When the Saints last visited St. Louis it was in the 7th game of the Katrina-displaced 2005 season. The Saints would lose 28-17...their third loss in what would be six straight losses and one of the eleven losses the Saints would suffer in their last 12 games.
If the Saints were to go through a season winless, I truly believe it would not be more miserable than that one was. None could be.
Which made this weekend's trip back to St. Louis all the more remarkable in the way the fortunes of these two franchises have turned 180 degrees.
It's almost as if the two had somehow swapped identities in the four years since.
It is the former world champion Rams on perhaps their way to the worst season in franchise history. The never-champion Saints on their way to perhaps their best.
In St. Louis a dome that has had three naming rights partners since the Saints have been coming there has thousands of empty seats. Those that are occupied include thousands of Saints fans making more noise in support of the visitors than the home team gets from its own.
Back in New Orleans a dome that has never been able to sell its naming rights is filled to the brim for each home game. Tens of thousands of fans queue up for the privilege of paying for season tickets to be there.
In St. Louis they're worried about the potential sale of the team and the possibility it could be moved...maybe even back to Los Angeles.
In 2005 the move of the Saints from New Orleans was a very real possibility. Now there are no such worries for a team that's going nowhere....but up.
This weekend in St. Louis as soon as the locals found out you were from New Orleans, they only asked for mercy. You heard comparisons from St. Louis fans of the Saints to Mike Martz's Super Bowl champion 'Greatest Show on Turf' team...comparisons that often acknowledged the Saints as the better team.
After the Saints had taken a five-point victory Sunday in a game in which they never trailed...after the Saints had extended their record to a perfect 9-0...after the Rams had lost their 9th straight game at home and their 18th in 19 games overall, it was almost like these long-time bitter foes had swapped locker rooms.
And post-game locker-room reactions.
It was the Rams celebrating a moral victory for a change as a 5-point loser to a two-touchdown favorite.
The losing quarterback -- Mark Bulger -- said, 'There were a lot of positives. At the same time there were a lot of negatives.'
The winning quarterback Drew Brees might have said, 'There were a lot of negatives. At the same time there were a lot of positives.'
Ram center Jason Brown said, 'no one can walk out of this locker-room with their heads down.'
That was almost the posture you would have expected the saints to exit theirs the 9 and 0 Saints. The runaway leaders of the NFC South.
Of the 2009 Saints, great things are expected. Of the 2005 Saints, only bad things were.
So much has changed for the better since.
Of that we should be so thankful.