After watching the NFL championship get awarded this past Sunday in Super Bowl LIV, Who Dat Nation has the opportunity to reminisce about the greatest Super Bowl, in Super Bowl XLIV. Astonishingly, ten years have passed since the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts to secure the Saints’ first NFL World Championship. The Saints victory that night represented the culmination of the hopes and dreams of a fanbase that had been downtrodden for over four decades, and devastated just four years earlier.
Today, Canal Street Chronicles takes a look back at this momentous occasion with our own recollections as well as your memories of the Super Bowl. We look at where the last of those champion Saints stand today and where the franchise goes forward with them. Now that ten years have passed, it’s astonishing how much has changed and what has remained the same. Over the last decade, the Saints looked less at trying to win another title before the window closed and started looking at opening another window altogether. Bad drafting and worse free agent signings forced the Saints to re-evaluate how they evaluated talent during their stretch of 7-9 seasons. They found a way to reverse course from mediocrity to becoming perennial contenders by drafting successfully and spending (mostly) wisely in recent seasons. Some fans may have looked at the fifth anniversary as their chance to symbolically leave behind the 2009 season and put to bed the title of the past, but as time passes by, you truly learn to appreciate that accomplishment without saddling it with any of the baggage of current failures.
As of today, only one player is currently under contract that also played for the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV, and that player is All-Pro punter Thomas Morstead. Morstead was in his rookie season when the Saints won the Super Bowl and is unforgettably directly responsible for one of the defining plays of the game. That play, of course, is the succesful onside kick that opened the second half, famously referred to as “Ambush”. Morstead has been arguably the NFL’s best punter over the last decade and he is absolutely still part of the Saints’ future as he is under contract until 2023.
Now there is still one other name that has been, and still may be, with the Saints, and that would be Super Bowl XLIV MVP and future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. Brees has yet to sign a new contract with the Saints and rumors of his possible retirement continue to swirl, but it is not only conceivable, but highly likely that the Saints retain Brees and the franchise’s all-time greatest quarterback returns to try to win his elusive second Super Bowl title.
It isn't often that a franchise will have any active players on the roster after a decade on the team, but it may be even more rare that a franchise has as many people on the coaching staff and in the front office for as long as well. Here are the names that were with the Saints during the 2009 season and are with the franchise today:
Executive Vice President/General Manager - Mickey Loomis
Director/Vice President of Football Operations - Khai Harley
Head Coach - Sean Payton
Offensive Coordinator - Pete Carmichael, Jr.
Quarterbacks Coach - Joe Lombardi
Receivers Coach (2009)/Senior Offensive Assistant Coach (2020) - Curtis Johnson
Secondary Coach (2009)/Defensive Coordinator (2020) - Dennis Allen
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach - Dan Dalrymple
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach - Charles Byrd
This amount of stability at the top of the organization has clearly been one of the biggest keys to the Saints’ long-term success over the last decade, since winning their first (and hopefully not last) Super Bowl title. Saints owner Gayle Benson clearly has the same amount of faith and trust in Loomis and Payton that her husband Tom Benson had. The Saints have succeeded because of that faith and they are likely to continue to succeed because of that trust.
We have an entire offseason to break down the immediate future of the Saints. Debating who should be signed, re-signed, drafted, cut, and coveted. We will be getting to ALL of that here, but today, on this special anniversary, we ask you to give us your thoughts, feelings, and recollections of that life-changing day of February 7, 2010. Leave us your stories and memories in the comments section below, and get ready to join us again for another chance to celebrate the Saints’ Super Sunday.
This Saturday (tomorrow), February 8th at 2:30 pm Central time (12:30pm Pacific / 1:30pm Mountain / 3:30pm Eastern) we will host an open game thread for Super Bowl XLIV. All you have to do is turn on NFL Network at this time as the game will be airing in its entirety, and join us with your comments from this incredible game. If we’re going to watch one more football game, one more Sunday, we might as well make it the most memorable game Who Dat Nation has ever seen. So join us for a look at our unforgettable past before we begin our look towards the future. WHO DAT!