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realheavyd 01-05-2012 05:57 AM

Wild Card Weekend Game Preview: Lions at New Orleans Saints

As hard as it might be to believe for the die hard Saints fan from way back when, many current fans of this team probably may not even remember more than a single losing season. Someone who started following the team 6 years ago in 2006, for instance, when Sean Payton first became Head Coach and Drew Brees became the starting quarterback, would be in that very category of such people. The Saints have gone 62-34 since Payton and Brees arrived in New Orleans, and that 64.6 winning percentage is tied for the 6th-best over that span. Even if a recently converted Saints fan goes back twice as long as that, to the start of the 2000 season, they would still only remember 3 out of 12 losing seasons for their favorite NFL team.

But, truth be known, from the Saints' inaugural season in 1967 to as recently as the end of the 2005 campaign, New Orleans actually owned the third-lowest winning percentage in the NFL. At .403, they trailed only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at .392 (established in 1976, 9 years after the Saints) and the Houston Texans at .281, who had been in existence for only four years, with the worst all-time winning percentages at that time.

The Detroit Lions originally began their existence in professional football as the Portsmouth Spartans based out of Portsmouth, Ohio in 1929 as an independent professional team. They were one of many such organizations in the Ohio and Scioto River valleys back in those early days of professional American sports. In 1930, however, the Spartans formally joined the NFL as other area independent teams folded because of the Great Depression. The Spartans were unable to survive in Portsmouth, then the NFL's smallest city, despite their initial successes within the framework of the NFL. The team was sold, moved to Detroit and was renamed the Lions for the 1934 season. The rest, as they say, is history.
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