Established.... November 01, 1966
First Season.... 1967 with National Football League
Stadium..... Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Conference..... NFL Eastern 1967 & 69 Century 1968 / NFC West 1970-2001 South Present
Team Nicknames..... The Black & Gold - The Dome Patrol - The Aints - The Bless You Boys
1st Game Against BUCS..... Sunday, December 11, 1977
The Buccaneers first ever victory against the New Orleans Saints came during the first game Sunday, December 11, 1977 - Actually, this game played in the Superdome, was the first ever win in Buccaneers franchise history. The Buccaneers play the Panthers on average twice-a-season once the Saints moved into the NFC South Division in 2002. Considered a rival team the compitition between the Bucs’ & Panthers have also meet during several pre-season encounters.
Below click on ANY date to view extensive details of all gameday encounters. We have featured details of each opponent, highlights of each games statistics, players, scoring details, media coverage, photographs with a detailed game report. Below the listed dates we also include full details of the Opponent.
|ALL GAMES vs. SAINTS (H=home @=away)|
|@||Dec. 11, 1977||W||33-14||H||Dec. 17, 1978||L||10-17||H||Oct. 14, 1979||L||14-42|
|@||Nov. 29, 1981||W||31-14||@||Dec. 05, 1982||W||13-10||H||Oct. 23, 1983||L||21-24|
|@||Sep. 09, 1984||L||13-17||@||Sep. 22, 1985||L||13-20||@||Oct. 19, 1986||L||07-38|
|@||Dec. 06, 1987||L||33-44||@||Sep. 25, 1988||L||09-13||H||Sep. 24, 1989||W||20-10|
|@||Nov. 11, 1990||L||07-35||@||Oct. 20, 1991||L||07-23||@||Nov. 01, 1992||L||21-23|
|H||Sep. 18, 1994||L||07-09||@||Oct. 25, 1998||L||03-09||@||Nov. 07, 1999||W||31-16|
|H||Dec. 23, 2001||W||48-21||H||Sep. 08, 2002||L||20-26||@||Dec. 01, 2002||L||20-23|
|H||Nov. 02, 2003||L||14-17||@||Dec. 07, 2003||W||14-07||@||Oct. 10, 2004||W||20-17|
|H||Dec. 19, 2004||L||17-21||@||Dec. 04, 2005||W||10-03||H||Jan. 01, 2006||W||27-13|
|@||Oct. 08, 2006||L||21-24||H||Nov. 05, 2006||L||14-31||H||Sep. 16, 2007||W||31-14|
|@||Dec. 02, 2007||W||27-23||@||Sep. 07, 2008||L||20-24||H||Nov. 30, 2008||W||23-20|
|H||Nov. 22, 2009||L||07-38||@||Dec. 27, 2009||W||20-17||H||Oct. 17, 2010||L||06-31|
|@||Jan. 02, 2011||W||23-13||H||Oct. 16, 2011||W||26-20||@||Nov. 06, 2011||L||17-27|
|H||Oct. 21, 2012||L||28-35||@||Dec. 16, 2012||L||00-41||H||Sep. 15, 2013||L||14-16|
|@||Dec. 29, 2013||L||17-42||@||Oct. 05, 2014||L||31-37||H||Dec. 28, 2014||L||20-23|
|@||Sep. 20, 2015||W||26-19||H||Dec. 13, 2015||L||17-24||H||Dec. 11, 2016||W||16-11|
|@||Dec. 24, 2016||L||24-31||@||Nov. 05, 2017||L||10-30||H||Dec. 31, 2017||W||31-24|
|@||Sep. 09, 2018||W||48-40||H||Dec. 09, 2018||L||14-28||@||* Oct. 06, 2019||L||27-34|
|H||* Nov. 17, 2019||L||17-34||H||* Nov. 24, 1996||W||13-07||@||* Oct. 13, 2020||L||23-34|
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).
For most of their first 20 years, the Saints were barely competitive, only getting to .500 twice. In 1987, they finished 12–3—their first-ever winning season—and qualified for the NFL playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but lost to the Minnesota Vikings 44–10. The next season of 1988 ended with a 10–6 record. In the year 2000, the Saints defeated the St. Louis Rams 31–28 to notch their first-ever playoff win.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast region. The Superdome was used as an emergency temporary shelter for displaced residents. The stadium suffered damage from the hurricane (notably from flooding and part of the roof being torn off as well as internal damage), and from lack of available facilities. The Saints were forced to play their first scheduled home game against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (the Giants' home stadium); other home games were rescheduled at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas or Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During the season, it was rumored that Saints owner Tom Benson might deem the Superdome unusable and seek to legally void his contract and relocate the team to San Antonio, where he has business interests. Ultimately, however, the Superdome was repaired and renovated in time for the 2006 season at an estimated cost of US$185 million. The New Orleans Saints' first post-Katrina home game was an emotionally charged Monday Night Football game versus their division rival, the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints, under rookie head coach Sean Payton and new quarterback Drew Brees, defeated the Falcons 23–3, and went on to notch the second playoff win in franchise history.
The 2009 season was a historic one for the Saints. Winning a franchise-record 13 games, they qualified for Super Bowl XLIV and defeated the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts 31–17. To date, it is the only Super Bowl championship that they have won, and as it is the only Super Bowl the Saints have appeared in, they join the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the only three NFL teams to win their lone Super Bowl appearance.
The Saints have a developing rivalry with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been part of the NFC South with the Saints since 2002. The teams actually played each other quite often as non-division rivals. Between 1977 and 2001, there were only five years in which the teams did not play. This includes 12 years in a row from 1981 to 1992 – all as a result of the scheduling formulas in place prior to 2002 (this remains a record for most consecutive years in which two teams not from the same division met each other).
The Saints won 13 of 20 games as non-division opponents. Since becoming division rivals, the Saints have the edge in the series.
One notable pre-division game is a 1977 matchup that resulted in Tampa Bay's first win in franchise history coming against New Orleans after previously starting out 0–26 overall.
The Saints' oldest rival is the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons lead the rivalry series 49–45. The two clubs joined the NFL within a year of each other as expansion teams and have played each other twice a season since the Saints joined the league in 1967.
The Saints and the Carolina Panthers have been minor rivals since Carolina joined the league as an expansion franchise in 1995. The teams have been divisional rivals since then, originally in the NFC West and then in the NFC South since 2002. This series has been extremely close. As of the end of the 2014 regular season Carolina leads 21–19.
Carolina defeated New Orleans on the road every year from 2002 to 2008, a streak of seven seasons. Notable games include Carolina's 19–7 home victory in 1996 that sparked Saints head coach Jim Mora's infamous "Diddley Poo" rant and resignation from the team, Carolina's 10–6 win in the 2002 season finale at the Superdome to knock the Saints out of the playoffs, and the emotional 2005 season opener at Carolina where the Saints won 23–20 in the face of Hurricane Katrina and an eventual 3–13 season. After the bounty scandal broke, it was revealed that the Saints had deliberately targeted Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton.
In their last game in the 2014 NFL season, a fight between the players broke out in the end zone and spilled out into the tunnel entrance after a Cam Newton touchdown, with Panther's tight end Brandon Williams getting ejected and both teams receiving offsetting penalties. The Panthers won the contest 41–10, with early turnovers by the Saints being a factor in the blowout.
The New Orleans Saints' rivalry with NFC counterparts Dallas Cowboys is more of a regional rivalry rather than a divisional one as the two franchises have never competed in the same division since the last time both clubs were in the same division, in 1969, as a part of the NFL Capital Division, before the AFL–NFL merger in 1970. Their fanbases overlap in parts of northern Louisiana, such as the Shreveport – Bossier City metropolitan area which borders the state of Texas.
The teams have played each other 27 times, with New Orleans owning the recent series winning 8 out of the last 10 games. The Saints have won 4 of the last 5 meetings in Dallas, with a 2–1 record at Cowboys Stadium. The all-time series record stands at 12–16, in favor of Dallas. The two teams most recently met on October 4, 2015, which the Saints won 26–20 in overtime in New Orleans. In the teams' most recent meeting at the Superdome, the Saints set a National Football League record of 40 first downs and a franchise record of 625 yards of total offense with Texas native Drew Brees throwing four touchdown passes without any interceptions for the 15th time in his career. Additionally, the Saints' defensive coordinator was Rob Ryan, who had been let go by the Cowboys earlier that year, and Ryan's replacement Monte Kiffin was demoted from the position at the end of the 2013 season.
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 U.S. Congressman Hale Boggs, U.S. Senator Russell Long, and then–NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. The NFL needed congressional approval of the proposed AFL–NFL merger. Dixon and a local civic group had been seeking an NFL franchise for over five 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. When the deal was reached a week earlier, Dixon strongly suggested to Rozelle that the announcement be delayed until then. Dixon told an interviewer that he even cleared the name with New Orleans' Archbishop Philip M. Hannan: "He thought it would be a good idea. He had an idea the team was going to need all the help it could get."
Boggs' Congressional committee in turn quickly approved the NFL merger. John W. Mecom Jr., a young oilman from Houston, became the team's first majority stockholder. The team's colors, black and gold, symbolized both Mecom's and New Orleans' strong ties to the oil industry. Trumpeter Al Hirt was part owner of the team, and his rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" was made the official fight song.
That first season started with a 94-yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown by John Gilliam (the Miami Dolphins also returned the opening kickoff of their first-ever game as well by Jon Auer one year earlier and one yard longer), but the Saints lost that game 27–13 to the Los Angeles Rams at Tulane Stadium. It was one of the few highlights of a season that ultimately saw the Saints finish 3–11, which set an NFL record for most wins by an expansion team.
For most of their first 20 years, the Saints were the definition of NFL futility. They would not finish as high as second in their division until 1979. The 1979 and 1983 teams were the only ones to even finish at .500 until 1987.
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.
In 1980, the Saints lost their first 14 games, prompting local sportscaster Bernard "Buddy D" Diliberto to advise Saints supporters to wear paper bags over their heads at the team's home games; many bags rendered the club's name as the "'Aints" rather than the "Saints."
Current Saints owner Tom Benson acquired the franchise in 1985, and hired Jim Finks as general manager and Jim Mora as head coach. That combination provided the Saints with their first-ever winning record and playoff appearance, going 12–3 in 1987, which had one fewer game than normal due to a players' strike. Another playoff berth would follow in 1991, and the club's first division title came in 1991. During Mora's tenure, the Saints made the playoffs four times, with teams marked by strong defenses led by the "Dome Patrol" linebacking corps, but they were never able to win a playoff game. Mora coached the Saints until the middle of the 1996 season, when he stepped down halfway through the 3–13 season. His 93 wins are still a franchise record, and are three more than the Saints won in their entire history prior to his arrival.
The Mike Ditka era (1997–1999)
After the end of the 1996 season, ironically as Diliberto had suggested before Mora's resignation, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was hired to replace Mora. Although this initially generated a lot of excitement among Saints fans, Ditka's tenure ended up being a failure. The Saints went 6–10 in their first two seasons under Ditka (1997 and 1998). During the 1999 NFL Draft, Ditka traded all of his picks for that season, as well as the first-round and third-round picks for the following season, to the Washington Redskins in order to draft University of Texas Heisman Trophy running back Ricky Williams in the first round. Ditka and Williams had a mock wedding picture taken to commemorate the occasion. However, Ditka, most of his coaching staff, and general manager Bill Kuharich were fired at the end of the 1999 season due to the club's 3–13 record.
The Jim Haslett era (2000–2005)
Jim Haslett held the post from 2000 to 2005. In his first year, he took the team to the 2000 playoffs and defeated the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams for the team's first ever playoff win.
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The team lost the following week to the Minnesota Vikings. After winning the 2000 NFL Executive of the Year Award, General Manager Randy Mueller was fired between the 2001 and 2002 seasons without explanation by Benson. The Saints failed to make the playoffs in 2001 and 2002, although in the latter year they had the distinction of beating the eventual Super Bowl XXXVII champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in both of their regular season meetings, only the second team to do so in NFL history.
In 2003, the Saints again missed the playoffs after finishing 8–8. The 2004 season started poorly for the Saints, as they went 2–4 through their first six games and 4–8 through their first twelve games. At that point Haslett's job appeared to be in jeopardy; however, he managed to win the three straight games leading up to the season finale, leaving the Saints in playoff contention in the final week of the season. In week 17, the Saints defeated division rivals Carolina; however, the Saints needed other results to break their way and when the St. Louis Rams beat the New York Jets the Saints were eliminated despite having beaten the Rams, who finished with the same record. The Rams, Saints, and Vikings all were 8–8, with the Rams having a 7–5 conference record, Saints 6–6, and the Vikings 5–7. The Rams received the #1 wild-card due to having the best conference record out of the 3, followed by the Vikings due to the 38–31 loss handed to the Saints in Week 6. Haslett was fired after the 2005 season, in which the Saints finished 3–13 and did not play any regular season games in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina.Embed from Getty Images
Due to the damage Hurricane Katrina caused to the Superdome and the New Orleans area, the Saints' scheduled 2005 home opener against the New York Giants was moved to Giants Stadium. The remainder of their 2005 home games were split between the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
On March 23, the Saints announced that the team's two 2006 preseason games were to be played at Shreveport, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi. After a $185 million renovation of the historic stadium, on April 6 the Saints released their 2006 schedule, with all home games scheduled to be played at the Superdome. On September 19, Saints owner Tom Benson announced that the team had sold out the Louisiana Superdome for the entire season with season tickets alone (68,354 seats), a first in franchise history.
The September 25, 2006 home opener, the first home game in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, was won by the Saints 23–3 against the Atlanta Falcons, who were undefeated in the 2006 season at that time. The attendance for the game was a sellout crowd of 70,003. Meanwhile, the broadcast of the game was ESPN's highest-ever rated program to date, with an 11.8 rating, and viewership by 10,850,000 homes. It was the most-watched program for the night, broadcast or cable, and was the second-highest rated cable program of all time at the time. Green Day and U2 performed "Wake Me Up When September Ends" and "The Saints Are Coming", respectively, before the game. The game received a 2007 ESPY award for "Best Moment in Sports." The game is remembered by Saints fans for Steve Gleason's blocked punt on the opening series that resulted in a touchdown for New Orleans.
On December 17, 2006, the Saints clinched their third division title and their first NFC South title in franchise history. For the first time in Saints' history, they clinched their NFC South title on their home field. Sean Payton became the second consecutive Saints coach to win a division title in his first season. After the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys 23–7 on Christmas Day 2006, the Saints clinched a first-round playoff bye for the first time in franchise history.
After the first-round bye, the Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27–24 in the Superdome in the 2006 Divisional Playoffs. No team had ever had such a poor record in the prior year (3–13) and then gone on to a league or conference championship game since the 1999 St. Louis Rams who advanced to win their first Super Bowl after being 4–12 the season before. Since the Saints' only previous playoff win was in the wild card round, this was the farthest the Saints had ever advanced at the time. The victory was only the second playoff win in team history. The season ended on January 21, 2007, when the Saints lost 39–14 to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game.
The Saints announced that for the second year in a row, the Louisiana Superdome had sold out every ticket for the season. Additionally, all luxury boxes had been sold out for the season. Both of these statistics are particularly surprising given that the city-proper has about 300,000 people or 150,000 fewer people than July 2005 population data (though the metro area still accounts for 1.2 million people).
The first game of the season was against the defending Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts. The Saints lost this game, 41–10, and lost their next three games. In one of these three games, against the Tennessee Titans, the Saints lost running back Deuce McAllister for the season with his second career (second time in three seasons) ACL tear. After winning their first game, against the Seattle Seahawks, two weeks later, the team went on a four-game winning streak to bring their record to an even 4–4. After reaching 7–7, the Saints lost their final two games to finish 7–9.
Following a disappointing 7–9 record in the 2007 season, the Saints ended the 2008 season 8–8. Failing to qualify for the post season for the second straight year, the Saints found themselves struggling on defense. However, the Saints would match the explosive offense they had in the 2006 season. Drew Brees ended the 2008 season just 16 yards short of beating Dan Marino's single-season record of 5084 total passing yards, and receiver Lance Moore came 72 yards short of his first 1000-yard season.
The 2009 season was the team's most successful season, which culminated in the franchise's first league championship win against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. After achieving a record of 13–0 with their win over the Atlanta Falcons, it marked the Saints' best start to a season in its franchise history. The result clinched an NFC playoff berth, a bye in the first round of the playoffs. By winning their first 13 games, the Saints also set the record for the longest undefeated season opening (13–0) by an NFC team since the AFL–NFL merger, surpassing the previous record (12–0) held by the 1985 Chicago Bears. However, they would fall victim to the Dallas Cowboys in week 14, going on to end the season with a three-game losing streak. Saints became the first team to win a Super Bowl after losing its last three regular season games.
Although its opponents would include winners of 9 of the last 15 NFL MVP awards, the team advanced to the 2009 NFC Championship game where they defeated the Minnesota Vikings, led by Brett Favre, 31–28 in overtime (at 9:19 CST), earning their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Television ratings for Super Bowl XLIV (44) were the highest for any TV program, sports or otherwise, in history, as their successful bid to win the Super Bowl was seen by many to represent the city's resurgence after the devastating Hurricane Katrina.
After a lengthy investigation conducted by the National Football League's security department, the league alleged on March 2, 2012, that 22 to 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints maintained a "pay for performance" program that included "bounty" payments administered by then–defensive coordinator Gregg Williams during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated, "The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for 'performance,' but also for injuring opposing players." The report also found that head coach Sean Payton was aware of the allegations but failed to stop the program. The league also said that Mickey Loomis, the Saints' general manager, was directed to end the program by owner Tom Benson, but didn't. The memo released to NFL teams found Payton and Loomis guilty of "conduct detrimental" to the league.
On March 3, 2012, Benson addressed the bounty payments controversy on the Saints' website, stating, "I have been made aware of the NFL's findings relative to the "Bounty Rule" and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."
On March 21, 2012, Commissioner Goodell announced that, as a result of the bounty scandal and the NFL's investigation, Sean Payton has been suspended for one year, Gregg Williams indefinitely, and Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular season games. The team was also fined $500,000 and docked second round draft picks in 2012 and 2013. Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt also was suspended six games and fined $100,000. Payton's suspension started on April 1, 2012, and all the suspensions are without pay. Goodell will meet with Williams again after the 2012 season to determine the coach's status.
On May 2, 2012, it was announced that four players who played for the team between 2009 and 2011 would receive suspensions for their alleged participation in "Bountygate": Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma (16 games), Saints defensive lineman Will Smith (4 games), former Saints/retired linebacker Scott Fujita (3 games), and former Saints/current Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (8 games).
Most of the players who were the targets of questionable hits by the Saints, including Favre and Warner, claimed the bounties were merely part of the game. However, several former players interviewed by Sports Illustrated said that while payments for good hits and sacks were indeed considered part of the game, bounties for intentionally injuring opponents violated an unwritten code.
However, on July 26, 2012, Jonathan Vilma and seven witnesses from the Saints testified in front of a federal judge in New Orleans that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell got his facts wrong in the bounty scandal. "Everybody was sworn in under oath in front of a judge with the risk of perjury and jail time if we were lying, and categorically denied there was a bounty", Vilma said in a text message to ESPN's Ed Werder. "Seven people testified, 2 sworn affidavits (one by Drew Brees) all saying the same thing. I ask that you and ESPN report the facts. No more bias or b.s. or hearsay. I gave you facts that you can report if so choose."
Tulane University Sports Law Program Director Gabe Feldman (who attended the hearing in court) said, "Clearly the judge, by her questions, indicated she thinks Goodell overstepped his authority, and this case was always going to be about if he executed his power fairly... The NFL's retort is that with all due deference, you don't get to second guess (commissioner Roger Goodell). Judges only have limited jurisdiction over arbitration issues."
Saints All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees made a controversial tweet on June 20, 2012, stating, "If NFL fans were told there were 'weapons of mass destruction' enough times, they'd believe it. But what happens when you don't find any????" Brees immediately issued another statement to clarify, "My WMD comment has nothing to do with politics or our brave military. Merely an analogy to show how media influences public perception." He went on to say, "I apologize if the WMD comment offended anyone. Especially our military. There is no one I respect more than our service men and women."
Black, along with old gold and white, has always been one of the team colors, but it wasn't the first choice of original majority owner John W. Mecom Jr. His preference was for Mecom blue, a medium shade which was used by all of his other investments. The NFL office, however, informed him that his proposed combination too closely resembled that worn by the San Diego Chargers. Although the Chargers were members of the AFL, the older league didn't want to offend its soon-to-be partner so soon after the merger. Mecom settled on black as the primary color as a nod to his financial involvement in the petroleum industry. "Black gold" is a term synonymous with oil. Although the Pittsburgh Steelers—who played a few home games in New Orleans during their early years to avoid conflict with the Pittsburgh Panthers football team—have long used black and gold as their colors, their shade of gold more closely resembles yellow, making the Saints black and gold compatible with the rest of the NFL.
Except for minor modifications, the Saints' logo and uniforms have basically remained the same since the club debuted in 1967. The team's logo is a fleur-de-lis (a symbol of the City of New Orleans and of France's Royal Family, which included the House of Bourbon), while its uniform design consists of gold helmets, gold pants, and either black or white jerseys. Minor changes to the uniform stripes and trim have been made throughout the years. The team wore black helmets during the 1969 preseason, but NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle barred the Saints from using the helmets during the regular season, since Mecom did not notify the league office of the change.
The Saints predominantly wore white at home when the club played at Tulane Stadium from 1967 through 1974 (except in 1969 and 1970), forcing opponents to suffer in their darker jerseys in the subtropical climate of New Orleans. When the surface at Tulane Stadium switched from natural grass to PolyTurf in 1971, field temperatures became hotter still. In Archie Manning's first game, in the 1971 season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, temperatures on the field reached as high as 130 °F (54 °C). The heavily favored Rams wilted in the stifling heat, and the Saints claimed their first-ever victory over their NFC West rivals, 24–20, on Manning's one-yard quarterback sneak on the last play of the game.
The Saints switched to white pants in 1975, coinciding with the team's move from Tulane Stadium to the Superdome, and have worn white at home numerous times since then. One year later, they started to wear black pants with their white jerseys, a move influenced by coach Hank Stram, who introduced red pants to the Kansas City Chiefs' uniforms in 1968. In an October 3, 1976 home game against the Houston Oilers, Hank Stram used the Saints' road uniforms, the white jerseys and black pants. The Saints lost that game 31–26. During the 1981–82 seasons (Bum Phillips' first two seasons as coach), the team wore white jerseys with black pants at home, but reverted to the black jerseys and white pants for 1983. They reverted to wearing gold pants with both their black and white jerseys in 1986 under new coach Jim E. Mora. From 1986 through 1995, the sleeves of the jerseys and sides of the pants featured a logo with a fleur-de-lis inside an outline of the state of Louisiana (with the location of New Orleans marked with a star in the state outline). The logo replaced the striping pattern that had been on the uniforms since the team's inception; save for color variations, the striping pattern was similar to that used by the Washington Redskins (until 1979), Green Bay Packers (until 1997), and Cleveland Browns (until 2014), which is likely why the change was made. That logo was removed in 1996 and replaced with a fleur-de-lis on both the sleeves and sides of the pants.
From 1996 through 1998, the Saints returned to gold numbers on both the white and black jerseys, but complaints about the numbers on the white jerseys being too difficult to read forced the numbers on the white jerseys to be changed to black in 1999. The Saints wore black pants with a wide gold stripe with their white jerseys in 1999, but following a 3–13 season and the dismissal of coach Mike Ditka, the black pants were mothballed by new coach Jim Haslett.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, often referred to simply as the Superdome, is a domed sports and exhibition venue located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana. It primarily serves as the home venue for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL), and is also the home stadium for the Sugar Bowl and New Orleans Bowl in college football. Plans were drawn up in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis and the building opened as the Louisiana Superdome in 1975. Its steel frame covers a 13-acre (5.3 ha) expanse and the 273-foot (83 m) dome is made of a lamellar multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of 680 feet (210 m), making it the largest fixed domed structure in the world. It is adjacent to the Smoothie King Center.
Because of the building's size and location in one of the major tourist destinations of the United States, the Superdome routinely hosts major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, College Football Championship Game, and the Final Four in college basketball. The stadium was also the long-time home of the Tulane Green Wave football team of Tulane University until 2013 and was the home venue of the New Orleans Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1975 until 1979.
The Superdome gained international attention of a different type in 2005 when it housed thousands of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina. The building suffered extensive damage as a result of the storm, and was closed for many months afterward. It was eventually decided the building would be fully refurbished and reopened in time for the Saints' 2006 home opener on September 25.
On October 3, 2011, it was announced that German automaker Mercedes-Benz purchased naming rights to the stadium. The new name took effect on October 23, 2011. At that time, it was the third stadium that has naming rights from Mercedes-Benz (and first in the United States), after the Mercedes-Benz Arena, the stadium of Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart, in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China. Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium (home of the Falcons, who, like the Saints, also play in the NFC South), set to open in 2017, will become the fifth stadium (and second in the NFL) to bear the name of the German automaker.
Gumbo the Dog is one of two official mascots of the NFL's New Orleans Saints, the other being Sir Saint. Gumbo is in the form of a Saint Bernard dog and wears the number 00. It was the Louisiana Restaurant Association's gift to the Saints. From the New Orleans Saints' website:
Even though Gumbo went into a brief retirement, he was brought back by popular demand. For years, Gumbo was, in fact, a real Saint Bernard dog that roamed the sidelines in Saints' apparel for dogs. The reason for choosing this breed of dog is the fact that Orleans Parish (where the City of New Orleans lies) shares a border with St. Bernard Parish to the east. The present mascot consists of a person wearing a Saint Bernard dog head and a football uniform. He is usually seen on the sidelines during games near the goalpost and sometimes celebrates touchdowns with Saints players.
Sir Saint is the second official mascot of the NFL's New Orleans Saints, along with Gumbo the dog. Sir Saint is one of the original mascots of the Saints under former owner John Mecom, and was revived by the organization after several decades of hiatus.
The Saintsations are the cheerleading squad for the Saints. A cheerleading squad has existed since the franchise's founding but the current name was only adopted in 1987.
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