50 New Orleans Saints Seasons: 1967
The New Orleans Saints completed their 50th season in the NFL at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign.
All summer long, we'll spotlight each and every season that the team has played.
Today, we go back to 1967, when it all began.
The Saints created some excitement right off the bat, selecting Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner, and the 1961 NFL Most Valuable Player, in the expansion draft.
A few weeks later, the Saints would sign Hornung's former teammate with the Green Bay Packers, Jim Taylor.
Adding even more excitement, the Saints went 5-1 in the preseason, before opening their inaugural against the Los Angeles Rams, on September 17, 1967, at Tulane Stadium.
Talk about a perfect beginning, as John Gilliam returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
Again, a perfect beginning!
After that, however, not so good.
The saints lost to the Rams, 27-13, and went on to lose their first seven games, before capturing their first win, a 31-24 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles, on November 5.
The Saints went 3-11 under Tom Fears in that first season, finishing in the basement of the Capitol Division.
Billy Kilmer was the opening week quarterback for the Saints, but due to injuries, Gary Cuozzo actually led the team in passing, throwing for 1,562 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Taylor, who would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976, was a shell of his former self, rushing for only 390 yards and 2 touchdowns in his final season, while Hornung retired without ever playing a down for the Saints.
Rookie Danny Abramowicz, a 17th round draft choice out of Xavier, led the team led in receiving, compiling 50 catches for 721 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Defensive back Dave Whitshell had a great season, intercepting 10 passes, which paced the league.
Few knew it at the time, but 1967 would be the first of 20-straight losing seasons for the Saints.
View some 1967 Saints highlights, below: