/Who Dat In the ‘Sip, the Saints that’s who

Who Dat In the ‘Sip, the Saints that’s who

The Vikings have former Ole Miss stars Laquon Treadwell and Belhaven’s Tramaine, as well as ex-Southern Miss Golden Eagles Tom Johnson, Rashod Hill, and ex-Southern Miss Golden Eagles Tom Johnson. However, the Saints are still Mississippi’s team. Since New Orleans became an NFL city 51 years ago, they have been there. The Saints home games cause congestion on Interstates 59 and 55. Interstate 10 is jammed with Mississippians who travel to and from the game. Officials from the Saints claim that nearly 4,000 Mississippians own season tickets. Four of the Superdome’s luxurious suites can be leased to Mississippi individuals or businesses. Michael Stanfield, senior vice president of sales for the Saints, stated that Mississippi is part of their community and the Saints family. “We have great relationships with many Mississippi businesses, from South Mississippi to Jackson.” “We had training camp in Jackson from 2006 to 2008 and continued building relationships with state government and businesses there.” But Mississippi and the Saints have a shared history that goes back beyond the 21st Century. Who was the original Saint? Paige Cothren was the first Saints player to be signed. She is a former Ole Miss Rebel from Natchez. Many of the early Saints teams were trained in Hattiesburg, Southern Miss. Drew Brees isn’t the Saints’ most loved quarterback, but Archie Manning, Drew’s former quarterback, is. Manning was the first Saint to see his jersey number on the wall at the Louisiana Superdome. Manning did not have a winning season, but he was so productive in defeat that he was widely respected by opponents. He also played in Pro Bowls, and was once the NFC’s offensive MVP. Manning’s time (1971-82) spent with the Saints was a significant part of the relationship between the Saints, and the Magnolia State. Brees is now the Saints’ most prolific all-time passer. However, Deuce McAllister (from Lena, Morton High School, and Ole Miss) remains the Saints’ all-time leading rusher. McAllister will provide radio commentary for Sunday’s game. It’s not known that Jim Henderson, Saints’ radio play-by-play, lives in Mississippi, on a fishing lake, in rural Pearl River County. Joe Horn, the Saints’ third-leading pass receiver, has never played senior college football, but he did play his junior college football at Itawamba, Fulton. Fred McAfee, a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Mississippi College, is most likely the Saints’ best non-kicking special team player. Fast Freddie is still employed by the Saints as director for player engagement. Did you also know that the Saints first ever starting-free safety was Jimmy Heidel (a Yazoo City native who played for Ole Miss in football), later to become Mississippi’s chief economic developer? He was. Deuce McAllister was the first to wear jersey number 26, in black and golden, long before Heidel. Heidel began his rookie season in the Saints’ first training camp in 1968. He was then unceremoniously terminated. Heidel, who was interviewed shortly after, said to a reporter: “Somedays, you’re windshield, some days, you’re bug …”” In 1968, and for many years afterwards, the Saints most Sundays were the bug. They persevered through the hurricanes Camille, Katrina, and many more. Mississippians shared their misery and hardships during those terrible storms. That shared misery, and the joy at the Saints’ triumph from Katrina’s aftermath, have much to do Mississippi’s love for the Saints.