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Sports Then and Now



Losers No More: The Rise of the New Orleans Saints 12

Posted on February 03, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Hall of Fame running back and quarterback Gary Cuozzo were members of the originals Saints.

Hall of Fame running back Jim Taylor and quarterback Gary Cuozzo were members of the originals Saints.

On the first play in New Orleans Saints history, rookie John Gilliam returned a kickoff 94 yards against the Los Angeles Rams for the first touchdown in franchise history. Little did anyone watching that game on September 17, 1967 know that it would take 43 years before the promise of that opening day would culminate with an appearance in football’s grandest game.

The road from opening kickoff to Super Bowl XLIV has been long and full of disappointment, but much like the city it represents, the Saints have withstood  every trial and now are just one victory from being crowned Super Bowl Champions.

Despite the opening fireworks, that opening game did provide a glimpse into what was in store for Saints fans. The Rams recovered to hold the Saints to just two field goals the rest of the way while coming back for a 27-13 victory.

The Saints won three games during their opening season with their first win coming in the eighth week of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles.

During the early years, the Saints were a haven for “has beens” and “never weres”.

The opening roster included a pair of future Hall of Famers in Jim Taylor and Doug Atkins, but both players were at the end of their careers and only shells of their former selves. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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