The New Orleans Saints may not be playing on Thanksgiving this year, but that doesn't mean we can't take a walk down memory lane during the times that they did.
Thanksgiving and NFL football go together like, well, turkey and gravy. It's been a part of the American culture for decades, and why it's one of the great days of the year. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have become synonymous with the holiday, as they host games every year. Starting in 2006, the NFL added a third game taking place in the evening to be watched with full bellies, allowing other teams to get the national exposure. The New Orleans Saints are one of those teams, playing four games on Thanksgiving.
Since the Saints aren't playing a game this Thanksgiving, we thought it would be fun to revisit the four times that they did.
Well, it'll be fun for the most part for Saints fans at least.
2010: New Orleans Saints 30 - Dallas Cowboys 27
Coming into the season, the defending champion Saints heading into Jerry World to take on Tony Romo and the Cowboys, themselves coming off of an NFC East crown, was circled as one of the marquee matchups of the 2010 season.
Unfortunately, Romo was out for the game after suffering broken clavicle the previous month, and in his stead was veteran Jon Kitna. Fortunately for fans, the game turned out to be a thriller. Well, maybe THRILLED isn't the right word for Saints fans, however it was a good game nonetheless.
The Cowboys took a 27-23 lead after being down 20-6, until Malcolm Jenkins stripped Roy Williams, leading to a Drew Brees touchdown strike to Lance Moore. The Cowboys would try a 59-yard field goal as time expired, but it was no good, as the Saints went marching on with a record of 8-3.
2018: New Orleans Saints 31 - Atlanta Falcons 17
The first game on Thanksgiving played in the Superdome, took place when the Saints hosted their most hated rival, the Atlanta Falcons. The 2018 Saints were arguably the best Saints team ever that didn't end up a Super Bowl champion, and it showed how deep they were with young talent in the game.
All four of Brees' touchdown tosses wen tot undrafted rookies in Tommylee Lewis (who would become notable for WHY the Saints didn't get to the Super Bowl), Austin Carr, Dan Arnold and Keith Kirkwood.
The defense also forced a good Falcons offense to turn the ball over four times, and the Saints asserted their dominance in front of the country.
2019: New Orleans Saints 26 - Atlanta Falcons 18
The game so nice they had to play it twice. Ok, well maybe not the games weren't that nice but hey credit to the rivalry. It seems that the powers that be thought it was nice enough to run it all the way back on turkey day.
The Thanksgiving sequel was played in the Hotlanta, but played out similarly to the original, with the Saints being in control.
It might not seem like it based on the score, but the Saints were head 26-9 in the fourth quarter, with the Falcons scoring nine points in the final four minutes.
As an aside, it's pretty funny that the Saints played the Falcons twice in a row on Thanksgiving, and are now playing them in 2023 the weekend after Thanksgiving Thursday. Perhaps the intensity of this rivalry isn't lost on the league.
2021: Buffalo Bills 31 - New Orleans Saints 6
This was the first season without Drew Brees under center, however he was on the stick as an announcer for NBC during the game. That's pretty much the only somewhat cool thing about this game.
This was at the peak of the Bills' quasi-run, and the Saints were trying to figure it out at quarterback without Brees and James Winston went down with injury. They tried Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill, lan Book, but on this Thanksgiving, Trevor Siemian got the start.
It went about as you would expect. The Saints found themselves down 24-0 heading into the fourth quarter, and basically got rolled on a day meant to give thanks.
All that being said, and with this roller coaster season to this point for the New Orleans Saints, we are still thankful for the team, and look forward to seeing them play this weekend after this great American holiday on Thursday, and of course, bring on those Falcons.