It was the third week of the 2006 NFL regular season. The New Orleans Saints were awarded a home game on the 2006 Monday Night Football lineup. They went up against their division rival the Atlanta Falcons who were then led by explosive quarterback Michael Vick. This was the Saints first home game in almost two seasons due to the fact that their home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The game was pretty much intense throughout its entirety until Saints special teams’ player Steve Gleason made that unforgettable play in team history.
I believe it was the Falcons had a three and out on the opening drive of the ball game and they were preparing to punt until Steve Gleason blocked it and was recovered by the Saints for a touchdown. The Saints would go on to win the game by a score of 23-3 over the Atlanta Falcons. The 2006 season went on to be a season to remember for the Saints. They won the NFC South for the first time since the 2000 season and made their first trip to the NFC Championship Game against the Chicago Bears.
Pretty much no one had the Saints coming back with such vengeance during the 2006 season other than the beloved “Who Dat Nation.” The Saints would become one of the biggest draws in the 2006 regular season. They defeated a lot of teams that no one expected them to defeat such as the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams were red hot and were expected to be perennial contenders in the NFC. They met on Sunday Night Football that resulted in a 42-17 beat down of the Cowboys. From that night on the Saints went on to be a household name in the National Football League.
The blocked punt symbolized their return to the City Of New Orleans but their performance on the field solidified them as a premier force in the league. The 2006 season for the New Orleans Saints were the precursor of what was bound to come in the following seasons. They would fail to make the playoffs in 2007-2008 seasons but in 2009 everything seem to fall in place for the Saints. They would become one of seven teams to start off the season by going 13-0 in NFL history.
You all know what would eventually happen for the Saints in 2009 as they went on to win their first ever Super Bowl title by defeating Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. Even though the Saints did not make the postseason in 2014 they are still a force to reckon with as long as the Payton and Brees tandem is still intact. Aside from the Belichick and Brady duo Payton and Brees is probably the second most productive qb/coach tandem in the league today. Every successful team in NFL History has that signature moment in their history.
For the Saints it was the blocked punt by Steve Gleason that changed the entire fortunes of this once labeled “lovable loser” franchise. Saints fans have become so spoiled by the Saints success that a trip to the postseason and failure to make it to the Super Bowl is viewed as a disappointment by the ‘Who Dat Nation.” Saints fans should expect head coach Sean Payton to get back to those roots that made them successful back in 2006 in the upcoming season.
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