Welcome, Who Dats, to the first in a continuing series this offseason as we take a look at every player in Saints history by jersey number and try to determine who were the very best to rep digits in Black-N-Gold.
This will be a study of not only who was the best player to wear a particular number for the Saints but it also allows us to look at and remember some of the players we may have forgotten who played for the team and wore a certain number.
For example, anyone who doesn't agree that Rickey Jackson is THE GREATEST PLAYER TO EVER WEAR #57 IN NEW ORLEANS SAINTS HISTORY can get the @#$% off this blog, NOW!
But... although Rickey is in fact the best player ever to wear that number, who else has worn the number and how well did they play for the Saints?
The members of CSC will get to vote on who you believe is the best player to wear a particular number for our beloved Saints. The list can go into our Archives just like CSC's All-Time Saints Team.
In today's feature we'll be looking at jersey numbers - 0, 00, 1
0 - Obert Logan
The only player in Saints history to wear number "0" was also the last player in NFL history to wear the single digit "0" before it was discontinued by the league (well, except for the few players who have worn it since, that the NFL doesn't acknowledge).
Obert was acquired by the Saints in the expansion draft of 1967 (from the Cowboys, where he spent his first two NFL seasons) and played one season for the team at Safety with 3 interceptions. He was released by the Saints in 1968 for refusing to pronounce his first name by the more Cajun friendly sounding "O-Bear".
Okay, that last part might not necessarily be true. But, it should be.
Noteworthy moment as a Saint: O-Bear had an interception in the Saints regular season finale win over the Washington Redskins which was their first ever victory on the road.
00 - Ken Burrough
The only player in Saints history to wear number "00" and one of only two players (along with HOFer Jim Otto) to wear the number in the NFL. Burrough was the Saints 1st Round draft pick in 1970 and after only one season with the team, was traded to the Houston Oilers (along with Dave Rowe) and spent the next 11 seasons building a nice reputation for himself as a Pro-Bowler for Bum Phillips "Luv ya Blue" teams.
Think Archie could have used him during those years?
Noteworthy moment as a Saint: Caught a TD pass from Edd Hargett in the Saints 14-10 win over the Giants in 1970 which was their first time beating the Giants in Tulane Stadium.
1 - Garo Yepremian, Benny Ricardo, Martin Gramatica
GARO YEPREMIAN - The Saints claimed Yepremian off waivers in 1979, the same year they drafted Russell Erxleben in the 1st round of the draft (oy vey!). Yepremian was a former All-Pro who had spent 9 seasons with the Dolphins and was expected to be a veteran presence who would be there until Erxleben (a punter/kicker) eventually took over the place kicking duties.
That season, he made 12 of 16 FG attempts (75%) and was 39 of 40 on extra points. Which was pretty damn good for the 1970's. Yepremian's reliability at kicker was a nice addition for the Saints that season as they assembled a squad which had the 4th ranked offense in the NFL and went 8-8 for their first non-losing season in franchise history.
Yepremian was cut by the Saints during training camp of the 1980 season as the Saints decided to go with Erxleben.
Noteworthy moment as a Saint: Keeping Erxleben from lining up to kick.
BENNY RICARDO - Well, the "Russell Erxleben Experiment" as an NFL placekicker in 1980 lasted two games. He missed 3 of 5 FGs in the first two games of the season including two misses in the Saints 26-23 loss to the 49ers in the season opener. The Saints brought in Ricardo to take over the kicking duties and Erxleben remained the punter for the remainder of the season. Ricardo was 10 of 17 on FG attempts (58%) and 31 of 34 on extra points.
Ricardo actually started out the season perfect on 7 of 7 kicks during his first 4 games with the team. But, it didn't matter because the winless Saints were in the middle of a 14 game losing streak and would finish the season at 1-15. During his next 9 games with the team he contributed to the losses by going 1 of 8 during that stretch. When the Saints finally beat the Jets to end their losing streak in the 15th game of the season, 21-20, Ricardo missed his only FG attempt of the game.
He kept the job as kicker in 1981 for Bum Phillips, but was even worse, going 13 of 25 on FG attempts (52%) and contributing to losses in several close games for the 4-12 Saints who were not as bad as their record indicated that season (they beat the Super Bowl bound and AFC Champion for that season, Cincinnati Bengals, in the Dome 17-7).
After that, Bum had enough, and in 1982 he drafted a fella who would solidify the Saints kicking position for the next 13 seasons - Morten Andersen.
Noteworthy moment(s) as a Saint: (1) Again, keeping Erxleben from lining up to kick. (2) Sucking so bad that the Saints had to draft Morten Andersen. (3) Cracking up teammates in the locker room during the Saints 14 game losing streak in 1980. Today, Ricardo works as a stand-up comedian.
(Maybe that's why the Saints were so comical on the field that season?)
MARTIN GRAMATICA - Appeared in 8 games for the Saints over parts of two seasons - 2007 & 2008. His most memorable moments for me came in two losses for the Saints in 2008 over a 3 game span that were two of Reggie Bush's best games as a Saints player.
Gramatica missed 2 FGs in each game that affected the outcome of both games. To be fair, he actually missed 3 FGs and 1 was blocked as he went 2 for 7 in these two games - a 32-34 loss to the Broncos in Denver and a 27-30 loss to the Vikings in the Dome.
In the Broncos game, he missed a 51 yarder to end the first half and a 43 yarder with two minutes remaining in the game that would have given the Saints the lead at 35-34.
In the Vikings game, he had a 46 yard FG blocked in the 1st quarter which was returned for a TD by the Vikings. He also missed a 43 yarder, again with two minutes remaining in the 4th quarter (just like the Broncos game) that would have given the Saints the lead at 30-27.
Thankfully, this would be the last game in which Gramatica would ever kick for the Saints.
Noteworthy moment as a Saint: This was the LAST time the Vikings beat the Saints.
WHO DAT!! TAKE THAT VIQUEENS!!
Since numbers 0 and 00 were each worn by only one player there's obviously no need for a vote. The best player to ever wear jersey number "1" for the Saints will be decided in the poll below.
So, have at it, Who Dats!
And stayed tuned for the next episode in our series: "That Grinning Jackass"