You don’t have to be a native New Orleanian to be a fan of the Black and Gold! The New Orleans Saints are one of the country’s most-watched NFL teams and have even been dubbed “America’s Team.” (A title that had been long-held by the Dallas Cowboys). However, if you’re a Big Easy local, it’s a given that you bleed black and gold and chant “Who Dat!” in your sleep.
Whether you call NOLA home or cheer for the Saints from another part of the country, this team is undoubtedly one to watch; especially after their recent blow-out victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady on November 8, 2020.
While you might know a lot of things about this popular team, as their colors, star quarterback (Drew Brees), and logo (the fleur-di-lis), there are also likely quite a few things you might not know. So, it’s time to get to know America’s Team a little better.
Here are 10 fun facts you might not know about the incomparable New Orleans Saints:
- The Saints adopted their name due to the rich Catholic identity of New Orleans and as a connection to Louis Armstrong’s famous song, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
- Ironically, or maybe by design, the team’s foundation date is November 1, 1966…All-Saints Day.
- The Saints didn’t make it to the playoffs until 1987, 20 years after the team’s beginnings.
- The Saints were one of the teams to play in the NFL’s first game outside the USA. The team played an exhibition game against the Eagles in Mexico City on August 5, 1978.
- For about the first 8 years of their existence, the Saints played their home games in Tulane Stadium. They moved into the new Louisiana Superdome in 1975.
- Initially, the team’s colors were supposed to reflect Mardi Gras, so gold was already an option. But the colors ended up black and gold thanks to John Mecom’s (the Saints’ original owner) ties to the oil industry; oil = black gold.
- In 1980, the Saints lost their first 14 games, and local sportscaster, Buddy Diliberto (Buddy D), suggested that perhaps all fans should wear paper bags over their heads. The fans did indeed sport brown bags with eye-holes at the games, and the Saints became the “Aints.” But, the ever-faithful fans still showed up to cheer on their boys.
- Al Hirt, trumpet player extraordinaire, played “When the Saints Go Marching In” every time the team scored a touchdown during early home games.
- The Saints have two official mascots, Sir Saint and Gumbo the Dog. Sir Saint came first and was later replaced by Gumbo. However, he was later brought back, and now both mascots help pump up fans.
- The Saints cheerleaders were first called the Louisiannes but had to change their name because a Louisiana high school had the copyright. The new name was the Saints Dancers. The group underwent several other name changes over the years before sticking with the current Saintsations.
Although we can’t pack the Superdome like usual thanks to Covid, you can still cheer on the boys in Black and Gold from any number of local hot spots around the city, or of course, from the comfort of your cozy NOLA hotel room. Now, can we get a “Who Dat?!”