Over ten years ago, the Gulf Coast region of Louisiana and Mississippi were rocked by one of the most disastrous hurricanes in recent memory as Hurricane Katrina slammed into city of Biloxi, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana.
We all know the story of how the New Orleans Saints were forced out of the Superdome for an entire season and how they were so close to relocating their franchise permanently.
The Saints, with new head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees leading the charge, planned to make their return to the Superdome a little over a year later. The Superdome had been a refugee camp for nearly ten months before it was restored to its former glory and the Saints were ready to return home.
Their return came nine years ago today on a Monday night against NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints were sitting at 2-0 as they welcomed in the division rivals for an emotional return home. Just over a minute into the game, the Saints’ defense forced a three-and-out and that’s when one of the most memorable plays in New Orleans history occurred.
Up until Tracy Porter’s pick-six in Super Bowl XLIV, this was easily the biggest play in Saints’ history. It is still remembered as one of the biggest plays, however, as the man who blocked the punt Steve Gleason has been battling ALS for years and he has become a sort of symbol for the Saints’ fight in that season.
The Saints went on to win the game, 23-3, and finished the regular season 10-6 and win the NFC South while being the number two seed in the conference. This game did much more than just help the Saints get to their first ever NFC Championship game just months later. It helped the team etch their name in history as one of the elite teams in the NFL.
It also helped a city rebuild itself to what it was before the hurricane that nearly made New Orleans a ghost town.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports