Today in Sports History [5/31]: New Orleans Saints Sold for $70 Million
On this day in 1985, the New Orleans Saints are sold for $70,204,000 to Thomas Benson.
The team’s current value, as of last season, is $971 million, good for rank #23 out of 32 teams in the NFL. The team was born into existence in 1967, but anything before 1985 seems fairly irrelevent. That was when Benson supposedly won the team in a game of rock-paper-scissors.
Although I’m not sure if they have changed it up in the past year, but before that, the team’s media guides even had very little info for the team before 1985. There is no mention of one of, if not the greatest player in Saints’ history, Archie Manning, beyond a few lines. There is nothing on Jim Taylor, who came to New Orleans in 1967 when Packers coach Vince Lombardi was upset that any player had the audacity to hire an agent to negotiate.
Whatever the reason for all this, for all intents and purposes, the Saints history began on this day in 1985.
Profile via Forbes
“The Saints inked quarterback Drew Brees to a $100 million, five-year contract extension shortly before training camp opened. The deal includes $60 million guaranteed over the first three years. The Saints needed to keep the All-Pro QB to compete with the improved 49ers for the NFC West title. The team also needed some good PR after Bountygate, a scandal that erupted after an NFL investigation found that Saints players paid into a system, run by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from 2009 to 2011, that offered improper cash payments to teammates who injured targeted opponents.
General manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 season, and head coach Sean Payton was suspended the entire season for failing to put a stop to Williams’ bounty system, despite warnings from the league at the end of the 2009 season. With the Mercedes-Benz Superdome having just completed a state-financed $336 million renovation that team owner Tom Benson hopes will boost concessions and premium seating revenue, the Saints cannot afford to falter on the gridiron.”