Thirty-four years, I think most of us would agree that it’s a very long time.Well that’s how long it took our beloved New Orleans Saints to finally win their very first playoff game.
They had tried four times before but were unsuccessful each time. This time however ” the stars were aligned” so to speak.
In the final week of the regular season the Saints were hosting the defending Super Bowl Champion St. Louis Rams in the Superdome.
The Rams needed a win and some major help to get into the playoffs.
After the Rams defeated the Saints 26-21, to improve to 10-6, they squeaked into the playoffs on a rookie’s 54-yard field goal more than 1,000 miles away.
Chicago Bears kicker Paul Edinger, hit a field goal with two seconds left for a stunning 23-20 upset of the Detroit Lions.
I remember the scene well. Rams players were literally watching the big screen on the field in the Superdome after they had beaten the Saints, and then started jumping up and down as Edinger’s kick went through the uprights.
Some were talking smack already saying they would be back next week here again to do the same thing, beat the Saints.
The Rams win, along with the surprising Detroit Lions loss, clinched them the 6th seed.
They would play the 3 seed, which just so happened to be the team they just beat, the Saints who were also 10-6 but had clinched the NFC West the week before because of a 7-1 division record.
The rubber match was set for December 30, 2000. Both teams had split the regular
But despite being the three seed, there were a lot of people picking the defending Super Bowl champs, to go right back into the SuperDome and once again knock off the Saints.
After all the saints had never won a playoff game, lost it’s starting QB Jeff
Blake for the season, lost it’s leading rusher Ricky Williams in week 10 to a
broken leg, and it’s starting fullback Terrell Smith.
So in addition to going into that game without it’s starting running back and
fullback, young quarterback Aaron Brooks loses number one receiver Joe Horn on the third play from scrimmage, he would not return.
The Rams would take a 7-0 lead when Kurt Warner threw a 17 yard touchdown
to Issac Bruce. However Aaron Brooks responded with a 12 yard touchdown pass to
Robert Wilson in the first play of the second quarter.
Meanwhile the Saint’s relentless defense was getting after Warner, led by LaRoi
Glover’s pressure and Sammy Knight’s two interceptions.
In the second half the Aaron Brooks to Willie Jackson connection started
Brooks threw three touchdown passes to Jackson and the Saints took a commanding 31-7 lead going into the 4th quarter.
However in typical New Orleans Saints history and fashion, the greatest show on
turf scored 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to cut the lead to 31-28.
The Rams defense forced the Saints to punt with minutes left to play, returning the ball to the red hot St. Louis defense.
Saints fans everywhere were preparing for the worst when the famous words of the great Jim Henderson is heard through WWL’s radio call. “Hakeem drops the ball, Hakeem drops the ball!!!”
After 34 years of losing and tears the New Orleans Saints finally had won one
I feel the same as every other fan out there,” owner Tom Benson said. It’s so exciting, so different than we’ve been accustomed to. I know a lot of people out there were saying, ‘Same old Saints.’ But we did it.
Yes indeed We did it!