First the brainchild of local sports entrepreneur Dave Dixon, who also founded the Louisiana Superdome and the USFL, the Saints were actually secretly born in a backroom deal brought about by Congressman Hale Boggs, Senator Russell Long, and NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. The NFL needed congressional approval of the proposed AFL-NFL merger. Dixon and a local civic group had been seeking a NFL franchise for over 5 years and had hosted record crowds for NFL exhibition games. To seal the merger, Rozelle arrived in New Orleans within a week, and announced on November 1, 1966 that the NFL officially had awarded the city of New Orleans an NFL franchise. The team was named for the great jazz song most identified with New Orleans “When the Saints Go Marching In”, and it was no coincidence that the franchise’s official birth was announced on November 1, which is the Catholic All Saints’ Day.
One of the franchise’s early bright moments came on November 8, 1970, when Tom Dempsey kicked an NFL record-breaking 63-yard field goal to defeat the Detroit Lions by a score of 19–17 in the final seconds of the game. The record was not broken until 2013 by Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos.
He purchased the Saints from John Mecom in 1985 after he learned from Governor Edwin W. Edwards that the team was on the verge of being sold to parties interested in moving the team to Jacksonville, Florida. As a successful businessman, he recognized the economic implications of such a move not only for the city of New Orleans, but for the state of Louisiana as well, which was in the midst of a deep economic recession caused by plummeting crude oil prices. Ownership of the team was officially transferred to him on May 31, 1985.
During the Saints’ 2001 negotiations with the state of Louisiana, rumors circulated that Benson would seek relocation if his requests which included renovations to the Superdome, a new practice facility in suburban Metairie, and escalating annual payments from the state to the team could not be met. Though he never made public statements to this effect, Benson’s business ties to the city — and the availability of the Alamodome as a playing facility — made San Antonio the most common subject of speculation.
When it became clear that Hurricane Katrina’s extensive damage to New Orleans and the Superdome would make it impossible for the Saints to play there in 2005, the team temporarily relocated its operations to San Antonio and began negotiations to play home games at the Alamodome. (The Saints, after discussions with the NFL and Louisiana State University, eventually agreed to play one “home” game at Giants Stadium against the Giants, three games at the Alamodome and four games at LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge).
At the Saints-Falcons game on October 16, the second of two warm receptions of the Saints by the San Antonio community, mayor Phil Hardberger stated that Benson had agreed to schedule negotiations for permanent relocation once the 2005 season is over. In reference to Benson, Hardberger said, “I’m pretty comfortable in saying he wants to be here.”
Super Bowl XLIV was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New Orleans Saints and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Indianapolis Colts to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2009 season. The Saints defeated the Colts by a score of 31–17, earning their first Super Bowl win. The game was played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida for the fifth time and in South Florida for the tenth time, on February 7, 2010, the latest calendar date for a Super Bowl yet.
The New Orleans Saints are a professional American football team based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints currently compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league’s National Football Conference (NFC) South division. The team was founded by John W. Mecom Jr., David Dixon and the city of New Orleans. The Saints began play in Tulane Stadium in 1967.
The name “Saints” is an allusion to November 1 being All Saints Day in the Catholic faith, New Orleans’ large Catholic population, and the spiritual “When the Saints Go Marching In”, which is strongly associated with New Orleans and often sung by fans at games. The franchise was founded on November 1, 1966. The team’s primary colors are old gold and black; their logo is a simplified fleur-de-lis. They played their home games in Tulane Stadium through the 1974 NFL season. The following year, they moved to the new Louisiana Superdome (now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, since Mercedes-Benz has purchased the stadium’s naming rights).
1967 – Present / National Football League
1967 – Present / New Orleans Saints
Saints – The name Saints was the popular choice in a fan contest staged by the New Orleans States Item. However, with or without the contest, the New Orleans team would most likely have been called the Saints. The franchise was awarded on All Saints Day, November 1, 1966. New Orleans was famous worldwide as the city of jazz and the famous marching song, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Super Bowl 1
2012 – Present / Mercedes-Benz Superdome
1975 – 2011 / Louisiana Superdome
1967 – 1974 / Tulane Stadium
2018 – Present / Gayle Benson
1985 – 2018 / Tom Benson
1967 – 1985 / John W. Mecom, Jr.
31 Jim Taylor
81 Doug Atkins
*Blue is this team’s history