Saints Spectacular Cinco de Mayo Celebration

The Astros had fireworks at their 2012 Cinco de Mayo celebration. - Bob Levey

In honor of today being Cinco de Mayo, I have prepared this very special Saints post to educate and entertain the CSC faithful...

Today is Cinco de Mayo, aka the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, which is a national holiday of great significance in Mexico. It is on this date in 1862 that a small force of undermanned and overwhelmed troops defeated the French (Napoleon III) in what would become a very powerful "symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination." SOURCE

Instead of using this as an excuse to get hammered on a work night by over-indulging in Tequila and Tecate in a ridiculous attempt to "celebrate" Mexican culture, I suggest you "celebrate" right here with us on CSC, by reading my ridiculous attempts to connect the New Orleans Saints to Mexico and the number 5.

The first and most obvious way to do this is to note that on August 5, 1978, the Saints took on the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason game in Mexico City, which was the first NFL game ever played south of the border.

Wayne Mack chronicled the game in this paragraph from his seminal tome, The Saga of the Saints:

In 1978, the regular season was expanded to 16 games with four exhibition games, and the Saints and Philadelphia Eagles made NFL history, when they became the first NFL teams to play in Mexico. On August 5, opening the exhibition season in Mexico City, the Saints beat the Eagles 14-7, with rookie (Wes) Chandler running a punt back 92 yards for a touchdown. Thirty thousand Mexicans and a few hundred Saints fans enjoyed the game, but everyone stewed on the team plane while it was delayed on the ground, after Mexican ground control told the Saints' pilot he did not have permission to fly over Mexican territory. Finally, adios and back to Vero Beach.

This sidebar from the same page in the book told more of the story...

Viva los Santos! On August 5, 1978, the Saints beat the Eagles, 14-7, in the first NFL game played in Mexico. It was a financial failure, however, as the Mexican government gave the team only half the agreed upon payment and delayed the funds for more than a year.

Ha! I wonder what dear ole Rog would do to London if that kind of thing happened in today's International Series.

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Now on to the numerology section.

Five players have worn the #5 as their jersey number, and the first one did it in 1987. Quick, before scrolling down any further, and without checking Google, can you name any of them besides the FPK extraordinaire, Mr. Bow-Hunting Garrett Hartley? Truth be told, I only knew one of them.

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Here's the list of the other @Super Saints@ who wore the #5:

Florian Kempf, replacement (scab) place kicker during the 1987 season. Want to know how many FGs he attempted for the Saints? Five!!

Heath Shuler, 1997-98 quarterback and absolute jewel of Ditka's QB corps during his Saints tenure. Heath not only once threw 5 interceptions in a game for the Washington Redskins, but Dit-Ku traded a 1997 5th-round pick and 1998 3rd-round pick to the Redskins for him.

Adrian McPherson, 5th-round (how about that!) draft choice in 2005, and quarterback whose sole Saints claim to fame was getting run over by the Titans mascot, who was driving a golf cart at halftime of their 2006 preseason game. Did you know that he eventually ended up suing the Titans for over $20 million in punitive and compensatory damages? Here's a pdf of "Document 8" in those legal proceedings.

Taylor Mehlhaff, place kicker for part of the 2008 season. I know it's hard on us to recall that season of place kicking woes, so that's all I'm going to write about this.

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I hope you've enjoyed my Saints Cinco de Mayo Celebration kickoff. You can add to the fun by sharing your own Saints-Mexico or Saints-"5" connections in the comment thread. Gracias y felicitaciones!

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