Saints/Falcons Flashback: First-Ever Game In 1967
The New Orleans Saints return to action on Sunday afternoon, when they travel to Atlanta, Georgia to take on the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in the 2016 regular season finale for both teams.
Kickoff time is scheduled for noon, and you can hear all the play-by-play action on EPSN 1420, as well as 97.3 The Dawg.
The Saints are 7-8 on the season, and out of playoff contention, while the Falcons will enter the playoffs as NFC South Division champions, with a record of 10-5.
The rivalry between New Orleans and Atlanta has been one of the best in the NFL since the Saints joined the league back in 1967, with the Falcons being born just two years prior.
The two franchises have been division rivals, as part of either the NFC West or the NFC South, since 1970.
The Saints began in the Capitol Division in 1967, before playing one year in the Century Division in 1968, back to the Capitol Division in 1969, and then the NFC West in 1970, while the Falcons were members of the Coastal Division prior to joing the NFC West in 1970.
The Falcons lead the all-time series, 50-45, including a 45-32 win over New Orleans in the first meeting this year, but the Saints won both meetings last season, and have also won 8 of the last 12 match-ups, as well as 11 of the last 16.
All week long, in anticipation of the Sunday's New Year's day affair, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the more memorable games between the two franchises.
Today, we go back to November 26, 1967 for the very first game ever played between the two teams, a 27-24 Saints victory.
New Orleans, an expansion team in their first year of play, went into the game at 1-9, with their lone victory coming against the Philadelphia Eagles, while Atlanta went in at 1-8-1, with a win over the Minnesota Vikings to their credit, along with a tie against the Washington Redskins.
The Saints scored the only points of the first quarter, on a 34-yard field goal by Charlie Durkee, to take a 3-0 lead at the end of one period.
The Falcons responded with 21-unanswered points to begin the second quarter however, with the first coming on a 1-yard touchdown run by junior Coffee, and the next two coming on touchdown passes, a 32-yarder from Perry Lee Dunn to Tommy McDonald, and a 5-yarder from Randy Johnson to Bill Martin, giving them a 21-3 advantage.
New Orleans scored right before halftime, when Gary Cuozzo tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kent Kramer, cutting the Atlanta lead to 21-10 at the half.
The Saints scored the only points of the third quarter, courtesy of a 22-yard run by Randy Schultz, to trim the Falcons lead to 21-17 as the two teams headed into the final 15 minutes of play.
New Orleans got another field goal from Durkee to begin the final period, this one from 32 yards away, to get within one point, 21-20, before Atlanta got three points back after Wade Traynham connected on a 26-yard field goal, to make it 24-20, Falcons.
The Saints came back though, as Billy Kilmer threw a game-winning 7-yard touchdown pass to Kramer to win it, as New Orleans scored 24 of the last 27 points in the game to capture their second win of the year.
New Orleans outgained Atlanta, in terms of total offense, 371-269, including a 230-86 advantage through the air.
For the Saints, Cuozzo and Kilmer combined to go 18-of-36 for 230 yards and two touchdowns, while Ernie Wheelwright accumulated 47 rushing yards on 11 carries.
In a losing cause for the Falcons, Coffey had 75 yards and a score on 15 tries.
New Orleans went on to finish 1967 with a 3-11 record, while Atlanta finished at 1-12-1.
Since this game was from 1967, let’s go back and take a look at the 1967 season for the Saints, and their humble beginnings.
First, let's go back to the Saints' first exhibition game, as they took on the Los Angeles Rams, with some sideline footage:
Next, some clips of Saints quarterback Billy Kilmer from 1967:
Finally, let's go back to 1967, and take a look at the Saints' humble beginnings: