Jul 26, 2013; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson during the first day of training camp at the team facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
#1 – Porter Pick Six SB vs. #16 – Beer Man Strikes
The toughest choice in all of these play selections is determining your top seeds, but I find that Tracy Porter’s Pick Six of Peyton Manning ranks at the very top, as it sealed the win for the New Orleans Saints first ever Super Bowl.
As for Beer Man Strikes, that is all about Michael Lewis. On October 13, 2002, Lewis would do something that only six other players in NFL History had done previously, and be the first player to do so in 25 years. Lewis would run a 90-yard kickoff back for a touchdown, and return an 83-yard punt for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins.
#8 – Easiest TD. Ever. vs. #9 Hold On Lance!
On November 30, 2009, the New Orleans Saints would host the New England Patriots in a huge prime time showdown. At 10-0, the pressure was on the team. The Saints went down early, but battled back to win 38-17. Devery Henderson would score a 75-yard touchdown from a Drew Brees pass, and was completely wide open. There was no one within 15 yards.
Whether it’s a play you are aware of or not, this will go down as one of Lance Moore’s best plays as a Saint. After a 2-yard Jeremy Shockey touchdown, it would put the Saints up with a five point lead late in the fourth quarter. Sean Payton gambled with his infamous, ‘Give Me Lance Moore’ call on the two point conversion. Upon first glimpse, Moore’s reception was ruled incomplete. The play was challenged, and the officiating crew deemed it a catch with possession. The decision was reversed, and the Saints went up by seven.
"“By rule, when a receiver with possession of the ball is in the act of going to the ground and performs a second act by reaching out to break the plane, that completes the process of the catch and the ball is dead when it breaks the plane.” -Greg Aiello"
#5 – Dempsey’s Big Boot vs. #12 – Reggie to the House
Before any Mile High assistance, there was Tom Dempsey. On November 8, 1970, Dempsey kicked an NFL record 63-yard field goal at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans as time expired to propel the Saints over the Detroit Lions. Dempsey was mauled after making the field goal, and arguably remains the single most greatest kick in the NFL.
As far as Reggie to the House goes, en route to a divisional 45-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals, Reggie Bush would score on one of the best runs in Saints history. The 46-yard touchdown looked as though it would be a short gain on the play, but after some jukes, jives, and several missed tackles, Bush would explode like he was shot out of a cannon to outrun the Cardinals secondary to put the Saints up 21-7. We were all left with our mouths hanging out.
#4 – Deuce Dozer vs. #13 – Passing Dan
The remarkable 2006 run of the New Orleans Saints saw the team hosting the Philadelphia Eagles at the Super Dome for the divisional playoffs. You’d think there’s not much to talk about in a 5-yard touchdown. However, McAllister ripped off a huge performance in his first ever playoff game, and the touchdown scored involved carrying Eagle defenders on his back. It was nothing short of amazing.
December 26, 2011 was a historic night. It was the moment that Drew Brees broke a 27-year old record that was previously held by Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. Brees would complete a 9-yard pass to running back Darren Sproles to break the record in a most fitting fashion. The Saints would beat their hated rival foe, the Atlanta Falcons, 45-16.
#6 – Hartley to the SB vs. #11 – Fly Reggie! Fly!
As if any member of Who Dat Nation needed a reminder about the kick that sent the Saints to the Super Bowl. Trust me, we could have ranked this higher, but this seemed like a good place for the moment every prayer was answered. The 40-yard field goal is arguably the most memorable one made in Saints history.
2009 had so many memorable moments, and one of the best games of that season was against the Miami Dolphins. The Saints battled back from a 24-3 deficit on October 25, 2009 to beat the Dolphins 46-34. Reggie Bush scored on a 10-yard end around, and how he scored by taking flight to the pylon was one of the better moments in Saints history.
#3 – Gilliam’s Kick Start vs. #14 – Ravens Never Moore
John Gilliam will be forever known in the NFL as the very first player in New Orleans Saints to score a touchdown. On September 17, 1967, the Saints kicked off their inaugural season against the Los Angeles Rams. Gilliam would take the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. Sadly, the team would lose, and lose often.
Lance Moore is primarily known for his signature smiles, first down celebrations, and hilarious dances after scores. However, on December 19, 2010, Moore and the Saints played the Baltimore Ravens (I was there, it was awesome). Brees would lead a drive early in the fourth quarter trailing 24-17, and Moore would exhibit some amazing ball awareness and concentration to come down with a tipped pass in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. It had to be reviewed, but the play was vintage Lance Moore.
#7 – Jets Get Sharpered vs. #10 – Graham Hurts Post
The 2009 season speaks for itself, but in one of the earlier games of the Saints season, the team hosted the New York Jets on October 4, 2009. The Saints were up 3-0 with Mark Sanchez and the Jets driving. Sanchez would throw an interception that would lead to a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown by Darren Sharper. It was the second 90+ yard interception return by Sharper in the Saints early season.
On November 21, 2013, tight end Jimmy Graham earned major brownie points against the Atlanta Falcons. It wasn’t because of the 44-yard touchdown that he scored, but because his signature slam dunk on the goal post celebration bent the goalpost. We could play it over and over again, and it will never get old at least 100 years from now.
#2 – Porter Picks Favre vs. #15 – You’ve Been Turley’d
The Minnesota Vikings were poised to spoil the Saints chances of their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, as they were driving late in the 4th quarter. You remember what happened. Joe Buck’s call forever etched in my head, ‘Favre throws back across the middle….IT’S INTERCEPTED! PORTER!’
We can all laugh about November 4, 2001 now, but at the time, Kyle Turley’s tirade against the Jets cost the Saints a chance to tie trailing 16-7. Quarterback Aaron Brooks scrambled down to the Jets 4-yard line, and was tackled by Damien Robinson. Robinson would attempt to bend Brooks backwards and grab his facemask. Turley showed why you don’t touch a quarterback, as he proceeded to rip Robinson’s helmet off, throw it, and give a color gesture afterwards. Turley and Robinson were penalized, but Turley was ejected and given an extra penalty to knock the Saints back.