New Orleans Saints franchise celebrates birthday today


Feb 1, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New Orleans Saints tackle Zach Strief wears his Super Bowl champions ring during a press conference prior to Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Although the current 2-5 season doesn’t give New Orleans Saints fans too much to be happy about, there is something worth celebrating.  Today marks the 46th birthday that the team became the 16th franchise in the NFL.

The Saints were born from ideas and a plan set in place by then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, Senator Russell Long, Congressman Hale Boggs, and Mercedes-Benz Superdome founder Dave Dixon.

The name was chosen from the song most associated with the team, “When The Saints Go Marching In.”  The announcement of the team was purposely delayed to fall on All Saints Day.

The Saints would endure years of mediocre play at best until the arrival of head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees in 2006.  They helped spearhead a revival of the franchise under the ownership of Tom Benson.

It would culminate with culminate with a Super Bowl victory on February 7, 2010 and the Saints have made a postseason appearance each year after that.

The club is currently trying to regain it’s footing after a 2012 offseason where an investigation into an alleged bounty program resulted in the suspension of Payton(season), linebackers coach Joe Vitt(6 games), and general manager Mickey Loomis(8 games).

Several players were also suspended including linebacker Jonathan Vilma(season) and defensive end Will Smith(4 games).  Two former players, linebacker Scott Fujita(3 games) and defensive end Anthony Hargrove(8 games) were given suspensions as well.