New Orleans Saints’ biggest legends in team history
The New Orleans Saints have become a perennial playoff team and Super Bowl contender over the last 15 or so years, though things have not always been on the upswing for the now dominant NFC South franchise. Even so, playing in New Orleans has always given players the platform to turn into superstars while the Saints franchise has produced more than a few notable — and infamous — players along the way.
With players becoming well known for a variety of different reasons upon suiting up for the Saints, there is no doubt that New Orleans has created at least a handful of sure-fire legends.
1. Drew Brees, Quarterback (2006 – Present)
Future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees is no doubt the most recognizable face in the history of the New Orleans Saints franchise. Coming over to New Orleans via free agency by way of the San Diego Chargers back in 2006, Brees has remained under center ever since while most notably leading the Saints to the team’s first and only Super Bowl title in 2009.
Since originally arriving in New Orleans, Brees has reached 12 Pro Bowls, won a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, earned two Offensive Player of the Year Awards, and became a Super Bowl MVP. The Saints have reached the postseason eight times under Brees’ direction while winning a total of eight playoffs games during that same span.
2. Willie Roaf, Offensive Tackle (1993 – 2001)
A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, longtime New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Willie Roaf still managed to become perhaps the best all-around player in franchise history despite not playing a premiere skill position. Nonetheless, Roaf notably reached seven straight Pro Bowl in addition to becoming a two-time a first-team All-Pro selection.
Giving the Saints the most stability possible at the left tackle position for nearly a decade, Roaf was unfortunately only rewarded by New Orleans with one trip to the postseason and a single playoff win between the 1993-94 and 2001-02 campaigns. Although players are often graded depending on the team’s success with them on the field, Roaf’s individual skill set and ability to serve as the most dominant player on the field simply cannot be denied.
3. Sean Payton, Head Coach (2006 – Present)
Forever linked to quarterback Drew Brees, current New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton also made his way to the “Big Easy” ahead of the 2006 campaign en route to becoming a legend of the game in no time at all. Leading the team to its first-ever Super Bowl title alongside Brees, Payton is a former NFL Coach of the Year Award winner, which came in his first season with the franchise, and has led the team to eight different trips to the postseason while winning eight playoff games along the way.
Under Payton’s guidance, the Saints have won their division six times while reaching the NFC Championship Game three times, all of which is obviously highlighted by the team’s Super Bowl run back in 2009. As it stands today, it is hard to argue against the notion that Payton is the best head coach in the history of the Saints organization.
4. Archie Manning, Quarterback (1971 – 1982)
It is safe to say that longtime NFL quarterback Archie Manning did not encounter a ton of team-related success during his more than a decade-long stint as a member of the New Orleans Saints. With the Saints serving as one of the worst teams in the entire NFL during Manning’s time in the bayou, New Orleans didn’t even reach the postseason once during that same span.
However, Manning was no doubt incredibly talented while his name would eventually carry on in the league — and in a big way at that — with his sons, Peyton and Eli, winning a total of four Super Bowl titles. Even with his lack of success with the franchise, it is hard to count out a player as well-known as Manning when compiling a list of this nature.
5. Marques Colston, Wide Receiver (2006 – 2015)
While it was not initially expected, longtime New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston ultimately became the most decorated pass catcher in the history of the franchise. Yet another piece of the puzzle that entered the mix back in 2006, Colston will always be linked to both quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton as the trio led the way for the Saints as the franchise won its first and only Super Bowl title in 2009.
Spending his entire NFL playing career as a member of the Saints, Colston reached the postseason five times while also producing some gaudy numbers on an individual level as well. As it stands today, he leads the Saints in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.