On Sunday, December 4, 2016, the New Orleans Saints were defeated by the Detroit Lions 28-13. Sandwiched between two halves of lackluster and forgettable football was a half-time event the likes of which will not soon be forgotten by the “Who Dat Nation”.
New Orleans Saints All-50 Team Celebration
As the Saints celebrate their 50th anniversary, they have assembled the Saints All-50 team. It is comprised of the 50 greatest Saints in their history. While some very deserving names were left off the list (Kyle Turley and Tracy Porter to name a couple), the team is a who’s who of greats that have flourished in the black and gold. For the players, it was a chance to step back on the field and remember those years in New Orleans. For the fans, it was one more opportunity to thank the players that worked so hard for their entertainment on football Sundays.
The All-50 Saints consisted of the following players:
Running back (4)
Wide receiver (4)
Tight end (3)
Defensive end (3)
Defensive tackle (4)
Special teams (4)
Reggie Bush, PR
Steve Gleason, ST
Michael Lewis, KR/PR
Tyrone Hughes, KR/PR
For the most part, the more recently the player has played for the Saints, the louder the applause. There were a few exceptions, however.
It seemed the loudest ovations came for Archie Manning, Hokie Gajan, Steve Gleason and Will Smith. Manning was the first “face of the franchise” and has been a fan favorite since he showed up in 1971. The combination of his play on the field, his likable on-air personality, and his recent passing made Hokie’s introduction a special moment. Steve Gleason, entering the field in his wheelchair, symbolizes the rebirth of the city and has the statue outside the Superdome to commemorate his significant blocked punt during the “Home Sweet Dome” game. Finally, Will Smith was a major contributor on defense during the Saints sole Super Bowl run and his recent passing also made his announcement in the dome a tear-inducing moment.
Of all the players that seemed to really relish in the moment, no one appeared to enjoy it more than New Orleans favorites Bobby Hebert and Pierre Thomas.
The only break in the continuous cheering during the ceremony was the announcement of former Saints tight end, Jimmy Graham. Graham’s name was met with equal parts cheering and booing.
Obviously, not all 50 members of the exclusive club were in attendance. Seven of them are deceased (Gajan, Childs, Smith, Warren, Whitsell, Waymer and Mills). Two members are currently playing or coaching games on other teams (Graham, Bush, and Glover). Four are active members of the Saints and were in the locker room during the celebration (Brees, Evans, Morstead and Harper). Almost everyone else was there, but fans were disappointed not to see former wideout Joe Horn.
The event was a fantastic look back at the 50 greatest New Orleans Saints to ever wear the uniform and was the highlight of an otherwise forgettable Sunday in the Superdome.