Nov. 1, 1966: The old New Orleans States-Item headline proclaims “N.O. GOES PRO!” as the city is awarded the NFL’s 16th franchise on All Saints Day.
Jan. 9, 1967: In a fan vote, the franchise is named the Saints over suggestions such as the Tarpons, Crawfish, Cajuns and Mudbugs – just to name a few.
March 8, 1967: Season-ticket sales for the Saints’ inaugural season begin and long lines yield 20,000 sales on the first day alone.
July 6, 1967: Former LSU fullback Jimmy Taylor gives the Saints local star power by signing with the Saints after a Hall of Fame career with the Green Bay Packers.
Sept. 13, 1967: In the team’s regular-season debut, John Gilliam takes the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown against the Rams.
Nov. 5, 1967: Walt “Flea” Roberts’ three TDs lift the Saints to their first regular-season win in franchise history, 31-24 over the Eagles in Tulane Stadium.
Dempsey was born without toes on his right foot
Nov. 8, 1970: Tom Dempsey crushes an NFL-record 63-yard field goal as time expires to give the Saints a 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Jan. 28, 1971: The Saints select Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning, a Mississippi native, with the second overall pick in the draft.
Sept. 19, 1971: Rookie quarterback Archie Manning sinks the Rams on the final play of his NFL debut with a 1-yard touchdown run for a dramatic 24-20 victory.
Aug. 3, 1975: The Louisiana Superdome is dedicated, just six days before the Saints fall 13-7 to the Oilers in their preseason opener.
Dec. 16, 1979: Saints beat the eventual NFC champion Rams to finish 8-8 and clinch the first non-losing season in the franchise’s 13-year history.
Dec. 20, 1981: Running back George Rogers finishes the season with an NFL rookie-record 1,674 rushing yards.
Sept. 4, 1983: George Rogers rushes for a club-record 206 yards in a 28-17 season-opening win over the Cardinals in the Superdome.
March 12, 1985: Tom Benson reaches an agreement with the original Saints owner John Mecom Jr. to buy the franchise for $70.2 million.
Jan. 14, 1986: Tom Benson hires Jim Finks as president and general manager. Two weeks later, Finks tabs Jim Mora as the franchise’s 10th head coach.
Oct. 4, 1987: With regular players on strike, New Orleans native John Fourcade quarterbacks the Saints replacement players to a win over the Rams.
Oct. 25, 1987: After a gut-wrenching 24-22 loss to the 49ers, coach Jim Mora issues his now-famous “woulda, coulda, shoulda” proclamation to the media.
The Dome Patrol
Nov. 29, 1987: Two goal-line stands in the fourth quarter against the Steelers in Pittsburgh preserve a 20-16 victory and clinch the Saints’ first winning season.
Dec. 6, 1987: The Saints down the Bucs 44-34 in the Superdome to clinch their first playoff appearance in the franchise’s 21st season of play.
Dec. 20, 1987: Down 24-3 in second quarter at Cincinnati, the Saints rally for a 41-24 victory to erase at the time the largest deficit in club history.
Dec. 31, 1990: Morten Andersen’s 24-yard field goal with two seconds left gives the Saints a 20-17 win over the Rams and a playoff berth.
Dec. 22, 1991: The Saints dominate the Cardinals 27-3 to clinch the NFC West title, their first division crown in franchise history.
Feb. 7, 1993: Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills, Pat Swilling and Vaughan Johnson play in the Pro Bowl, the first time four linebackers from one team are chosen for the game.
Oct. 23, 1994: New Orleanian Tyrone Hughes returns two kickoffs for TDs and sets four NFL records in a wild 37-34 victory over the Rams.
Nov. 26, 2000: In his first NFL start, QB Aaron Brooks leads the Saints to a 31-24 upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Rams in St. Louis.
Dec. 30, 2000: After going 0-4 in the franchise’s first four postseason appearances, the Saints beat the Rams 31-28 in a wild-card game to earn the team’s first playoff victory.
Oct. 13, 2002: Michael Lewis becomes the seventh player in NFL history to return a punt and kickoff for TDs in the same game in the 43-27 rout of the Redskins.
Nov. 30, 2003: Deuce McAllister piles up 165 rushing yards, his ninth 100-yard game in a row, in a 24-20 win over the Redskins.
Dec. 14, 2003: Flashy wide receiver Joe Horn reels in a club-record four touchdown catches in a 45-7 primetime bashing of the Giants.
Dec. 21, 2003: The Saints get an improbable last-play, 75-yard TD on a pass and three laterals at Jacksonville, but lose when John Carney misses the PAT.
Sorry Carney! Sorry for making you the poster child for this MUST SEE play that no doubt deserves a spot on this list
Sept. 11, 2005: Chased from their home city by Hurricane Katrina, the Saints open the season with an emotional 23-20 win over the Panthers.
Dec. 30, 2005: After months of speculation about the Saints’ post-Katrina future, Tom Benson announces the team’s return to New Orleans for the 2006 season.
Jan. 18, 2006: Saints officials introduce Dallas Cowboys assistant Sean Payton as the 14th head coach in franchise history.
March 14, 2006: Drew Brees signs a six-year, $60 million contract to begin his career with Saints as one of the league’s greatest free-agent signees.
Sept. 25, 2006: In the first home game after Katrina, Steve Gleason’s blocked punt in the opening minutes sparks a pulsating 23-3 blowout of the Falcons.
Jan. 21, 2007: The Saints advance to the NFC Championship game for the first time, but fall to the Chicago Bears 39-14 at frigid Soldier Field.
Dec. 28, 2008: Drew Brees becomes only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season when he finishes with 5,069 yards.
Oct. 25, 2009: Saints come all the way back from a 24-3 second-quarter deficit at Miami to register a stirring 46-34 win over the Dolphins.
Dec. 6, 2009: Wide receiver Robert Meachem strips an interception from a defender and returns ball 44 yards for a key TD in the Saints’ 12th victory in a row.
Dec. 13, 2009: With a satisfying 26-23 victory over the Falcons in Atlanta, the Saints become seventh team in NFL history to start a season 13-0.
Jan. 24, 2010: Saints post a 31-28 overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings in NFC Championship game to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time.
Feb. 7, 2010: After a surprise recovered onside kick starts the second half, Tracy Porter’s 74-yard interception return for a TD seals Saints first Super Bowl win, defeating Colts 31-17.
Oct. 23, 2011: Saints set a club record for scoring with 62-7 primetime romp over the Colts in the newly named Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Dec. 26, 2011: Drew Brees breaks Dan Marino’s 27-year-old single-season passing record of 5,084 yards. Brees finishes the season with 5,476 yards.
Jan. 1, 2012: Saints finish with an NFL-record 7,474 total yards, shattering an old mark of 7,075 set by the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” in 2000.
Also on this date: Jimmy Graham surpassed the single season receiving yards by a tight end with 1,310 yards. The previous record was 1,290 yards
Additionally on this date: Darren Sproles sets an NFL record for most all-purpose yards in a season with 1,313 yards.
Oct. 7, 2012: Drew Brees throws a TD pass in his 48th consecutive game, surpassing the 52-year-old NFL record of 47 held by Johnny Unitas.
Oct. 7, 2012: The Saints record their 300th regular-season victory in franchise history with a 31-24 triumph over the Chargers in the Superdome.
Nov. 10, 2013: Saints set an NFL record with 40 first downs and pile up a club-record 625 total yards in a 49-17 primetime pasting of the Cowboys.
Jan. 4, 2014: Saints record their first postseason road win, 26-24 at Philadelphia, on Shayne Graham’s 32-yard field goal during the game’s final play.
Nov. 1, 2015: Drew Brees ties an NFL record and sets franchise mark with seven TD passes and 505 yards passing during a 52-49 win over the Giants.
Compiled by Sheldon Mickles sportswriter Design and animations by Dan Swenson graphics editor