Eight days separate us from the New Orleans Saints first challenge of the 2017 season. A Monday Night Football primetime affair with the Minnesota Vikings awaits Sean Payton’s squad, as the black and gold travel north in the first game of a double-header event to close out the league’s opening weekend. To commemorate the countdown, we look at the history of the No. 8, which only has only had one player sport it in franchise history.
Archie Manning, AV 84 (1971-1982)
Back in the day, Archie Manning, or 'Mr. Saint' to some, was the face of the Saints franchise. He was the NFL’s 2nd overall pick in the 1st Round of the 1971 draft, and went on to play ten seasons for the black and gold.
By today's NFL standards, Manning's stats were pretty bad. He was sacked some 340 times, sported a 27 percent career winning percentage with a 35-91-3 record, 21,734 passing yards, and had 115 touchdowns as opposed to 156 interceptions. However, that's not necessarily what Manning was known for.
For starters, Manning was a well-respected figure across the NFL. The Saints were atrocious, for all intents and purposes, but Manning did anything and everything he could to make something happen. Although I can't say that I've personally witnessed him playing, film shows just how much dedication he had and how interesting of a player he was to watch. He was an icon in New Orleans, and many aspiring athletes looked up to this childhood hero.
Manning was sent to two Pro Bowls in 1978 and 1979, and was also named the NFC's offensive player of the year in 1978. When the Saints first introduced their Hall of Fame in 1988, it was Manning and Abramowicz as the first two inductees. No one has worn No. 8 for the Saints since 1982, and you shouldn’t ever expect that to change. That was Archie Manning.
Post-Saints playing career: In 1982, New Orleans only saw a total of nine games and went 4-5 due to a 57-day players’ strike. Manning was traded to the Houston Oilers on Sept. 17 in exchange for an offensive lineman (Leon Gray). In turn, then head coach Bum Phillips was left with a well past his prime Kenny Stabler. Manning would spend the final four years of his career between the Oilers and Vikings (1983-84), and would never win another game in the NFL, going 0-10.
As we know now, Archie’s sons Peyton and Eli had their fair share of success in the NFL, while his oldest, Cooper, had to seek other ventures due to a spinal stenosis diagnosis.