When you award a sports franchise to a city that has drive-thru Daiquiri shops, you're asking for an exciting ride. And believe me, I know my fair share of pain having been a New Orleans Saints fan all my life. The story of our history is not one for the faint of heart.
The Saints came into the league in 1966 as an expansion team, and quickly got accustomed to losing. There's no fairy tale about things 40 years in the making—the Saints simply went from year to year redefining what it meant to suck.
Through bad luck, worse management and a cast of characters ranging from thieves to dogs, the 'Aints, as we were known, personified hilarity and comedic genius—to the rest of the NFL. To us, they were a good reason to avoid church, but without all that hope and inspiration nonsense.
To the now-worldwide Who Dat Nation, having had to endure some of the worst in order to finally celebrate sweet victory as a true fan, this is a tribute to some of the most confusing moments in Saints history.
Call it collective group therapy, as you shed the monster within and continue to redefine yourselves as one of the best teams in football.
Imagine you're a wide receiver, with a new five-year, $13 million contract with a $2.5 million signing bonus, looking for a fresh start with a team that shows promise. What's the best way to break in?
For former WR Albert Connell, this meant substandard play on the field, and a prank off the field (only to him, to the rest of reality it was "stealing over $4,000 from Deuce McAllister").
This lethal combination would soon spell the end for the troubled receiver, who, after finally admitting it, was suspended, fined and later released by the Saints.
He hasn't played in the NFL since. Meanwhile Deuce, if the lanyard around his neck is any indication, is doing just fine as one of the most beloved former Saints in history, but he could have done without the drama.
No, they didn't fire Gumbo, the large stuffed mascot who continues to prowl the sidelines.
In 2000, the Saints fired head coach Mike Ditka and GM Bill Kuharich, along with most of the coaching staff. But the smallest and most heartbreaking pink slip was awarded to Fetch Monster, the Australian Shepherd who retrieved the tee after kickoffs.
The disappointing 1999 campaign forced the exit of the coaching staff, but no one in their right mind would blame the Saints' 3-13 finish on the little guy.
If you Google search Kyle Turley's name, the third suggested result is "kyle turley throws helmet."
That's because, after a particularly tough takedown of QB Aaron Brooks, former Saints right tackle Kyle Turley lost it on Jets safety Damien Robinson, snatching his helmet right off and flinging it in the air.
As far as bizarre moments go, this one would rank right at the top for a long time, especially considering the incident happened on ESPN's Sunday Night Football.
The video here, however, might be more bizarre. The song is by Turley himself, who's become a marginally successful country music singer. This track is called "Flyin' Helmets." Hold a grudge much?
Nov. 8, 1970. Trailing the Lions 17-16 with two seconds left in Tulane Stadium, brand new coach J.D. Roberts had a decision to make.
Being as the Saints were already 1-5-1 and had fired their former coach five days earlier, Roberts decided to send placekicker Tom Dempsey—born with half a right foot, but still the Saints regular placekicker—to try a 63-yard field goal.
In this video, you can tell from the announcer that this seems like a strange call. He even giggles a little as Dempsey makes his way back.
But note the foot when they make the closeup to Dempsey, and then listen for the sound of the kick, as the announcer's voice changes and the ball sails across the heavens and through the H-style uprights.
With a 7-7 record and trailing the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-13 with seven seconds to go, the Saints needed a miracle. The Saints were still in the playoff hunt, but needed to win their final two games to have a shot at the postseason.
Knowing this, and being on the road (where anything can happen and you go for it on fourth), it was time for Jacksonville to understand just how you play under desperate circumstances.
What happened next would have been history, except....
... the Saints needed John Carney to nail the extra point to tie the game and send it into overtime. Enjoy the play again, but Saints fans, turn away after the touchdown. Otherwise, you'll break your remote again.
After scoring his second of what would be four touchdowns against the New York Giants, former WR Joe Horn registered Michael Lewis' help to retrieve a certain object buried under the field goal padding.
It turned out to be a phone.
Horn allegedly called his wife and kids, though it must have been hard talking through his helmet. He was flagged 15 yards on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct—and later fined $30,000 by the NFL—but the moment lives on as one of the funniest and most bizarre touchdown celebrations we've ever seen.
We know what you're thinking: "I waited through seven slides just to see the Super Bowl win? Really?"
Believe me, we know. You had to wait through seven slides just to see a Super Bowl. The Saints had to wait for 43 years. How bizarre.