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This Week in Saints History: August 14-20

Abner Haynes and the Dallas Texans of the AFL almost became the first professional football team based in New Orleans.Abner Haynes and the Dallas Texans of the AFL almost became the first professional football team based in New Orleans.

August 14th

1962—Associated Press reports the Dallas Texans of the AFL are considering moving to New Orleans following the season' but the team eventually becomes the Kansas City Chiefs in '63.

1965—A Tulane Stadium exhibition contest features the Baltimore Colts' win over the St. Louis Cardinals, 22-10. In a show of support for promoter Dave Dixon following the AFL All-Star Game boycott, some 75,229 fans attended to set a then-pro sports record in the southern United States.

1971—Saints lose pre-season game at Dallas, 36-21. Saints QB Archie Manning throws three second half TDs. Cowboys offense best the Saints in passing yards, 312-134, and forced four New Orleans INTs. Cowboys QB Roger Staubach throws 3 TD passes in first half.

1979—Larry Matson is released as Saints TV pre-season play-by-play man. The Times-Picayune states that because Insilco Broadcasting (owners of WGSO 1280am) is producing the games for WDSU-TV (which carried the Saints games in '79 and 80) while Matson is also employed by WWL-am radio (a competitor of WGSO), theconflict of interest is in effect. Veteran broadcaster John Ferguson takes Matson's place for the remaining two pre-season games and also broadcasts the 1980 pre-season TV games.

1993—Saints defeat Green Bay, 26-17, in pre-season game at Madison, Wisconsin but lose running back Vaughn Dunbar for the year with a torn ACL.

1998—Saints lose pre-season contest to the Broncos at Denver, 17-10.

2009—Saints open pre-season docket with a 17-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Superdome.

Today's birthdays:

John Bonamego—Born in 1963 (Special Teams Coach 2006-07)

Warren Capone—Born in 1951 (Linebacker 1976) attended LSU

Julius Jones—Born in 1981 (Running Back 2010)

Guido Merkens—Born in 1955 (Quarterback/Wide Receiver/Defensive Back/ST 1980-85)

Stan Petry—Born in 1966 (Cornerback 1991)

August 15th

1970—Saints end a two-game drought in their pre-season rivalry versus the Houston Oilers with a 19-10 win in a defensive battle where the Oilers offense outgain the Saints in passing yards, 113-50. Rookie defensive lineman Lawrence Estes scored a safety and also blocked a field goal attempt.

The game is more remembered for a huge fight that broke out in the first quarter where one reporter claimed Saints tackle Don Talbert kicked Oilers defensive end Elvin Bethea; one play later, Bethea hit Saints QB Billy Kilmer late to set off a two-minute brawl throughout the field before officials settled it down. This game also marks the beginning of the Saints pre-season TV network's on-air team of John Ferguson and Steve Stonebreaker. The duo would stay with the network through the 1975 season.

1978—Saints trade away safety Chuck Crist to the 49ers in return for LB Skip Vanderbundt. The Saints also release WR Don Herrmann and tackle Dave Hubbard.

1981—Saints defeat the Houston Oilers, 27-7, in pre-season action at the Superdome. Saints offense outgains the Oilers, 331-219. Saints defense has five sacks including two by LB Rickey Jackson. After the game, Saints FB Hokie Gajan suffers a cut forehead and an injured knee in a car accident that puts him on injured reserve for the entire '81 season.

1987—Saints open the pre-season with a 23-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the Superdome. Trailing 17-3 at halftime, the Saints come back and seal the win with an 11-yard TD run by FB Barry Word with 2:57 to go in the game. Word switched to fullback after Hokie Gajan's injuries forced him to retire. This game also marked the inaugural debut of the new Saints dance team (later called Saintsations), who earlier that day made their first-ever official appearance at Maison Blanche at Clearview Mall in Metairie, LA.

2002—Saints defeat Miami, 24-7, in south Florida pre-season action. Saints LB Curtis Holden suffers a torn left knee ligament and misses the entire season.

Today's birthdays:

Cam Cleeland—Born in 1975 (Tight End 1998-99, 2001)

Alfred Fincher—Born in 1983 (Linebacker 2005-07)

August 16th

1969—Saints win their first pre-season game of the year, 28-22, at Denver. Tom Dempsey secures place kicking job by making field goals from 54, 49, and 12 yards out. The Broncos best Saints, 354-215, in total yards. Broncos QB Steve Tensi comes off the bench to throw two second half TDs.

The Saints hurry back to New Orleans so players and coaches can prepare for Hurricane Camille; those without houses stay in Covington at St. Paul's School which served as the team's secondary training camp. Four Saints players who were also National Guard members who were called up for duty to help with the storm's aftermath: kicker Charlie Durkee, punter Tom McNeill, RB Don McCall, and CB Gene Howard.

After the Broncos game, Saints are told not to wear their black helmets or their black jerseys with white numbers because the club didn't give the NFL a minimum one-year notice on the uniform change. The black helmets are donated to the Richmond Roadrunners of the ACFL minor league that the NFL help to sponsor. The black jerseys are worn six weeks into the regular season until they get more jerseys with the previous gold number design.

1973—Saints majority owner John Mecom Jr. formally cancels plans to sell the Saints to the Gillett-Palmer-O'Neal group of Chicago claiming the group "failed to comply with their obligations...the team and its fans deserve an all-out opportunity to win." Mecom also states he is suing the group over legal costs stemming from the failed negotiations and has no immediate plans for selling the team.

1975—Saints win their first pre-season game in the Superdome, 24-21 over Denver. Saints hold a 24-7 lead in the first half before the Broncos score two second-half TDs. Denver LB Bob Swensen recovers an on-sides kick but on the ensuing drive with one minute left, Broncos TE Boyd Brown fumbles. Saints LB Jim Merlo recovers the loose ball to seal with win.

1979—Saints trade punter Tom Blanchard (pictured right) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for an undisclosed draft choice.

1986—Saints lose their pre-season home opener to New England, 38-34. Patriots win with 59 seconds left in the game on a 21-yard TD pass from Steve Calabria to TE Greg Baty to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive. Saints post 28 fourth-quarter points.

1992—Saints break training camp in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

1997—Saints win pre-season contest at Oakland 18-16.

2000—Saints break training camp in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

2003—Saints win pre-season contest at the New York Jets, 22-17. This contest also marks the start for a new flagship station for the Saints pre-season TV network, WUPL-TV (then owned by the CBS network. The broadcast team Tim Brando, Ron Jaworski, and Archie Manning stays together through 2004 though Jaworski misses half of the broadcasts due to his work on the Buccaneers preseason TV network).

2008—Saints lose to the Texans, 31-27, in Superdome pre-season action.

Today's birthdays:

(Alfred) Jitter Fields—Born in 1962 (Punt Returner 1984)

Willie Jackson—Born in 1971 (Wide Receiver 2000-01), he once tied an NFL record with three touchdown catches in a playoff game, the first New Orleans postseason win in 2000 versus Rams.

August 17th

1980—Saints lose their pre-season contest at the Houston Oilers 20-17. Saints throw a pair of scoing passes late in the game but falls short.  New Orleans QB Bobby Scott suffers a partially torn knee ligament and undergoes surgery; he won't be available to play for several weeks. The injury leads to the a trade for Miami backup QB Guy Benjamin.

1985—Saints lose to the Oilers, 23-20, in home pre-season action. Despite staging a 10-point fourth quarter rally, the Saints end up losing when Oilers safety Jeff Donaldson blocks a punt recovered by Oilers WR Mike Akiu, who is carried into the endzone for a score. Saints had a chance to tie the game late but QB Richard Todd was sacked by Oilers NT Mike Stensrud; kicker Morten Andersen missed a 60-yard field goal try two plays later to end the game.

1985—Saints trade away LB Jack Del Rio to the Kansas City Chiefs for an undisclosed draft choice.

1987—Fullback Hokie Gajan announces his retirement as a player following a 1985 knee injury; he would join the Saints scouting staff shortly afterwards and work in that capacity for 13 seasons.

1991—Saints lose in a pre-season contest at Indianapolis, 34-28.

1992—Saints run over the Steelers, 26-0, in pre-season Superdome action.

1994—Saints break training camp in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

1996—Saints win over the Bears, 31-21, in pre-season contest which included at halftime the 10th anniversary reunion dance of the Saintsations.

2012—Saints lose pre-season home game vs Jacksonville 27-24 with 13 seconds left on an 11-yard TD pass from Jaguars Jordan Palmer to WR Kevin Elliott. Saints LB Chris Chamberlain is lost for the year with a torn ACL.

Today's birthdays:

Kendrick Clancy—Born in 1978 (Defensive Tackle 2009)

Ernie Conwell—Born in 1972 (Tight End 2003-06)

Michael Mayes—Born in 1966 (Running Back 1989)

Johnny Patrick—Born in 1988 (Defensive Back 2011-present)

Clovis Swinney—Born in 1945 (Defensive Back 1970)

August 18th

1962—Jack DeFee's group brings in LSU's former Heisman trophy winner Billy Cannon (pictured right) and the Houston Oilers who defeat the Boston Patriots in New Orleans, 20-10, before 31,000 fans, shattering the previous AFL record for a pre-season game of 18,000.

Not long after the game, DeFee turns over his duties to Dave Dixon's New Orleans Pro Football Inc. organization. Some felt DeFee did so because the process had become onerus, and he wanted to focus on his other business interests.

1968—Saints lose a close pre-season game at the Houston Oilers, 24-23, before 42,734 fans. Oilers QB Pete Beathard scored on a six-yard TD run with 50 seconds left that tied the game.

According to that pre-season's "Pressure Point" or "No kicked extra point" rule, the Oilers took the lead on an endzone pass from Beathard to RB Sid Blanks for one point. The game is decided with nine seconds left when Saints kicker Charlie Durkee's 40-yard field goal attempt is partially blocked. Defensive lineman Dan Colchico was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon while LB Jackie Burkett was lost for a few weeks with broken ribs. Several fights also broke out during the game.

1973—Saints lose in pre-season action 24-14 at the Dallas Cowboys. Saints safety Hugo Hollas is lost for the season with torn knee ligaments. Cowboys QB Roger Staubach has two touchdown passes, and Saints RB Bill Butler has a pair of rushing TDs.

1974—Saints lose a defensive pre-season contest at New England 7-3.

1979—Saints lose their third pre-season game in a row, 14-7, at Tampa Bay. Saints safety Ray Brown fractures his forearm, missing the first four regular season games.

1984—Saints defeat the Houston Oilers in the Astrodome 31-19 in pre-season play.

1986—Running back Earl Campbell announces his retirement after eight seasons in the NFL.

1990—Saints lose pre-season game vs the Packers at Madison, Wisconsin 27-13.

1995—Saints break training camp in LaCrosse, WI.

1998—Saints LB Brian Jones is put on IR after a knee injury during a scrimmage versus the Chiefs.

2001—Saints win their pre-season home opener, 16-10, over the Cowboys in the Superdome. This contest also marks the first time a Saints pre-season home game was shown live in the New Orleans market thanks to an aggressive ticket sales campaign before the blackout deadline (72 hours before kickoff).

2005—Saints win their pre-season contest at New England, 37-27, on FOX-TV.

2007—Saints win their first pre-season game of the season, 27-19, at Cincinnati.

Today's birthdays:

Jeremy Shockey—Born in 1980 (Tight End 2008-10), he was a part of Super Bowl XLIV team.

Paul Spicer—Born in 1975 (Defensive End 2009), he was a part of Super Bowl XLIV team.

August 19th

1967—Saints defeat Pittsburgh, 20-17, in pre-season action before 35,000 fans in Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge). Saints kicker Charlie Durkee makes two field goals, and QB Gary Wood breaks off a 27-yard TD run. Wideout Walter "Flea" Roberts hauls in a 57-yard TD pass from Gary Cuozzo. Steelers RB Earl Gros scores on a 74-yard TD catch; he attended Terrebonne High School (Houma, LA).

1972—Saints lose to Dallas, 30-7, in pre-season action before 81,070 fans at Tulane Stadium. Saints offense turns the ball over six times.

1978—Saints lose their pre-season contest in the Superdome versus the Buccaneers, 14-3 as the Tampa Bay defense holds the Saints at bay.

1980—Saints release seven-year veteran LB Jim Merlo.

1985—Saints sign guard Petey Perot (Northwestern State, LA).

1988—Saints break training camp at Lacrosse, Wisconsin.

1989—Saints lose pre-season contest at Buffalo, 10-7.

1991—Saints trade a 5th-round pick and cornerback Robert Massey to Phoenix in return for Guard Derek Kennard.

1994—Saints lose pre-season contest on FOX-TV, 13-10, to Green Bay in the Superdome.

1999—Saints break training camp in LaCrosse, WI.

Today's birthdays:

Morten Andersen—Born in 1960 (Kicker 1982-94) Saints Hall of Famer

Jermon Bushrod—Born in 1984 (Tackle 2007-present)

Bobby Hebert—Born in 1960 (Quarterback 1985-89, 1991-92) Saints Hall of Famer

David Patten—Born in 1974 (Wide Receiver 2007-08)

Shaun Smith—Born in 1981 (Defensive Tackle 2004), Smith was allegedly cut after the '04 game at Atlanta when he was inactive and wandered away from his teammates during pre-game. He helped himself to some free food in the media's stadium cafeteria. Defensive tackle Jonathan Sullivan joined him but was only fined.

August 20th

1973—Saints trade RB Bob Gresham to the Houston Oilers in return for DT Leo Brooks, who quits football right after the trade.

1976—Saints win in their first-ever overtime game in pre-season history, 26-20, at the Baltimore Colts. RB Mike Strachan scores the winning touchdown from three yards out. Colts tie the game with under a minute left in regulation on a 72-yard TD pass from Bill Troup to WR Glen Doughty. Before the Saints score the winning points in OT, Colts kicker Toni Linhart misses a 24-yard attempt in the extra period.

1977—Saints win their third pre-season game in a row with a 20-17 win over the Buffalo Bills. Saints DT Bob Pollard has two sacks, and CB Maurice Spencer adds an INT.

1983—Saints break training camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

1983—Saints defeat the Houston Oilers in the Superdome, 20-13, in pre-season play despute two lost fumbles and nine penalties. There is some speculation before the contest that the Oilers would have the game delayed due to damage in Houston from Hurricane Alicia. It also marks Archie Manning's return to the Superdome after he was traded to Houston 11 months earlier.

1984—Saints cut long-standing veteran special teams ace Rich Mauti, who is signed two days later by the Redskins. Mauti asked for his release to seek more playing time with another team.

1988—Saints lose pre-season contest at Indianapolis Colts, 18-6.

1995—Saints lose pre-season contest at home versus the Seahawks, 24-19.

1998—Saints break training camp in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

2011—Saints lose first pre-season road contest of the year, 27-14, to the Houston Texans.

Today's birthdays:

Brett Bech—Born in 1971 (Wide Receiver 1996-99) attended LSU

Greg Jackson—Born in 1966 (Safety 1996) attended LSU

 

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