Do you remember when Mickey Loomis was first hired to become the general manager of the Saints? I sure do. His predecessor, Randy Mueller, was widely respected as an elite NFL mind and he immediately gained the approval of all Saints fans when under his umbrella the Saints were able to transform themselves from a 3-13 team to a team that had won their first ever playoff game in team history in just one season.
Despite his huge success with the Saints, Mueller was abruptly fired just two years into the job for reasons that are still to this day unknown. Some thought he was fired for trading Ricky Williams without Tom Benson's approval. Others theorized that Benson was furious at Mueller's attempt to cover up some inappropriate story involving Jim Haslett. Regardless of the rumors and the reasons behind the firing, there is no question Tom Benson caught everyone off guard. When Benson began searching for Mueller's replacement, he seemed distrusting of everyone out there based on his experience with Mueller, which he essentially described as a backstabbing experience.
At first Benson said something to the effect of "right now there is no General Manager, in fact, I'm the General Manager". I remember that quote because I shuttered at the idea of Benson making personnel decisions involving players. As bad as the Saints were historically, Benson as a GM could have turned the organization into a bigger joke.
Then, he decided to promote the team's financial head Mickey Loomis. At the time Loomis had zero experience evaluating players and he himself admitted he would have to learn a bit on a fly. Loomis had a financial background and was praised for his ability to manage the cap, but the move was widely criticized and Loomis was often referred to as a "bean-counter."
Fast forward to today and I don't need to tell you where the organization is now. You guys already know all the history. Say what you will about the Saints and Mickey Loomis but they've made the playoffs three out of the last five years with one Super Bowl win, one NFC Championship birth, two division titles and just one losing record season.
Loomis was also named "NFL executive of the Year" in 2007. While Sean Payton and Drew Brees both certainly helped Loomis on his road to credibility, I don't think any of us ever imagined that he'd have this kind of success as a GM when he was first hired. Honestly, I never imagined in my wildest dreams he'd get this far. Loomis has turned the franchise into a respectable program that's now feared around the league.
So be honest: did you ever think Mickey Loomis would ever make it this far as GM? Did anyone?