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This Week in Saints History: January 9-15

L to R: John Mecom, Jr., Pete Rozelle and Dave DixonL to R: John Mecom, Jr., Pete Rozelle and Dave Dixon

January 9th

1967—New Orleans new NFL franchise is officially nicknamed SAINTS. The name was inspired by local promoter Dave Dixon's love for the song "When the Saints Go Marching In" which Dixon felt was the perfect anthem for both the city of New Orleans and the pro team representing it. The song earned national fame in 1938 when New Orleans native Louis Armstrong recorded it for Decca Records at their New York studio.

January 10th

2006—Rita Benson Leblanc is promoted to Saints Owner/Executive Vice-President of Administration.

2012—Vince Gibson passes away at the age of 78. While he was known in New Orleans for his time as head coach at Tulane University, in Saints history he served as color analyst for the 1996 pre-season on the team's radio network.

Today's birthdays:

Jake Delhomme—Born in 1975 (QB 1997-2002)—won his first NFL start over Dallas on Christmas Eve, 31-24. The fan favorite from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana later led the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance.

Travis Davis—Born in 1973 (Safety 1995)

John Owens—Born in 1980 (Tight end 2006)

Courtney Roby—Born in 1983 (Wide receiver/kick returner 2008-present) Member of Superbowl 44 team

Hollis Thomas—Born in 1974 (Defensive tackle 2006-08)

Dwight Walker—Born in 1959 (Wide receiver 1987 strike replacement player from Nicholls State.)

January 11th

1965— We will throw in relevant pro football history in this column from both before and during the Saints' existence. A total of 21 African-American football players scheduled to play in the following Saturday's American Football League All-Star Game in Tulane Stadium decided to boycott after several taxi cabs and French Quarter clubs would not allow them access. AFL Commissioner Joe Foss agreed with their complaints and moved the game to Houston, Texas. The AFL owners decided to cancel their scheduled meetings in New Orleans for the following Wednesday as well. Fortunately, the embarrassing incident did not end up costing the city a pro football franchise.

Vikings QB Joe Kapp was harried constantly by the athletic, relentless Chiefs defense in Super Bowl IV.Vikings QB Joe Kapp was harried constantly by the athletic, relentless Chiefs defense in Super Bowl IV.

1970—Super Bowl IV is played at Tulane Stadium and broadcast on CBS-TV. The Kansas City Chiefs, led by future Saints coach Hank Stram, defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 23-7. It was the last game for the AFL as a pure league before it completely merged with the NFL. It was also the first time in major pro football history that a team with a majority of African-American starters won a definitive pro football championship. Chiefs QB Len Dawson is named game MVP.

Today's birthdays:

Don Coleman—Born in 1952 (Linebacker 1974-75)

Reginald Jones—Born in 1969 (Cornerback 1991-94)

Willie Shaw—Born in 1944 (Defensive backs coach 1997)

Jim Thaxton—Born in 1949 (Tight End 1976-77)

John Watson--Born in 1949 (Tackle 1977-79)

January 12th

#1965—One day after the AFL All-Stars boycott the All-Star Game at Tulane Stadium, local promoter Dave Dixon releases a statement which included the following: "To accept the actions of Sunday as a death warrant to our efforts is, in effect, to accept defeat of New Orleans which we will not do." His words would prove valid in the long run.

1975—Super Bowl IX is held at Tulane Stadium on NBC-TV. Game was originally scheduled for the Superdome but the building was not completed in time. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6, for the first Super Bowl of four for the franchise in the decade. Steelers RB Franco Harris is named game MVP.

1996—Bill Kuharich is promoted to Saints vice president/general manager.

2009—Pete Carmichael, Jr. is named Saints offensive coordinator. Aaron Kromer was named offensive line coach/running game, Bret Ingalls named running backs coach, and Joe Lombardi named quarterback coach.

2010—Drew Brees named The Sporting News NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

Today's birthdays:

Ray Brown—Born in 1949 (Safety 1978-80)

Vince Buck—Born in 1968 (Cornerback/Safety 1990-95)

Tom Dempsey—Born in 1947 (Kicker 1969-70), he is known for his record 63-yard field goal kicked (11/8/1970) against the Lions to secure a 19-17 home win. He is also a Saints Hall of Famer

John Douglas—Born in 1945 (Cornerback 1967-68), he was an original Saints player

Howard Green—Born in 1979 (Defensive tackle 2003-04)

Ken Kaplan—Born in 1960 (Tackle 1987 strike replacement player)

January 13th

Johnnie Poe (25) mades a leaping interception during a playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings in what was his final game with the New Orleans Saints.Johnnie Poe (25) mades a leaping interception during a playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings in what was his final game with the New Orleans Saints.

1988—Saints CB Johnnie Poe is released. He played in New Orleans from 1981-88 and was the first player cut following the franchise's first-ever winning season. He started most games from 1981-86 and had 17 interceptions including seven in 1983 where he was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

1995—Linebackers coach Vic Fangio steps down to become Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator under their head coach Dom Capers, a former Saints defensive backs coach.

2007—After earning their first-ever first-round bye, the Saints defeated the Eagles in the Superdome, 27-24 in the NFC Divisional playoff round. It was the Saints' second overall playoff win in their seventh playoff game.

A Drew Brees fumbled exchange with Reggie Bush gave Eagles ball with 3:24 to go. Philladelphia initially appeared to have converted a 4th and 10 from their own 44-yard line but a false start nullified the play. The Eagles punted, leaving the Saints to need just one first down to run out the clock. RB Deuce McAllister surged forward on a third down run to move the chains and lock up the victory.

Saints kicker John Carney made a pair of field goals. Bush had a rushing touchdown while McAllister racked up 143 yards plus a pair of touchdowns (one run and one catch). TE Billy Miller hauled in 64 yards through the air. The Saints dominated in first downs, 27-14.

The Eagles defense had three sacks while Pro Bowl RB Brian Westbrook scored on a pair of runs (one 62 yards long) and totaled 116 yards.

Saints WR Donte Stallworth had 100 yards including a 75-yard touchdown catch.

Today's birthdays:

Russell Erxleben—Born in 1957 (Kicker/Punter 1979-83)—first round pick in '79

Dave Lafary—Born in 1955 (Tackle 1977-85)

Brett Maxie—Born in 1962 (Cornerback/Safety 1985-93)

Jerome Murphy—Born in 1987 (Cornerback 2012)

January 14th

1986—Jim Finks is named Saints General Manager, a key moment that led to the first winning seasons in Saints history.

Vernon Davis hauled in a 14-yard touchdown catch that ended Saints Super Bowl dreams in January 2012.Vernon Davis hauled in a 14-yard touchdown catch that ended Saints Super Bowl dreams in January 2012.

2012—The Saints 2011 season ends in a 36-32 loss at San Francisco in a divisional playoff contest. Five turnovers (two INTs and three fumbles lost) cost the Saints dearly but they still had a chance to win. Four lead changes in the last five minutes of the game led to heartbreak for New Orleans:

  • 4:11 to go—Saints QB Drew Brees hits RB Darren Sproles on a 44-yard TD catch
  • 2:18 to go—49ers QB Alex Smith scores on a 28-yard TD run
  • 1:48 to go—Brees to TE Jimmy Graham on a 66-yard TD catch (2 pt. conv. To Sproles)
  • :40 to go—Smith to TE Vernon Davis for 47 yards to Saints 20-yard line
  • :14 to go—Smith to Davis 14-yard TD catch to seal win.

San Francisco kicker David Akers made three field goals while QB Alex Smith had three touchdown passes and the one scoring run. Vernon Davis had a pair of touchdown catches and 180 yards receiving. The defense for the Niners had three sacks while Saints defense had two forced fumbles and four sacks.

Drew Brees was 40-for-63 for 462 yards as the Saints set a club precedent in both regular or post-season play with three 100-yard receivers in the game (WR Marques Colston-136 & 1 TD catch, RB Darren Sproles-118 & 1 TD catch, TE Jimmy Graham-103 & 2 TD catches).

Today's birthdays:

Tyrone Hughes—Born in 1970 (Return Man/Cornerback 1993-96), the New Orleans native holds many Saints and NFL records for kickoff & punt returns (total returns and yardage).

Mike Kelly—Born in 1948 (Tight end 1973)

Gary Lewis—Born in 1961 (Nose Tackle 1983)

Artie Owens—Born in 1953 (Wide receiver 1980)

Mike Stonebreaker—Born in 1967 (Linebacker 1994), his father Steve played for the Saints in 1967-68 to form second father-son player combination in Saints history

*Tim Wilson—Born in 1955 (Fullback 1983-84)—Passed away November 23, 1996

January 15th

1978—Super Bowl XII is held in the Louisiana Superdome marking the first time the facility hosted the big game. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Denver Broncos, 27-10. For the only time in game history, there are co-MVPs: Dallas DE Harvey Martin & DT Randy White.

2009—Gregg Williams is named Saints defensive coordinator. Head Coach Sean Payton agreed to have part of his salary go towards the contract for Williams.

Deuce McAllister is one of the best and most beloved players in New Orleans Saints history.Deuce McAllister is one of the best and most beloved players in New Orleans Saints history.

2010—RB Deuce McAllister was re-signed to the Saints active roster a day before the Saints second-round playoff game versus the Cardinals. Some felt head coach Sean Payton did so out of both loyalty to Deuce and to help rally the fans leading into the game. McAllister wound up being placed on the inactive list for the contest but led the team out of the field pregame.

Today's birthdays:

Drew Brees—Born in 1979 (Quarterback 2006-present)—the future Pro Football and Saints Hall of Fame inductee helped lead Saints to victory in Super Bowl to cap the 2009 season.

Steve Korte—Born in 1960 (Center 1983-90), the Arkansas product was one of very few Saints offensive linemen to score a touchdown in his career here ('83 versus the Rams)

Turk Schonert—Born in 1957 (assistant coach 2005)

 

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