New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints play in the South Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the NFL. New Orleans, which plays its games in the Louisiana Superdome located in New Orleans, Louisiana, was established as a NFL expansion team in 1969. David Dixon, a New Orleans entrepreneur, created the franchise in a deal made with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and U.S. Congressman Hale Boggs. Boggs helped Rozelle get congressional approval for the NFL-AFL merger and a week later, on All Saints’ Day, Rozelle was in New Orleans announcing the establishment of the Saints.
New Orleans played in the NFL’s Eastern Conference from 1967-1969. They were in the Capitol Division (1967 and 1969) and the Century Division (1968). When the NFL merged with the AFL, the Saints were assigned to the NFC West (1970-2001) and then after realignment became part of the NFC South (2002-present).
The team has won precious few championships and is one of only six NFL teams that have never appeared in a Super Bowl. The Saints have won three Division Championships—NFC West in 1991 and 2000 and the NFC South in 2006.
New Orleans has had three players, two coaches and one executive inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, but just one inductee—General Manager Jim Finks (1986-1993)—spent a significant amount of his time with the team.
Finks played with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1949-1955 as a quarterback and defensive back. He then went to the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) from 1956-1964 as a player, assistant coach, scout and, eventually, general manager. He was partially responsible for upgrading the talent on the Stampeders, helping to transform them into a winning team and Grey Cup contender.
In 1964, he was named general manager of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. He was responsible for the Vikings’ finest years when they dominated their division in the late 1960s through to the late 1970s. He went to the Chicago Bears (1974-1982) and, as GM and helped make them into the team that would annihilate the New England Patriots 46-10 in the Super Bowl that ended the 1986 season. From 1986- 1992, he served the Saints as general manager. In his second season with the team, the Saints notched their first-ever winning season going 12-4. He died of lung cancer in 1994 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1995.
“When the Saints Go Marching In” is the team’s fight song. The official mascot of the club is the Saint Bernard dog Gumbo. The Saints played at Tulane Stadium from 1967-1974 and then moved to the Louisiana Superdome, which holds 72,003 fans. The venue cost $134 million to construct. Due to Hurricane Katrina, the team was forced to play at various other stadiums, including Tiger Stadium (four games) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Alamodome (three games) in San Antonio, Texas, and Giants Stadium (one game) in East Rutherford, New Jersey. After Hurricane Katrina, the Superdome underwent a $185 million renovation. The team moved back into the stadium in 2006.
The New Orleans Saint are presently owned by Tom Benson and Rita Benson LeBlanc. They acquired ther club in 1985. They hired future Hall of Fame GM Finks and also got head coach Jim Mora to sign on. Mickey Loomis is the club’s general manager and Sean Payton the head coach. Payton’s only NFL head coaching assignment has been with the Saints; since starting with the team in 2006, he has a regular season record of 17-15-0 and a post season mark of 1-1.
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