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New Orleans Saints: Part 1 Of The Top 5 Moments In Team History

By Editorial Staff

Taking a break from commiserating about the ineptness of the NFL, I have decided to take a look back at what made me fall in love with this sport and, specifically, the New Orleans Saints.

I’m beginning a series on my 5 Greatest Moments in Saints History. I said “my” greatest moments as I’m sure we all have our own moments about the team, and I am in no way the definitive authority on the issue.

My hope is simply to spread a little joy in these dark times of union negotiations and possible lockouts. With that said, I offer you…

#5: Saints Get Started on the Right Foot (…or “feet,” if you will)!

September 17, 1967. The newly minted New Orleans Saints hosted their first “Mardi Gras in Autumn” before a packed house of 80, 879 soon to be fanatics. The atmosphere was authentically New Orleans, as jazz bands, local marching bands, cheerleaders, and even part owner Al Hirt entertained the masses.

Tulane Stadium and the Saints were playing host to the visiting Los Angeles Rams. Decked in white jerseys and gold pants, with the ever-present gold helmets and black fleur-de-lis, the Saints lined up to receive the opening kickoff. Standing deep to receive the ball was 2nd round, expansion-drafted rookie, John Gilliam, wearing #42.

Gilliam caught the ball at the 5-yard line and scampered between the hashes, virtually untouched until he reached the 30. There, he skipped out of a shoestring tackle attempt, made a cut outside to the left, and ran away from the Rams’ Special Team to score the first touchdown, on the first play, of the first game ever for the Saints.

John Gilliam played 2 seasons for the Saints and, much like some other ex-Saints, went on to have an All Pro career with another team (Vikings), as he was voted to the Pro Bowl each year from 1972-75.