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Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The craziest expansion team in history? With a 26-year-old owner and a roster of castaways, the 1967 Saints weren’t very good—but they let les bon temps rouler. It’s New Orleans, after all It’s late June in the NFL. Minicamps have ...

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Old 06-24-2017, 11:18 PM   #1
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Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

The craziest expansion team in history? With a 26-year-old owner and a roster of castaways, the 1967 Saints weren’t very good—but they let les bon temps rouler. It’s New Orleans, after all

It’s late June in the NFL. Minicamps have broken, and teams have dispersed for some R&R before training camps open late next month. So it’s time for something different: 1967 Week at The MMQB. Join us as we look at what the game, the players and the culture of professional football were like a half-century ago. First up, the debut of the New Orleans Saints.
John Mecom looked around at the chaos that engulfed him, at the 50-odd players on the Yankee Stadium field, their fists flying wildly, at the fans pouring down from the stands, legs lurching over the railing to join the ruckus, and the owner of the New Orleans Saints thought to himself, Damn, I probably shouldn’t be out here.

It was fun, for a couple of minutes. Mecom had rushed to the aid of the felled Doug Atkins, who had three Giants players whaling on him. But now Atkins was on his feet, and Mecom couldn’t quite figure out why the 39-year-old defensive end kept tossing his helmet to him. So Mecom just kept throwing it back, like they were playing a game of catch in the middle of a war zone.

“He was trying to tell me to put the helmet on to protect myself,” Mecom, 77, says now. “But I didn’t understand that.”

Had Mecom just wanted to be a fan—had he wanted to sit in the stands—he would have bought a ticket for six dollars. But he didn’t. In December of the previous year he’d paid the $8.5 million expansion fee for the newly minted NFL team in New Orleans. At 26, he was younger than most of the players on his team, and he watched every game from field level. And so when linebacker Steve Stonebreaker had come to the sideline, with the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, and told everyone to gird themselves for a fight that would begin right after the final whistle, goddamn if he wasn’t going to run out onto the field with rest of the guys and hit somebody.

These were the 1967 New Orleans Saints in a snapshot. This was the NFL before the league became a massive monolith, before professional football had become the biggest sports business in America. This was a simpler time, a more romantic time, a bygone era in which a team owner could find himself in the middle of a massive brawl during a televised game and not be headline news.

“Before the league got so cleaned up,” as Mecom says.
The 1967 Saints were a hapless but wildly entertaining expansion team, mired in various forms of dysfunction; a cartoonishly tough team filled with characters straight out of central casting—a linebacker named Stonebreaker—who reveled in bacchanalian exploits and topped it all with flourishes of showmanship. In other words, the Saints were a perfect match for New Orleans.

This was before Drew Brees, before the Super Bowl title, before a stadium sponsorship from Mercedes-Benz. Before even the ’Aints era, when the fans would put paper bags over their heads to signify their dissatisfaction yet would still show up religiously. Still, 50 years on from that inaugural season, as the team has morphed from lovable losers to perennial playoff contender, some of the ethos of the franchise has remained unchanged.

Read the rest: The New Orleans Saints' Wild First Season | The MMQB with Peter King
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Old 06-25-2017, 01:42 PM   #2
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Re: Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

I miss the good old days
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Old 06-25-2017, 01:44 PM   #3
 
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Re: Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

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Old 06-25-2017, 05:13 PM   #4
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Re: Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
I don't get it.
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Old 06-25-2017, 05:23 PM   #5
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Re: Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

I say the pay homage to that era and start a huge fight after the first game. I bet Payton would jump in.
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Old 06-25-2017, 05:55 PM   #6
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Re: Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
I say the pay homage to that era and start a huge fight after the first game. I bet Payton would jump in.
I'd be all for doing it against Craplanta LOL
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:05 PM   #7
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Re: Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
I say the pay homage to that era and start a huge fight after the first game. I bet Payton would jump in.
Payton almost did against the Rams last season!
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Old 06-26-2017, 03:07 PM   #8
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Re: Brawls, Booze and True Believers: The Saints’ Wild First Season

Let's just give them some Kool-Aid!
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