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This Week in Saints History: August 7-13

Bobby Hebert in his final USFL season, the 1985 campaign with the Oakland Invaders.Bobby Hebert in his final USFL season, the 1985 campaign with the Oakland Invaders.

August 7th

1967—The Walt Roberts Sports Show, a 5-minute Saints-oriented segment hosted by the Saints WR (nicknamed "Flea") debuted on WYLD-AM 940 in New Orleans. It aired Mondays & Saturdays from 6:00-6:05pm during the season. After Roberts was traded in 1968, Saints players Jim Hester and Jim Battle took over his show for the remainder of the 1960s.

1972—Saints opened the pre-season with a 13-10 won at Philadelphia thanks to a final play Toni Linhart field goal.

1976—Saints won their first pre-season game of the year, 13-10, at the Houston Oilers. Saints safety Chuck Crist intercepted a pass late in the game and ran it back to the Oilers 19-yard line that sets up Rich Szaro's winning 30 yard field goal with nine seconds left.

1982—Former Saints defensive end Doug Atkins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; he played in New Orleans from 1967-69 but earned most of his credentials with the Chicago Bears (rookie with Cleveland Browns).

1985—Saints signed QB Bobby Hebert, formerly of Northwestern State and the USFL. The Cut Off, LA native received a $1.3 million signing bonus, a then-NFL record. His five-year contract was valued at $2.25 million.

1988—Saints opened their pre-season with a 23-20 won at the Minnesota Vikings. Saints Morten Andersen kicks the winning 36-yard field goal on last play of the game.

1993—Saints defeat the Houston Oilers 37-28 in pre-season contest in San Antonio, Texas.

1994—The Hey Buddy D television show debuted on WNOL, hosted by Buddy Diliberto. He gave commentary along with presentation of highlights from the previous Saints game along with a bit of comedy thrown. The show ran for two years on Sunday nights (9pm '94, 10pm '95). Show reporters included Vince Marinello, Ken Trahan, Charlie Minn, Steven Tyler and Jim Rumsfeld.

1997—Saints broke training camp in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

2002—Head coach Jim Haslett signed to a contract extension through 2006.

2008—Saints opened the pre-season with a 24-10 won at the Arizona Cardinals in a ESPN national broadcast.

2010—Long-time Saints LB Rickey Jackson was formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He spent 13 years with the Saints (1981-93) and held many defensive records as well as recognized as a team leader. He finished his career second all-time in NFL history for number of opponents fumbles recovered.

Today's birthdays:

Dom Capers—Born in 1950 (Defensive Backs Coach 1986-91)

John Gilliam—Born in 1945 (Wide Receiver/Kick Returner 1967-68, 1977), he was part of original team and well remembered for running the Saints first-ever regular season touch of the ball back for a 94-yard touchdown on a kickoff return (Sept. 17, 1967 vs the Rams).

August 8th

1961—Louisiana Professional Sports Inc. told the Times-Picayune's Bob Roesler that they would not stage an NFL exhibition contest at City Park Stadium because of pressure by an African-American organization over the segregated seating arrangements at the venue.

1964—The first of two exhibition games in New Orleans that year was played as the St. Louis Cardinals upset the Green Bay Packers, 20-7, in a pre-season contest at Tulane Stadium before over 60,000 fans. LSU product Jerry Stovall had an INT and managed a 41.8 yard punting average for the Cardinals. Jim Bakken made two field goals and safety Pat Fischer had a 76-yard INT return for a score.

The day of his induction ceremony in Canton went well in all respects for Tom Fears, the first Saints head coach.The day of his induction ceremony in Canton went well in all respects for Tom Fears, the first Saints head coach.

1970—Saints head coach Tom Fears was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio for his years as a Rams receiver in the 1950s. Later that day, his Saints beat the Vikings in what the Times-Picayune called the most exciting Hall of Fame game ever played, 14-13. Only 10 veteran players played due to limited preparation caused by an owners lockout. Saints safety Doug Wyatt ran 50 yards on a fumble by Vikings RB George Kemp to score the winning touchdown with four seconds left.

1971—The Saints & J.D. television show debuted on WDSU-TV with coach J.D. Roberts and host Wayne Mack. The show ran on Sunday nights in August and Tuesday nights at 9:30pm for the rest of the season. In 1972, the show moved to Saturday nights at 10:15pm.

1979—Saints DT Elex Price agreed to re-sign a four-year deal.

1981—Saints won their pre-season opener 24-23 over the Baltimore Colts in the Superdome. Saints Benny Ricardo kicked the winning 35-yard field goal with 33 seconds left; rookie LB Rickey Jackson scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery on a bad Colts snap in punt formation. The winning points were set up when Saints LB Ken Bordelon knocked the ball loose from Colts punter Mike Garrett, and DT Mike Fultz recovered it at the Colts 43-yard line. This game marked the return of the Saints pre-season TV network to WWL-TV with Larry Matson & Jim Henderson calling games.

1998—Saints lost their pre-season opener at Green Bay, 31-7. This game also marked former New Orleans right tackle Stan Brock's debut as Saints radio network color analyst, replacing Archie Manning who left at the end of the 1997 season.

2010—Dave Dixon passed away at the age of 89, he was recognized as "The Father of the Saints" for steadily working to bring a pro football franchise to New Orleans during the 1960s. He was also credited with the idea of that team playing in an indoor stadium which would be called the Superdome.

Today's birthdays:

Larry Collins—Born in 1955 (Running Back 1980)

Norman Davis—Born in 1944 (Guard 1969)

Louis Lipps—Born in 1962 (Wide Receiver/Punt Returner 1992), he was born in NOLA and raised in Reserve, LA.

Bobby McCray—Born in 1981 (Defensive End 2008-09), he was a part of Super Bowl XLIV team.

August 9th

1968—Saints traded an undisclosed draft choice to the Cleveland Browns in return for LB Johnny Brewer.

1969—Saints opened the pre-season with a loss at San Diego, 10-7. New Orleans was in the game until 57 seconds left when QB Billy Kilmer was intercepted by Chargers LB Jeff Staggs. Safety Dave Whitsell had two INTs. New Orleans played this season in the NFL's Capital Division with Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington. The Saints pre-season TV broadcast team was John Ferguson & Bob Khayat (brother of assistant coach Ed Khayat).

1969--The Tom Fears Show debuted on his new New Orleans home WVUE-TV at 9pm with Buddy Diliberto as host, the show primarily ran on Monday nights at 9pm in 1969. The Saints also debuted black helmets with the intent to wear them with white jerseys & black numbers for away games. Gold helmets with black jerseys & gold numbers were planned for home games. New Orleans only wore the black helmets in one exhibition game.

1975—Saints opened the pre-season in their new home, the Louisiana Superdome, before 72,434 fans, an unofficial exhibition attendance record for the Dome since pre-season records are not officially kept. New Orleans lost to the Houston Oilers, 13-7, and missed three field goal attempts. This contest also marked the first-ever performance by the Bonnes Amies dance team. This season also featured former Jesuit High School and LSU star quarterback Pat Screen as sideline reporter for Saints radio network in his only season in that role.

1980—Saints opened the pre-season with a 17-13 won in the Superdome over the Cardinals. The teams combined for 24 penalties and eight turnovers. This game marked the end of the second and last season WDSU-TV handled the team's pre-season games (play-by-play man John Ferguson & WDSU sports director Ed Harding).

1986—Saints opened the pre-season with a 10-7 at the Denver Broncos. Morten Andersen kicked the winning 51-yard field goal with 6:01 left in game. Saints defense forced two turnovers in the broadcast debut of Jim Henderson & Archie Manning as a duo on the Saints radio and pre-season TV network.

1991—Saints broke training camp at LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

1997—Saints won over Kansas City 26-7 in pre-season Superdome action. This game also marked the start of a brief three-game return to the field for previous retired Rickey Jackson in a comeback attempt.

2012—Saints lost a pre-season contest at New England, 7-6.

Today's birthdays:

James Haynes—Born in 1960 (Linebacker 1984-89)

Tyler Palko—Born in 1983 (Quarterback 2007)

August 10th

1968—Saints defeated the Boston Patriots, 19-0, in Tulane Stadium in pre-season action. Billy Kilmer went 20 of 30 for 231 yards with a TD pass; Saints were penalized 10 times for 108 yards. Saints DBs Dave Whitsell & Elijah Nevett had an INT a piece. Les Kelley had a blocked punt. Tom McNeill averaged 52.0 yards per punt. This contest along with the one versus the Houston Oilers a week later used an experimental rule for pre-season for games played only between NFL and AFL clubs; called "The Pressure Point", teams after scoring a touchdown did not kick extra points. Instead, the ball was spotted at the 2-yard line and a team scored one point on a passing play or two points on a running play. Saints were 1 of 2 on this attempt format (Kilmer pass to WR Flea Roberts).

On the same day, actor Charlton Heston arrived in New Orleans to start filming a United Artists production originally titled "Pro" about a fictional 40-year-old Saints quarterback's efforts to hang on to his career; the film was later released as "Number One."

1974—Saints lost a pre-season contest at the Miami Dolphins, 45-20.

1985—Saints opened the pre-season with a 32-20 win at the New England Patriots. Saints radio network team was Larry Matson & Jim Henderson who also do the simulcast for pre-season television.

1991—Saints defeated the Green Bay Packers in a 31-20 pre-season contest at the Superdome.

1992—Saints opened the pre-season with a 34-31 win at Chicago on ABC-TV. Cary Blanchard kicked the winning field goal late in the game, playing for an injured Morten Andersen.

1996—Saints were run over in a pre-season contest in the rain at Kansas City, 42-7.

2002—Saints lost their pre-season opener at home, 13-10, to the Houston Texans in their first-ever organized game.

2007—Saints lost their pre-season home opener, 13-10, to the Buffalo Bills on CBS-TV.

Today's birthdays:

Jim Hanna—Born in 1971 (Nose Tackle 1994)

Ramon Humber—Born in 1987 (Linebacker 2010-present)

August 11th

1971—Construction formally began on the Louisiana Superdome just a few minutes after $113 million in construction bonds were sold to Southern investors through a syndicate headed by First NBC of New Orleans & Stevens Inc. of Little Rock, AR.

One interesting fact to explain why its completion was delayed stems from when the legislature budgeted the project; they forgot to put in money for seats...yes, seats in the main arena.

Also, many lawsuits were filed by area business owners claiming the Dome would drive business out of New Orleans. The state would spend some $50 million on those lawsuits. Add to that the interest rate of construction projects at nearly 22 percent, making the final costs $162 million instead of the original projection near $46.7 million.

Robert Hunt, who headed one of the two construction firms building the Dome, stated he wouldn't be surprised if the Saints would start playing inside starting with the 1973 season. He was two years too early with his projection.

1973—Saints lost a pre-season contest at the Miami Dolphins 14-13 before 80,050 fans. Saints had a chance to take the lead but Happy Feller hit an upright on a 25-yard field goal attempt with 2:03 left in the game. Saints rushed for 197 yards.

1979—Saints lost their pre-season home contest versus the Bears, 13-6, in a game where the offense turned the ball over three times.

1984—In a rare pre-season meeting with a division rival, the Saints beat Atlanta, 31-21, in the Louisiana Superdome. Saints offense has 399 total offensive yards.

1986—Safety Antonio Gibson becomes the first former USFL player to sign an NFL contract after the former league folded His initial Saints signing six days earlier was nullified by the NFL over a dispute whether or not he was a true free agent. Gibson played three seasons for the USFL's Philadephia/Baltimore Stars under Jim More and won two league championships.

1990—Saints won pre-season contest at Minnesota, 13-10.

1995—Saints lost clost pre-season contest at the New York Giants, 14-13.

2001—Saints opened the pre-season with a 28-21 loss to the Vikings in San Antonio, Texas on ESPN.

2003—Saints lost their pre-season opener, 27-17, in the Superdome to the Eagles on ESPN.

Today's birthdays:

Andy Dorris—Born in 1951 (Defensive end 1973-76)

Dick Lyons—Born in 1947 (Safety 1970)

Tracy Porter—Born in 1986 (Cornerback 2008-11), the Port Allen, LA native made the key interception and ensuing touchdown return in Super Bowl XLIV to seal the Saints victory, 31-17

Elex Price—Born in 1950 (Defensive Tackle 1973-80), he scored the Saints only points in a 40-7 loss to the Cardinals in 1980 via a punt he blocked and ran back for a touchdown.

August 12th

1967—Saints recorded their first-ever pre-season victory, 23-14, over the St.Louis Cardinals in a game at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, LA with 25,500 people in attendance. Wideouts Tom Hall & Ray Ogden caught Billy Kilmer passes for scores while Charlie Durkee made three field goals. This contest was the first Saints broadcast by the WWL-TV flagship with John Ferguson & Hap Glaudi as the on-air team (1967-68). This season's five telecasts were shown on one-day delays.

1972—Saints lost a pre-season home game versus the Bills, 24-21. Buffalo had the ball at their own four-yard line with 40 seconds left with the score tied when QB James Harris ran to the Saints 40-yard line; a few plays later, a 38-yard field goal with no time remaining sealed the fate of the Saints.

1976—WDSU-TV debuted The Hank Stram Show, a weekly look back at Saints highlights from the previous game with a look at the upcoming game featuring the head coach. The program primarily aired on Friday nights during the 1977 season with Greg Fox as host.

1978—Saints lost their pre-season home opener, 31-17, to the Dolphins. Saints were penalized 11 times while their offense had five turnovers. Miami's offense had four turnovers.

1982—Saints lost to the Houston Oilers, 22-20, to open the pre-season. Quarterback Dave Wilson was lost for the season with a knee injury in the contest. Oilers took the lead for good with 2:29 left in the game on a 20-yard TD pass from QB Gifford Nielsen to TE Dave Casper. This game marked WWL radio's return as the Saints radio network flagship. Larry Matson and Jim Henderson served as the radio broadcast team and did so as a duo through the 1985 pre-season. The radio feed was simulcast on pre-season TV from 1982-89.

1986—Saints signed three USFL players: WR Willie Collier (who doesn't make the regular season roster), plus future Dome Patrol linebackers Sam Mills and Vaughan Johnson. The Saints also released WR Tyrone "Ty in the Sky" Young.

1988—Saints won the first-ever pre-season game played by the Phoenix Cardinals in Tempe, Arizona, 33-28. The contest doesn't kick off until 9:30pm central time due to heat issues. Rookie New Orleans WR Brett Perriman had a pair of touchdown catches.

1989—Saints lost pre-season opener, 31-7, in the Superdome to the Indianapolis Colts.

2000—Saints lost pre-season contest versus the Indianapolis Colts, 17-0, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

2005—Saints opened the pre-season at home with a 34-15 loss to Seattle. It was also the first time since 2000 that none of the pre-season home games were shown live in the New Orleans market due to non-sell out. During pre-game, the Saints honored the late Buddy Diliberto for his decades in covering the team in newspapers, TV and radio.

2006—Saints won their pre-season opener, 19-16, at the Tennessee Titans. It also marked the first year that Cox Sports Television served as the flagship base of the Saints pre-season TV network (Tim Brando & Archie Manning were broadcast team).

2010—Saints lost their pre-season opener, 27-24, at New England.

2011—Saints opened the pre-season in the Louisiana Superdome with a 24-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

Today's birthdays:

Bill Butler—Born in 1950 (Running Back 1972-74)

Andrew Glover—Born in 1967 (Tight End 2000)

Tom McNeill—Born in 1942 (Punter 1967-69), he was part of the original team.

J.T. Taylor—Born in 1956 (Tackle 1978-81)

Creston Whitaker—Born in 1947 (Wide Receiver 1972)

August 13th

1960—The first regularly scheduled pro football exhibition game was played in New Orleans en route to eventually having a pro football franchise based here. The Packers defeated the Steelers, 20-13, before 16,500 fans at City Park Stadium. The game was put together by Jack DeFee (former G.M. of the New Orleans Pelicans minor league baseball team) and his Louisiana Professional Sports Inc. organization.

1966—In the second of the season's two New Orleans based exhibition games held at Tulane Stadium, some 41,352 fans watched the Baltimore Colts defeat the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-17. This would be the last of these neutral site games played in New Orleans before a franchise would be awarded.

1968—Saints traded WR Walter "Flea" Roberts and an undisclosed draft choice to the Detroit Lions in return for QB Karl Sweetan, brought in to back up starter Billy Kilmer.

1971—New Orleans Fairgrounds publicist Barra Birrcher was named Saints coordinator of pre-game & halftime activities, succeeding Tommy Walker. Barra would go on to work for the organization for 37 years.

1975—Saints traded center John Didion to the Chicago Bears in return for an undisclosed draft choice.

1976—Saints won at Buffalo, 21-14, in pre-season action. New Orleans LB Greg Westbrooks recovered two fumbles while DBs Jim Kearney and Chuck Crist had INTs.

1977—Saints won their pre-season home opener, 23-7, over the New York Giants. The game was used as a fundraiser where 50 cents from every ticket sold went towards renovating the Tad Gormley (City Park) Stadium locker rooms.

1980—Saints released seven-year veteran LB Jim Merlo, for a number of year he held the Saints career record with 3 TDs returned off interceptions.

1983—Saints defeated the Dolphins 19-17 in pre-season play. Saints scored 10 points in 4th quarter to come back and win including a 39-yard TD pass from Dave Wilson to WR Kenny Duckett. Later CB Kevin Gray had an INT that set up Cliff Brown's winning 28-yard field goal. Saints offense used up 11:24 of the 4th quarter.

1994—Saints lose pre-season game at Minnesota 21-17, Saints quarterback Doug Nussmeier threw what was initially a winning touchdown pass on the game's last play but it was nullified by a penalty.

1999—Saints opened the pre-season with a 26-14 win at the Miami Dolphins. Game is noted for the debut of running back/first round pick Ricky Williams not wanting to go into the locker room at halftime with his teammates.

2004—Saints opened the pre-season with a 23-13 win over the Jets in the Superdome, it's also the fourth straight year all Saints pre-season home games were shown live in the New Orleans market thanks to a huge push to sell out the games before blackout deadline.

2012—Louisiana State Police held a press conference to announce that they found no evidence that Saints general manager ever wiretapped or eaves dropped on opposing coaches' communicated during games as was reported earlier in the year by John Barr of ESPN. Barr's piece quoted one-time gameday employee Tim Landry (who was listed as anonymous in the report) who stated Loomis did wiretapp between 2002-2004.

Today's birthdays:

Chad Cota—Born in 1971 (Safety 1998)

Joe Profit—Born in 1949 (Running Back 1973), he was the first African-American player in Louisiana college history to play for a historical white school (Northeast LA State College-now Univ. LA-Monroe).

Dwight Smith—Born in 1978 (Safety 2005)

Ray Willis—Born in 1982 (Tackle 2011)

 

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