Best Saints Players By Numbers: #1
All summer long, we’re going to list the best players in New Orleans Saints history to wear every number, 00-99.
The pick: Garo Yepremian
When picking the best Saints player ever to wear #1, the choice is limited to kickers Garo Yepremian, Benny Ricardo, and Martin Gramatica.
I'm going to go with Yepremian, who had his best years prior to joining the Saints, but still was good enough to outdo what Ricardo and Grmatica did.
A two-time All-Pro with the Miami Dolphins, Yepremian came to the Saints in 1979, expected to be a veteran influence for Russell Erxleben, who the Saints took with the 11th-overall pick in the 1979 NFL Draft, got off to a poor start.
In his one season with New Orleans, Yepremian was successful on 12 of 16 field goal attempts, including 9 of 10 from inside of 40 yards.
Born in Larnaca, Cyprus, Yepremian was also successful on 39 of 40 PAT's in 1979, to compile 75 points in 14 games, for a team that won 8 games that season, the most in franchise history.
The Saints released Yepremian after one season, electing to go with Erxleben in 1980.
Yepremian ended his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who he kicked for in the 1980-1981 seasons.
In 14 NFL seasons, Yepremian converted on 210 of 310 career field goal attempts.
Yepremian passed away in May of 2015.
Honorable mention: Benny Ricardo and Martin Gramatica:
Ricardo, who took over place-kicking duties for the Saints when the Erxleben experiment didn't go as planned, made good of 23 of 42 field goal attempts in parts of the 1980 and 1981 seasons, while Gramatica was successful on 11 of 15 field goal attempts in the 2007 season, and part of 2008.