The New Orleans Saints wiki last edited by ThePickle on 04/27/13 06:17PM
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The New Orleans Saints play in the South Division for the National Football Conference. The team began in 1967. The Saints had not made a playoff appearance in the first twenty years of the franchises existence. In the 1971, the Saints drafted Ole Miss star Archie Manning - father of Peyton and Eli Manning - to be their franchise quarterback. Manning made two Pro Bowl appearances but did not have many victories during his playing days.
The Saints had success in the late eighties with Jim Mora as their head coach. Their first winning season and playoff appearance came in 1987. The late eighties and early nineties were characterized by a legendary linebacker corps dubbed "The Dome Patrol." The Dome Patrol was made up of linebackers Rickey Johnson, Sam Mills, Vaughan Johnson, and Pat Swilling. in 1992, all four members were elected to the Pro Bowl, an NFL first. NFL.com named the Dome Patrol the best linebacker corps of all time.
After a disappointing 3-13 season in 1996, Mora stepped down. The following year, former Bears coach Mike Ditka was hired to lead the team. Things did not get any better for the Saints during Ditka's tenure. Trading all the teams draft picks in 1999 to move up and select University of Texas running back Ricky Williams. Ditka drew more criticisms for the trade when he appeared on the cover of ESPN the magazine with Williams in a wedding dress. After three losing seasons, Mike Ditka was fired.
In 2005, the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The damage to the Louisiana Superdome forced the Saints to split their home games between the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The teams fortunes changed in 2006 with the signing of free agent Drew Brees and the hiring of Sean Payton as their head coach. In 2009, the Saints would go on to beat the Indianapolis Colts to win Super Bowl XLIV.