It's 1986, You Are Tom Benson, the Saints' New Owner, and in the Driver's Seat

Randy SavoieAnalyst IIFebruary 27, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson celebrates after his team defeated the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It's 1986. You are the new owner of the New Orleans Saints and you could drive the most expensive luxury car but you drive a Chevy Caprice instead.

You made your business fortune in Texas- where every thing is big—especially the corpone and bullshit—but that was never your way.

You said the only reason you bought an NFL team is because it was your hometown New Orleans Saints. You said, had it been the Dallas Cowboys, you would have had no interest. You looked at the Cowboys as the NFL's version of the Titanic and you had no interest in shuffling around deckchairs on the NFL's version of the titanic.

All these years later, the Cowboys are still the NFL's version of the Titanic.

Poor bastards. Well maybe Jerry and Wade will figure it all out before the end of the decade.

Back in those days, you could have afforded the world's finest tailored suits but you bought your suits off the shelves—no GQ fashion plate were you. You were more blue collar than flash-n-dance back then in 1986.

An old-fashioned work ethic transformed you from a poor kid to a multi-millionaire and you expected those who surrounded you to share that same approach.

And, so, when your brother Bob walked into the Saints offices at about 1:00 PM back in the Bum Phillips days and found only a handful of people working, you knew it was time for a house cleaning.

What's the story here? Doesn't anybody work past one o'clock?

Bum was a Texas cowboy and some of those guys consider a solid work ethic working 30 minutes a day and then going hunting and fishing and drinking and that wasn't going to cut it with you as you set to flip the culture in the early days of your ownership.

So, you and GM Jim Finks hired a hard-nosed no-nonsense guy named Jim Mora as the new head coach and the three of you formed a triumvirate that laid the foundation for what would become a Super Bowl champion over 20 years later.

You and Finks talked to Dick Vermeil about Mora before you hired him, and, in between tears of joy, Vermeil said he saw a lot of himself in Jim Mora—willingness to work long hours to do whatever it takes to gain the slightest advantage over the opponent.

You and Finks took notice of Mora's considerable accomplishments in the USFL...two championships in three championship game appearances and 48 wins in three seasons, but it was the glowing endorsements of some of the NFL's elite that really made you sit up and take notice,

Former Kansas City Chiefs GM Carl Peterson who was Mora's boss in the USFL told you, " Jim Mora is a great teacher. He's also a tremendously flexible person, very positive, and not one who'll dwell on the problems that arise as you go along," said Peterson to WWL-TV's Jim Henderson.

"Obviously I'm biased but we have won a lot of games together."

Peterson stressed Mora's integrity and honesty.

Reporters who had covered Mora in Philadelphia and Baltimore said he was a hard-ass worker—not flashy at all.

That's what won you over about him.

You were Tom Benson—early in your ownership of the New Orleans Saints—and you knew Jim Mora would work a lot harder that the Texas cowboy Phillips.

As Jim Henderson said, "You liked the fact that Mora was more "do" than chew."

Ha, Ha, Ha. Yuk, Yuk, Yuk.

So you sent Bum back to Texas—the land of corpone and bullshit—and you and Finks and Mora set about laying the foundation of a future Super Bowl champion- the New Orleans Saints.

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