On November 1, 1966, the New Orleans Saints franchise was established.
The team saw its inaugural season in 1967, and spent the first several seasons playing outside at Tulane Stadium until they found a their permanent home at The Louisiana Superdome in 1974.
Success didn't come easy for the black and gold for nearly two decades. The infamous bag fans from the days of the 'Aints' ruled the 1980 season, and it wasn't until 1987 that the team tasted their first postseason.
In honor of the New Orleans Saints upcoming 50th season, we look at the top 50 players to grace the Crescent City. This list will exclude head coaches and front office personnel, but it's worth mentioning that I contemplated putting important figures such as Bum Phillips, Tom Benson, Jim Mora, and Sean Payton on this list. Also, any players within the last several seasons have been omitted.
50. Tracy Porter (2008-2011)
Kicking off our list is one of the many heroes from the 2009 Super Bowl year, Tracy Porter. Porter's career didn't start off like he wanted, as he spent 2008 on injured reserve with a dislocated wrist. In 2009, Porter made all the right plays when it counted most, most notably the Brett Favre interception in the championship game against the Minnesota Vikings and the pick six in the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. Porter's hometown of Port Allen, LA actually honored the superstar by naming a street after him called Porter Allen.
49. Scott Fujita (2006-2009)
Scott Fujita was the first free agent to join the Saints during the 2006 campaign, reuniting with his former position coach Sean Payton. Fujita was a great leader for the Saints, and it's hard to imagine the Saints success without his services. Fujita will be known throughout New Orleans for three things: The Peyton Manning-Super Bowl Oreo talk, retiring as a Saint atop Machu Piccu, and his continued friendship and support of Steve Gleason.
48. John Carney (2001-2006; 2009-2010)
It's extremely difficult for kickers to get respect on many lists, but John Carney is the franchise's second highest scoring leader, behind someone else who may or may not appear on this list later. Carney's tenure with the Saints ended with 768 points. Carney made 168 field goals with the black and gold, and was elected to the Saints Hall of Fame in 2014.
47. Dave Whitsell (1967-1969)
Dave Whitsell was one of the originals when the franchise came into existence. In just several short seasons (with a 14-game season at the time, mind you), Whitsell racked up 19 interceptions for the Saints. That's still good for fifth-best in franchise history, and he was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 1996. What's most impressive about Whitsell is he did this at the end of his career, which started in 1958.
46. Tommy Barnhardt (1987; 1989-1994; 1999)
The Saints used to be known for their stellar special teams duo, and Tommy Barnhardt was the Saints punter for some time. Barnhardt saw three different stints with the Saints, and was selected to the club's 45th Anniversary Team. Barnhardt was a quality and consistent punter for the black and gold for many seasons.
Stay tuned as we reach No. 1 before Sunday’s home opener against the Oakland Raiders.