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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

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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