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A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

Harbaugh and Payton

As 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh congratulated Saints coach Sean Payton Friday night after New Orleans’ lopsided but meaningless preseason win, I couldn’t help but recall the first time Harbaugh and Payton crossed paths, sort of. It was 1987, and Harbaugh was an NFL rookie quarterback with the Chicago Bears. Payton was an NFL scab QB with the Bears. The players’ were striking for improved wages, benefits and pensions, and the NFL owners decided to use strike-breaking players, called “replacements” in… Read More »

Another Colts/Saints link: Gary Cuozzo

In a previous blog, I mentioned running back Joe Don Looney, who played for both the Colts and Saints. Today the Colts-Saints link is quarterback Gary Cuozzo. Cuozzo backed-up Johnny Unitas with the Colts from 1963 through 1966. And he was on the original Saints of 1967, splitting time with Billy Kilmer. Cuozzo played in Super Bowl IV with the Vikings, a 23-7 loss to the K.C. Chiefs. Cuozzo came in for Joe Kapp late in the game, completing 1-of-3… Read More »

Super Bowl trivia

What Super Bowl-winning coach was also head coach of the New Orleans Saints? Answer below.                 Answer: Hank Stram, who won Super Bowl IV as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Stram coached the Saints in 1976 and 1977. And, as astute readers have pointed out but I spaced out on: Mike Ditka, Who won Super Bowl XX coaching the Bears and later coached at New Orleans.

When Dempsey upstaged Blanda

There is naturally some attention being paid to New Orleans Saints history as the team prepares for its first Super Bowl, and Tom Dempsey is certainly a memorable part of that history. On Nov. 8, 1970 at Tulane Stadium, Dempsey kicked an NFL-record 63-yard field on the final play of the game to beat the Detroit Lions, 19-17. On that same day in Oakland, 43-year-old George Blanda came off the bench in the fourth quarter to throw a tying touchdown… Read More »

Archie Manning, part of 1-2-3 QB draft of ’71

Archie Manning will be getting a lot of attention leading up to the Colts-Saints Super Bowl, even though he hasn’t played in the NFL since 1984. He is, of course, the father of Colts QB Peyton Manning; and he was New Orleans’ starting QB for 11 seasons. Manning was the second of three quarterbacks chosen with the first three selections of the 1971 draft, and he was, by far, the unluckiest of the three. In 14 seasons (he also played… Read More »

Colts-Saints link: Joe Don Looney

The most prominent Colts-Saints link is the Manning family. Archie Manning was the second overall selection in the 1971 draft and quarterbacked New Orleans until 1982, when he was traded to Houston after one game. And, as you know, his son Peyton will be quarterbacking the Colts against the Saints in the Super Bowl. But another Colts-Saints link is Joe Don Looney. Looney, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound running back, was a first-round pick (12th overall) of the New York Giants in… Read More »