New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints were founded as an expansion franchise in 1966 and began play in 1967. Originally they played their home games in Tulane Stadium, but in 1975, the Superdome was built and they have played their ever since (with a few exceptions when they were forced to use other stadiums in 2005 due the after effects of Hurricane Katrina.)

The team was downright awful for most of the early years, in fact it took them 20 years to even qualify for the playoffs. They didn’t win a division championship until 1991 and did not get their first playoff win until the year 2000. Success would come, and has of late though. The Saints have seven division championships since 2000 and nine playoff appearances. All of their success came to a culmination in 2009 when they reached and won the Super Bowl, defeating the Indianapolis Colts.

The Saints are currently owned by Gayle Benson, who took over after the death of her husband Tom in 2018. Tom Benson acquired the Saints in 1985 when he learned that the beleaguered franchise was in danger of being moved to Florida. The team President is Dennis Lauschaand and the General Manager is Mickey Loomis. Both men are also involved in the front office operations of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, also owned by Gayle Benson.

Sean Payton came over from the Dallas Cowboys in 2006 and outside of a year long suspension by the league, has been the Saints head coach ever since. By far the most successful coach in franchise history, Payton has a .632 winning percentage over his career, brought the team their only title, and for his success was honored with the 2006 AP Coach of the Year award. He will again be joined by long time offensive coordinator, Pete Carmichael. Dennis Allen will manage the defense for the fifth straight season.

While the first 20 seasons were pretty rough, the team still did have some bright spots over the years and have several players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The first player to make it based on a career mostly spent in New Orleans was linebacker Rickey Jackson in 2010. Since then long time star offensive tackle Willie Roaf and placekicker Morten Andersen (just the second kicker enshrined) have been added to the Saints roster of bests in Canton.

The 2020 NFL draft saw the New Orleans Saints with only four draft picks, but as a division winner three years running, the roster mostly just needed some depth and had no glaring holes. They used the 24th overall pick to acquire Michigan offensive lineman, Cesar Ruiz, who will likely contribute immediately as a guard. The team also grabbed a couple of nice value picks at linebacker and tight end in the third round as well as a flyer on a quarterback very late in the draft.

The roster will once again be built around star quarterback Drew Brees. Wide receiver, Michael Thomas, fresh off his record-breaking season will be joined by Emmanuel Sanders, coming over from the 49ers. The defense is led by defensive end Cameron Jordan, who is coming off a career year with 15.5 sacks.

DraftKings sports book lists the Saints as one of the favorites to hoist the Lombardi trophy in 2020-21, at 10/1. They sit only behind the Ravens and Chiefs. The Saints are also the most likely team to reach the Super Bowl from the conference with 4/1 odds to win the NFC. They are currently -200 to win the NFC South for the fourth straight year, with a win total set at 10.5 for the 2020 season.

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