The Saints 50 moments for 50 years series continues: No.46, New Year’s Eve 1990

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 24: Kicker Morten Anderson
TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 24: Kicker Morten Anderson /

This moment in Saints history is one of my favorites of all time. There may never be another game with so much on the line for the playoffs then this New Year’s Eve game on Monday Night Football in 1990.

The Saints came into this game with a record of 7-8 needing a win to get into the playoffs. The city was so pumped up for this matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. The whole country was watching this matchup in the Superdome.

Just two weeks before, the Saints were sitting at 6-8 with very little chance to salvage anything. Somehow, someway the Saints fought and clawed their way into playoff contention to get one final shot of getting into the playoffs in the 1990 season.

The Saints were led by quarterback Steve Walsh and a heavy dose of the two running backs Craig “Iron head” Heyward and Gil Fenerty. The Saints were up most of the game with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Floyd Turner and a short run by Heyward to jump out to an early 14-3 lead. However, the Rams came back late in the 4th quarter with a pass by Rams quarterback Jim Everett to tie the score at 17-17.

Everett was having a stellar game throwing for 22 of 36 passes and 290 yards on the day. Running backs Marcus Dupree and Cleveland Gary combined for almost 100 yards as well. The Saints though would be too much on this evening as wide receiver Eric Martin came up big late ,with a catch to help the Saints get into Morten Andersen’s range.

One of the forgotten things of this ending was that the kick was blocked at first, as the time expired. The Rams though jumped offsides to give Morten Andersen another try from 24 yards out. Andersen was simply clutch inside 40 yards. The kicked sailed through, as the city of New Orleans exploded into a chaotic explosion of cheers and yelling late into the late night.

My buddies and me went out that night to see the mayhem. There were people dancing and cheering all over the city. Also, I can remember people holding up cups to resemble goalposts, as people were reenacting the game winning kick in the streets. That night on New Year’s Eve was simply a night to remember. Bringing in the new year was never so sweet in 1991. This was an extended live news report by John Snell who worked at WWL at the time. The beginning of the news showed some of the fans. Later in the broadcast there would be a full recap. Enjoy!