Get to know the New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are the long time under achievers in the NFL. They have never made a Superbowl appearance and have only made it to the Play Offs six times in 40 years, since joining the league in 1967.
Depsite their lack of success down the years, the New Orleans Saints remain a popular team amongst NFL fans, especially in their home state of Louisiana. They have had two long term homes over the years; in the formative years, they started out playing at the Tulane Stadium before moving to the Louisiana Superdome in time for the 1975 season.
The Superdome has remained home for the Saints ever since, apart from the 2005 season when it was closed due to the damaged of Hurricane Katrina. With a capacity of almost 73,000, the Superdome is an impressive structure and has played host to a record six Superbowl games. It can prove an imposing venue when at capacity, full of Saints fans, and provides important home field advantage, something that head coach, Sean Payton, will be hoping the Wembley crowd can recreate with the Saints named as the dedicated home team for NFL London 2008.
The Superdome and Saints hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in the Summer of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the area. The Superdome provided emergency shelter for some 30,000 victims in wake of the storm and as a result of damaged caused the Saints were forced to play home games during the 2005 season at the Alamodome, San Antonio and the Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge. The season was one to forget finishing 3-13.
At the start of the 2006 season, the Superdome had undergone a $185 million renovation and the Saints were back home and this was to kick start something of a renaissance for the Saints, finishing the season 10-6 before eventually being beat in the NFC Championship game for the first and only time by the Chicago Bears.
The 2007 season was indifferent for the Saints, finishing 7-9. However, the team did show signs of rediscovering the form shown in 2006 and they will enter the 2008 season full of optimism with the belief that a play off berth is a realistic target.
It is also worth noting that the New Orleans are no strangers to American Football at Wembley Stadium. They played an American Bowl game at the venue in 1990 when they defeated the LA Raiders 17-10.