10 Impressive Wins in the Payton Era: Saints have glorious Dome return in '06

10 Impressive Wins in the Payton Era: Saints have glorious Dome return in '06

Credit: (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

ball game against the Atlanta Falcons on September 25, 2006 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tonight's game marks the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck last August, that the Superdome, which served as a temporary shelter to thousands of stranded victims in the wake of Katrina, has played host to an NFL game. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)



Posted on July 15, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 18 at 8:30 AM

As the run-up to the 2013 NFL season hits its stretch run – 12 days and counting before training camp begins – we thought at WWLTV.com it’d be a good time to get the blood flowing for Saints fans.

And what better way to do so than by looking back at some of the biggest or most impressive wins in the Sean Payton Era.

Certainly our order can be dissected and changed and a game we left off could be put on the list. Feel free to leave your thoughts or memories on the particular game chosen today below in the comments section.

No. 10: Saints handle Cowboys in '06
No. 9: Saints maul Falcons in '11
No. 8: Saints overcome deficit, Dolphins in '09
No. 7: Saints ride Deuce to playoff win in '06
No. 6: Saints gives Steelers nightmares on Halloween in '10
No. 5: Saints overpower Patriots on MNF in '09
No. 4: Saints get off to good start in Payton Era in '06
No. 3: Saints earn first conference title
No. 2: Saints coolly win SB XLIV

No. 1: Saints give fan base glorious Dome return (Sept. 25, 2006)
Saints 23, Falcons 3

It would have been easy for the Saints to have emotionally been drained even prior to this game. The opening two games were on the road. There was no true home during the preseason as the Superdome was being repaired and training camp was in Jackson, Miss.

The city itself was emotionally spent from not just the previous year rebuilding after the Katrina, but from the buildup to this Monday night game against the city’s nemesis.

U2 and Green Day were set to play a pre-game concert with the Goo Goo Dolls entertaining outside the stadium before the game. The country’s interest in New Orleans’ football team was at its peak, at least to that point.

As remembered one fan nearly seven years later –

With all the emotions attached to the game years later, it’s easy to forget folks were still wondering just how good the Saints were. They were 2-0 heading into this game but the wins were against teams that went a combined 10-22 in 2005 and would finish only 12-20 in 2006.

But coach Sean Payton found a way to keep his players at just the right emotional level and the team knew what it had to do and it did it well.

Beginning with the blocked punt by Steve Gleason, which still resonates today as one of the seminal moments in New Orleans’ sporting history, the Saints and the crowd never let up.

New Orleans held the Falcons to just 229 total yards and sacked Michael Vick five times. Payton, meanwhile, showed he had a flair for calling the right plays at the right time, nailing the Devery Henderson end-around that resulted in an 11-yard touchdown.

Simply put, one word sums up one fan’s memory of the night:

And Erin Stephens’ thoughts likely are shared by many other people.