The Saints became a franchise as a direct result of the AFL-NFL merger.
Several pro football teams had looked to the City of New Orleans as a possible home, such as the Dallas Texans (AFL) in 1963. After years of war, escalating player salaries, and dwindling profits, the AFL and NFL began discussions about a possible merger of the two leagues.
On June 8, 1966, it was announced that the leagues would merge completely beginning with the 1970 season. All franchises in both leagues would remain in their present location, with a common draft and common preseason schedule beginning in 1967.
But, there was a problem. Even though representatives of both leagues agreed to the unification, the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) in Washington, D. C. had to exempt the merger from antitrust law sanctions. At the time, the chairman of the HJC was Emanuel Celler from New York.
By the fall of 1966, Celler refused to let the bill out of committee. The NFL commissioner, Pete Rozelle, was introduced to Louisiana House Majority Leader Hale Boggs; who was looking for some political enhancement ever since he voted for the civil rights amendment in his state. Boggs offered to help push the bill through in exchange for an NFL expansion franchise granted for the Crescent City.
Boggs covertly attached the league bill to a budget bill that was certain to pass, thus detouring Celler altogether. When the budget bill passed on October 21, 1966, the NFL and AFL got their merger and New Orleans got an immediate franchise.
At a league meeting on November 1, it became official. That date just happened to the Catholic holiday All-Saints Day. New Orleans has a large Catholic population and numerous centuries-old Catholic churches. It was only fitting to nickname the team the "Saints" for the day they were officially conceived.
History was made in 1970 when kicker Tom Dempsey booted a 63-yard field goal to defeat the Lions 19-17.
The franchise has won one NFL title: Super Bowl XLIV.
Original Owner: John Mecom, Jr.
Original Colors: black, gold & white
First Stadium: Tulane Stadium, seating 80,985
Retired Jerseys: No. 31 Jim Taylor, No. 81 Doug Atkins, No. 57 Ricky Jackson
And births this date include...