When The Saints Came Marching In: What The New Orleans NFL Frachise Did Wrong (And Sometimes Right) In It’s Expansion Years


Author George Becnel, an award winning journalist and local to New Orleans, has penned a new book describing the Saints emergence into the NFL as an expansion team in 1966 and the following five turbulent years through 1971.

He chronicles the Saints early formation through the expansion draft and the teams penchant to go after big name players who were well pass their prime.

As Becnel describes in that era teams used a five year plan to build the team through the draft as there was no free agency market, a blown draft pick could not be quickly and easily addressed via free agency as it can today.

Because of this and the Saints management’s poor personnel decisions, at the five year mark the team was still in a building mode but should have been in a winning mode.

Hence why the Saints failed to have a winning season until 1987, a full 21 years after the inception of the Saints as a franchise.

However New Orleans managed to be surprisingly competitive in it’s second year, fueled by names such as Billy Kilmer, Danny Abramowicz, Dave Whitesell and Doug Atkins.

The rag-tag bunch manged a 4-9-1 season which tied the record for the most wins by a second year expansion team with the Dallas Cowboys, and when combined with their three win season the year before they officially became the most successful start up team through it’s first two years.

We will always have that at least.

George Becnel explains all this and more in the book, a must read for Saints fans everywhere.

Today the Saints are 4-0 and light years away from the frachise they once where, modern Saints fans should look at this book as a way to understand the franchises roots to see just how far they have come.

“When the Saints Came Marching In” is available in paperback and hardcover, and the price ranges from $18 to $23. The book can be purchased online at authorhouse.com and most major online book stores, and can also be purchased directly from George Becnel by calling him at (225) 223-5871 or email g_becnel@yahoo.com.

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