New Orleans SaintsBorn as an expansion franchise in 1967, the New Orleans Saints navigated the choppy waters of the National Football League (NFL). This American professional football team was no stranger to struggle, recording a string of losses in their first 14 games. Their home base, the Louisiana Superdome, witnessed this extended period of ineffectiveness, earning the team an affectionate moniker – “the ‘Aints.”
Emerging from the ShadowsHowever, it wasn’t all gloom and doom. Two figures shone in those early years. The first was Archie Manning, the beloved quarterback from 1971 to 1982 and father to future NFL stars Peyton and Eli. The second was Tom Dempsey, who, in 1970, made NFL history with a 63-yard game-winning field goal.
On the Path to Victory1987 marked a turning point for the Saints. Powered by quarterback Bobby Hebert and linebackers Rickey Jackson and Sam Mills, the team ended with a 12-3 record and secured their first playoff berth. While they tasted defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings, the Saints were on the rise, clinching a series of playoff berths and first-round postseason losses in the following years.
The Rise of the SaintsThe turn of the millennium brought fresh air for the Saints. The Saints returned to the playoffs in 2006, led by quarterback Drew Brees. Their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles and their first NFC championship game appearance made headlines nationwide, particularly due to the recent adversities faced due to Hurricane Katrina.
Crowning GloryThe year 2009 saw the Saints making their first Super Bowl appearance, defeating the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. However, the team’s winning momentum met a roadblock with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the opening round of the playoffs the following year.
Bounty Scandal and Beyond2012 brought an NFL announcement that took the football world by storm. A bounty program run by the Saints’ coaching staff led to hefty penalties for the team. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire season, and the team was fined $500,000, with two second-round draft picks stripped away. Despite a rocky season without Payton, the Saints made a comeback in 2013 with a playoff berth and 11 victories.
The New EraDespite three consecutive 7-9 records from 2014 to 2016, the Saints didn’t lose their spark. An influx of rookies in 2017 propelled the team to clinch the division title and win 11 games. The 2018 season saw them secure the top seed in the NFC playoffs, but the season ended on a sour note due to a missed penalty call. Despite a home playoff upset by the Vikings in 2019, the Saints tied for the best record in the NFC with 13-3.
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