, first division title and first playoff appearance during the Jim Mora coaching era.
1999: Mike Ditka trades 8 draft picks, 300 lbs of crawfish and $500,000 for Ricky Williams and a 10lb bag of pot.
2002: After achieving success and winning the NFL Executive of the Year award, GM Randy Mueller is promptly fired.
2006: Having had previous success with one-armed quarterback Bobby Herbert, the Saints take a chance signing the injured Drew Brees.