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NFL Hall of Fame Game and the New Orleans Saints: An Historical Perspective

As we head into tonight's kickoff to the 2013 NFL preseason with some "live action" in the annual Hall of Fame Game, let's take a look at the historical footprint the New Orleans Saints have stomped all over this game.

Will these boys join their father in the HOF same day? With technique like that, only if they buy tickets.
Will these boys join their father in the HOF same day? With technique like that, only if they buy tickets.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The 2013 NFL Hall of Fame Game pits the Dallas Cowboys and their hot seat-perched, lost-his-play-calling-duties head coach Jason Garrett against the free-wheeling, big-FA-spending Miami Dolphins and their updated marine mammal helmets. Try to contain your excitement, and I hope to see you all in the Open Thread tonight. Can you taste it???? Kind of real football is back!! (sort of)

Last night, the Class of 2013 was formally inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, as fans in attendance and watching at home on TV were treated to a sweaty Chris Berman emceeing a night of speeches from and highlight reels of Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Dave Robinson, and Warren Sapp. CLICK HERE for more on all that hooplah from the official HOF page.

In honor of this annual weekend of rich NFL tradition, I have done some research to bring you the history of the New Orleans Saints and the Hall of Fame Game. SOURCE

The Saints have appeared in the game five times in their 46-year history, and sport a 2-3 record overall.




Saints 14, Vikings 13


Steelers 27, Saints 14


Colts 10, Saints 3


Steelers 20, Saints 7


Saints 17, Cardinals 10

Even though they have a ho-hum record, the team's first three appearances involved noteworthy HOF Game record-setting events...

1970 - The top and bottom of the Saints draft class that year really took over this game as Ken Burrough, a WR out of Texas Southern (selected 10th overall by the team) had 11 receptions for 130 yards, and 17th-round (426th overall) DB Doug Wyatt from Tulsa ran back a fumble 50 yards for a TD. Burrough's 11 catches are still a HOF Game all-time high, and his yardage total is now second only to Mark Bradley's 131 receiving yards as a Chicago Bear in 2005. Wyatt's return still stands as the longest fumble return in game history. SOURCE

With this kind of beginning, those players surely went on to have long and illustrious careers with the Saints, right? Wrong. Burrough did play for 12 seasons and made two Pro Bowls SOURCE, but 11 of those years and all of the Pro Bowl berths came with the Houston Oilers. D'oh! Wyatt, who played in the league for a total of five years, notched 4 interceptions in each of his first two years with the Saints as a cornerback and safety, but then none in his final three with the Saints and then the Detroit Lions SOURCE. Guh.

1983 - On the flip side of glorious history, this game saw dubious team records fall (that to this day still lay fallen and dead, firmly ensconced in the grasp of the Saints) as the defense let Pittsburgh's offense have their way with them on the ground by allowing 48 rushes, while the Saints offense threw five interceptions. SOURCE

1996 - I don't even know how to rate this one involving special teams. Are boring records worse than bad records? You'll just have to decide that for yourself. In this game, the final punter of the Jim Mora Era, Klaus Wilmsmeyer, established the still standing individual and team record of punting average with 52.8 (4 punts for 211 total yards). SOURCE

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Now you know everything that I do about the historical impact the New Orleans Saints have had on this game. You're welcome. Did I miss anything? Do any of these games hold a personal or other significance for you? If so, let us know in the comment section.

And while you're here, be sure to vote in the poll and let us know if you'll visit the Open Thread later tonight!

But before you go, let's chase some links to enjoy v-roll of the only two longtime Saints who are currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame...