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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

    • Archie Griffin: 2-Time Heisman Winner
      December 11, 2022 | 1:42 pm
      Archie Griffin

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is the only football player ever to capture college football’s top individual award twice.

      As a star running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Archie Griffin claimed the Heisman Trophy during his junior season in 1974 and then was able to repeat the honor the following season.

      Griffin joined the Buckeyes for the 1972 season, which happened to be the first in which freshmen were eligible to play varsity football, and made an immediate impact. After fumbling in his only carry of his first game, Griffin more than made up for it in his second game by rushing for 237 yards against North Carolina. By the end of the season, Griffin had rushed for 867 yards.

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