Steve Gleason will always be remembered for his blocked punt on the night the New Orleans Superdome reopened for the first time after Hurricane Katrina. Steve played for The New Orleans Saints from 2000-2008. In 2011, Steve was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), considered a terminal neuro-muscular disease. Steve is determined to inspire others by continuing to pursue life adventures despite his diagnosis, and has challenged the worlds of technology and science to identify their most promising developments toward new treatments and a cure. Steve and his friends and family started Team Gleason to generate public awareness for ALS, raise funding to empower those with ALS to live a rewarding life, and ultimately find a cure. Steve’s story and the Team Gleason mission have been told countless times throughout the media and in a soon to be released documentary. The NFL Network, ESPN, HBO, ABC, CBS, CNN and many local outlets have all been inspired to share the Team Gleason story in many ways. He was featured in 2 Peter King interviews during Super Bowl pre-game shows, NFL’s A Football Life, Good Morning America, HBO’s Real Sports and more. He was named one of 2 Sports Illustrated’s Inspirations of the Year in 2014 and been a keynote speaker for Microsoft and at 2 United Nations sponsored Social Innovation Summits. Steve was the featured personality on the highly praised and reviewed Microsoft commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl. It has been viewed over 3 million times since airing. Most recently, while in office former President Obama signed “The Steve Gleason Act” to assure the availability of life sustaining communication devices
Drew Brees is the 2009 Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. A native of Austin, TX, Brees attended Westlake High School and lettered in football, basketball, and baseball and as a senior in 1996 led his football team to a perfect 16-0 record and the 5A State Championship while garnering 5A Offensive Player of the Year honors. He attended Purdue University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management from the prestigious Krannert School of Management while lettering in football from 1997-2000. A two-time Heisman finalist, Brees led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl appearance during the 2000 season. In that same year he won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top collegiate player as well as being named Academic All-American Player of the Year and was a recipient of the National Football Foundation’s post-graduate scholarship. In Brees’ five years with the San Diego Chargers and 10 years with the New Orleans Saints, he has been elected to 10 Pro Bowls while being named 2004 Comeback Player of the Year, 2006 All-Pro Team, 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, 2008 and 2011 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP. Drew Brees is considered to be one of the best free Agent signings in NFL history after being signed by the Saints in 2006 after suffering a shoulder injury while with the Chargers. As much pride as Brees takes in his on-field performance, he takes even more pride in his community service endeavors. Drew and his wife, Brittany, established the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003 and since then have contributed and/or committed almost $25,000,000 to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need. Brees has also proudly participated in five USO trips to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Turkey, Djibouti, Dubai, Okinawa, and Guantanamo Bay.
One of my all time favorite Saints player is Deuce McAlister. McAllister was drafted by the Saints in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft. He became the starting running back after Ricky Williams was traded. He went on to rush for over 1,000 yards in three straight seasons (a first in Saints’ history). He ranks first in team record books with 5,586 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns and is first with 22 100-yard games, including a franchise-record nine straight contests in 2003. McAllister is the only Saints’ running back to be voted to the Pro Bowl in consecutive seasons. I still remember in the Saints first ever NFC Championship game McAllister rushed for 143 yards on 21 carries and a TD and also caught a TD pass in a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. McAllister accomplished all this even while sharing the backfield with the Saints first round pick Reggie Bush. On February 17, 2009 the Saints eventually released McAllister after 8 years due to salary cap issues. After sitting out the entire 2009 regular season, McAllister was re-signed by the Saints on January 15, 2010 just one day before their divisional round playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, to serve as the honorary captain. Although he did not play, McAllister was on the Saints’ roster when they defeated the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, and was also given a championship ring. After 2009 McAllister retired as the best running back New Orleans Saints have in their franchise .
Willie Roaf began his professional football career with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, who drafted him with the eighth pick of the first round in the 1993 draft. The draft pick was acquired from the Detroit Lions for the rights to Pat Swilling. Willie Roaf played nine seasons for the Saints; he was named to seven Pro Bowls, and won a spot on both the NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team and the 2000’s All-Decade Team, making him the most awarded player in Saints history.Willie Roaf suffered a season-ending injury in 2001 and then was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in March 2002 for a conditional draft choice. He played four more seasons with the Chiefs, and was selected for the Pro Bowl in each of those four years, for a total of 11 Pro Bowl selections. His election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was announced on February 4, 2012. On July 28, 2006, Willie Roaf told the Kansas City Star that he was retiring from football. In 2009 Roaf took his first coaching job, as the offensive line coach at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California. Roaf has been elected to sports halls of fame for Louisiana Tech Athletics (2003), Arkansas (in 2007), Louisiana (in 2009), and the New Orleans Saints (in 2008). He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 4, 2012, in his second year of eligibility. Roaf was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
The Dome Patrol was the linebacker corps of the National Football League’s (NFL) New Orleans Saints during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s
Under head coach Jim Mora, it formed the second level of defensive coordinator Steve Sidwell’s 3–4 defense, considered to be among the most formidable 3–4 defenses in NFL history. As a unit, all four players were on the Saints roster for seven seasons, from 1986 to 1992, and the players combined for 18 Pro Bowls and ten first-team All-Pro selections while with the team. All four linebackers were invited to the Pro Bowl for 1992, the only time four players at the same position from one team have made a Pro Bowl together. Rickey Jackson was drafted by the Saints in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft. He was the first member of the unit; he played five seasons and was invited to three Pro Bowls before the Dome Patrol was formed. The team did not have a winning record in any of those seasons. In 1985, the Saints defense gave up over 25 points per game, which was seventh worst in the league. In 1986, the Saints selected outside linebacker Pat Swilling in the third round of the draft and acquired middle linebackers Vaughan Johnson and Sam Mills from the recently folded United States Football League (USFL). Also arriving from the USFL was head coach Jim Mora. The defense improved to seventh best in points allowed per game in 1986, allowing an average of 17.9 points. In 1987, the team finished with a 12–3 record, posting the first winning record in franchise history as well as its first playoff appearance. Three members of the Dome Patrol were named to the Pro Bowl in 1991, and Swilling was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 17 sacks and forcing six fumbles. The Dome Patrol is frequently cited as one of the greatest defensive groups of all-time, and was rated by NFL Network as the number one linebacker corps in NFL history. In 2010, Jackson became the first Saints player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sam Mills later signed with the Carolina Panthers, with whom he earned a Pro Bowl trip and two All-Pro selections, and later was an assistant coach with the team. Mills died in 2005 after two years of battling intestinal cancer. His jersey number 51 is currently the only jersey retired by the Panthers, and he is the only former player in the team’s Hall of Honor. Swilling played six more seasons in the NFL after leaving the Saints, and made a Pro Bowl trip with the Lions in 1993. All four players are in the Saints Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Aaron Brooks was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1999. Brooks began his career as a third-string backup to Brett Favre behind second-string quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, taking no snaps during the regular season. The Packers traded Brooks and tight end Lamont Hall to the Saints for linebacker K. D. Williams and the Saints’ third round pick in the 2001 draft ahead of the 2000 season. In his first season with the Saints, Brooks took over as starting quarterback after Jeff Blake was sidelined with a broken foot in the team’s 11th game of the season. In his first NFL start, Brooks was the starting QB when the saints won there first ever playoff game 31–24 victory over the St. Louis Rams, becoming the first QB in NFL history to defeat the defending Super Bowl champions on the road in their first career start. Brooks led the team to a 3–2 record in his five starts for an overall 10–6 record, winning the NFC West. In the playoffs, the Saints defeated the Rams, 31–28. The Saints were without their starting running back, Ricky Williams, and lost their best receiver, Joe Horn, early in the game. Brooks threw four touchdown passes to lead the Saints to their first playoff win in franchise history, becoming the first QB in NFL history to eliminate the defending Super Bowl champions in his first career postseason start. The Saints then lost their Divisional Playoff game to the Minnesota Vikings, 34–16. Aaron Brooks is also the second cousin of Michael Vick.
The New Orleans Saints have had 16 head coaches in their franchise history—ten full-time coaches and six interim coaches. Sean Payton has been the head coach of the Saints since 2006. Payton served as the assistant head coach/passing game coordinator and assistant head coach/quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys for three seasons before he joined the Saints in 2006. In 2009, he led the team to its second NFC Championship Game and first NFC Championship title, Super Bowl (XLIV) appearance, and NFL Championship. Tom Fears, the franchise’s first head coach serving from 1967 to 1970, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970 and is the only coach to be inducted into the Hall of Fame while spending his entire coaching career with the Saints. Hank Stram, who coached the Saints from 1976 to 1977, and Mike Ditka, who coached the Saints from 1997 to 1999, were also inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 and 1988, respectively. Jim E. Mora has coached the most games for the Saints, with 167. Payton has the highest winning percentage while coaching the Saints, with .588, and his 94 wins are the most in franchise history. J. D. Roberts has the lowest winning percentage (.219) and fewest wins (seven) for a full-time coach. Jim Haslett, Mora, and Payton are the only head coaches to lead the Saints into the playoffs. Mora, Haslett, and Payton have won the AP Coach of the Year Award and the Sporting News NFL Coach of the Year. That’s just a few facts about the all time head coach records for the New Orleans Saints.