Best Saints By The Numbers: #34
All summer long, we’re going to list the best players in New Orleans Saints history to wear every number, 00-99.
The pick: Tony Galbreath
When deciding who is the best New Orleans Saints player to ever wear #34, the choice is limited to running backs Tony Galbreath, Ricky Williams, Jess Phillips, Jeff Rodenberger, Barry Word, Craig Heyward, and Ray Zellars, tight end Carlos Bell, and defensive backs Bobby Johnson, Tebucky Jones, and Mike McKenzie.
Well now, here's a number we can have a little debate over.
McKenzie should be given consideration. He was an underrated corner for the Saints, one of the best cover corners the franchise has ever had. But this is a tough pick, and he comes up just a little short.
That means the choice is between Williams and Galbreath.
Williams gained more rushing yards as a Saint than Galbreath, 3,129-2,865, but Galbreath finished with more receiving yards, 2,221-1,092, more total yards, 5,086-4,221, and more total touchdowns, 33-18.
Based on that, the pick is Galbreath, a running back/fullback, who played for the Saints for five years, from 1976-1980.
After finishing his college career at Missouri, Galbreath was selected by the Saints in the second round of the 1976 NFL Draft.
A native of Fulton, Missouri, Louisiana, Galbreath made an immediate impact as a rookie, rushing for 570 yards and 7 touchdowns, as part of the backfield labeled "Thunder & Lightning" with fellow rookie Chuck Muncie.
Galbreath continued his steady play over the next three seasons, rushing for at least 600 yards, with 173 receptions to go with it, including 74 catches in 1978, which ranked second in the league.
After playing with the Saints for five seasons, Galbreath was, at the time, #2 in all-time rushing yards for the team.
He still ranks 8th in rushing yards, and 9th in receptions in team history.
Galbreath was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 1981, where he played for three years, before going to the New York Giants, where he played for four years, prior to retiring after the 1987 season
When his career came to an end, Galbreath had 490 receptions, the most by a running back in the history of the NFL.
Galbreath was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 1991.