Sunday, September 24, 2006

Looking for Saints highlights?

In anticipation of Monday Night Fever, here are some Saints videos that I find fun to watch:

1) Check out the River City Relay, a play so infamous it won top prize at the 2004 ESPY awards. For the uninitiated, this is the 75-yard lateral-fest that brought the Saints a touchdown in the final seconds of a late-season 2003 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Saints fans know it well. Aaron Brooks passes to Donte Stallworth. Stallworth laterals to Michael Lewis. Lewis laterals to Deuce McAllister. McAllister laterals to Jerome Pathon. Brooks with the crucial block! JEROME PATHON WITH THE TOUCHDOWN!! Good stuff. Last-ditch lateral plays don't usually work that well without a marching band getting in the way.

Only Jacksonville Jaguars fans hate watching this play. Well, aside from Saints fans who watch it in its proper context, remembering that John Carney missed the extra point, allowing the Jags to win anyway. Taken on its own, however, the River City Relay is Saints football at its best--backed into a corner, no time left, sudden gelling and theatrics all the way to the endzone. Like with most epic Saints plays, it's best to forget that it ultimately didn't matter. Because one day--hopefully in a certain current year that ends in 06--it will.

2) Tom Dempsey's 63-yard field goal in 1970 is a record that still stands (albeit tied) today. It allowed the Saints to score one of their two victories that season. That last-second long shot must have been very emasculating for the Detroit Lions, considering that one-win teams who change head coaches midseason and can't get good field position are rarely a threat. But for the throngs at Tulane Stadium, it was a brief glow of triumph. Nobody parties harder than Saints fans in a good mood.

3) And what Saints video experience is complete without the very first Saints play in franchise history? A 94-yard opening-kickoff touchdown return by John Gilliam against the Los Angeles Rams. A very expensive Faustian bargain, sure, but legendary nonetheless. Check out other historical Saints videos here.

For more recent highlights, check out these recaps from the first two games of the Sean Payton era: Browns and Packers. Click on the highlight reels to see what we hope will gel on Monday Night against the Falcons. Whatever happens, it's going to be epic. Hopefully, the Saints will give the Falcons the drubbing they deserve for, well, being the Atlanta Falcons. Cha ching!


JTekell said...

Not to kick you in the nuts for your effort but a top 5 might have been better. The current set of highlights suggests that nothing of note happened between 1970 and 2004.

What about the 1988 payoff game with the Vikings. Bobby Hebert, after his 4th or 5th sack of the half, spits out his two front teeth right before half time and leads the saints into the locker room and on to a futile second half.

And who could forget all the Dome Patrol Defense years where the saints couldn't get more than a couple of field goals per week.

What about Morten Anderson? You get to the 35 and he kicks a field goal. Then after the 96 trade to the Falcons the Saints lose something like 6 straight games to the Falcons, all on late game Morten Anderson field goals.

Ahhh...the joys of Saints fandom. Enjoy it while it lasts. Two years max 'till they're the new Los Angeles Diablos.

Ian McGibboney said...

A kick in the nuts indeed. How uncharacteristic of you. I know you're not the biggest fan of the Saints or Louisiana in general (something we sometimes share), but was that really necessary?

I chose to highlight singular plays in this post, and only ones I could find in decent-quality video. Why you snarkily expect me to highlight the failures of the Saints over time is beyond me. Monday night's game is a huge morale-booster for so many reasons. The Saints are 2-0, the Superdome's being reopened and they're still in New Orleans in the first place--three things no one expected to happen. It may be a symbolic night, but it's absolutely HUGE for the spirit of the area. Clearly, this is lost on you.

If the NFL knows what's good for them, they will not relocate the Saints. Business is business, but I think it would cause a political backlash that would not work in the league's favor. Look back at pro baseball and pro football history, and you'll see that cities who lose teams almost always get another within a few years. And those tend to be teams that people cared about a fraction as much as New Orleans--and the NFL--cares about the Saints.

Nick said...

I think you could have fit in a Top 5, another game would be the Saints first play-off win in team history.

The Dome Patrol was quite a fun time. Sure, we didn't win as many games as we should have, but to have 4 LBs like that!!

As for the Saints staying in New Orleans, if possible, then that would be great for the state. However, we should stop subsidizing the team. New Orleans made Benson a millionaire buying all his cars. The least he could do is shell out a couple of his own bucks to keep the team here. Besides, with season tickets about to be sold out for the year, he can't complain about no making money this season.

Ian McGibboney said...

Again, Nick, I chose to highlight the best Saints plays that stand on their own; those you could watch almost completely void of context and they would still be riveting.

As exciting as the Rams' fumble is that sealed the Saints' playoff victory in 2000, it isn't that great a play, especially not on par with the three I listed. In fact, what that came down to was luck. At that point in the game, the Saints had lost all momentum and were dangerously close to squandering their hard-fought lead. That play showed great hustle; but ultimately, it was a lucky fumble recovery.

JTekell said...

I think the last comment I made got lost. The gist of it was I wasn't ultimatly out to kick you in the nuts so much as express myself as a jaded long-time saints fan. I can't remember the rest but I'm glad the saints won.

Ian McGibboney said...

You really lost your last comment? I'm sorry. Let me know if it happens again. I hate that feeling.

Speaking of hated feelings, I suppose you feel the same way about the Saints that I sometimes feel about life. And I can definitely understand that.