Every longtime New Orleans Saints fan remembers where they were on Jan. 24, 2010, for the 2009 NFC Championship.
The New Orleans Saints hosted the Minnesota Vikings in the Superdome for the right to advance to Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.
After Vikings quarterback Brett Favre threw a pass across his body at the end of regulation to Saints cornerback Tracy Porter, New Orleans had its chance to win the game.
At this time, a team just needed a field goal to claim victory in overtime, unlike the touchdown requirement in today’s NFL.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees drove his team down to the Vikings’ 22-yard line in Hartley’s range.
Saints play-by-play commentator Jim Henderson gave this historic call as Hartley nailed a 40-yard game-winning field goal.
Two weeks later, Hartley repeated his performance with a Super Bowl record three field goals from 40+ yards out. (46, 44, and 47)
After becoming a World Champion, Hartley’s career took an unfortunate turn for the worst. Hartley missed the entire 2011 season with a hip injury and was not the same kicker he was in the 2009 season during the 2012 and 2013 campaigns.
Head coach Sean Payton pulled the plug on Hartley after he missed two field goals in a 27-16 loss to the St. Louis Rams. In 2014, Hartley joined the Cleveland Browns and then the Pittsburgh Steelers the following season.
Since the conclusion of the 2015 season, Hartley had been out of football and was trying to get another chance with any team looking for a placekicker.
Then the upstart XFL came calling, and Hartley joined the league’s Seattle Dragons to suit up in football equipment for a club for the first time in over four years.
The league debuts Feb. 8, and maybe 2020 will be a second-chance opportunity for Hartley to shine on a professional football team.
There may not be a fleur-de-lis for Hartley to target this time around, but perhaps a dragon will be the reminder of his glory days in New Orleans.