by Bobby Jindal
In 1966, the American Football League and National Football League wanted an anti-trust exemption from Congress allowing them to merge. Sen. Russell Long, chairman of the Finance Committee, and Rep. Hale Boggs, House majority whip, wanted a professional football team for Louisiana. The leagues got their exemption, and NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced New Orleans’ team on All Saints Day, 1966.
The owners wanted to call the team the Saints, but did not want to offend the local Catholic community. New Orleans Archbishop Philip Hannan, nicknamed the “Jumping Padre,” had served as chaplain for the 82th Airborne Division during World War II. He gave his blessing, but warned most of the church’s saints were martyrs.
The late Hannan’s warning proved prophetic, as the Saints went 20 years without a winning record, with only two teams reaching .500. One of the team’s few highlights came in 1970, when Tom Dempsey kicked an NFL record 63-yard field goal…
Read More: The Federalist