Heartbreaking Saints losses
Despite winning Super Bowl 44, there have been many more heartbreaking losses than improbable victories in New Orleans Saints history. Even during the halcyon days of Sean Payton and Drew Brees, New Orleans has occasionally suffered heartbreaking losses. Take a look back at the top five most heartbreaking losses in Saints history.
5. 11/12/1978: Atlanta Falcons def. New Orleans Saints 20-17
My earliest memories as a Saints fan came during the 1978 season when I was six years old. So at an early age, I became accustomed to a string of heartbreaking losses. More than 30 years later, Steve Bartkowski's Hail Mary in the Superdome is still one of the most heartbreaking New Orleans losses ever.
4. 12/3/1979: Oakland Raiders def. New Orleans Saints 42-35
After going 7-9 in 1978, New Orleans was looking for its first winning season and playoff berth the following year. New Orleans had one of the NFL's best offenses that year so ABC put them on Monday Night Football to face the mighty Raiders. After leading 35-7, the Saints somehow suffered a heartbreaking loss.
3. 1/3/1993: Philadelphia Eagles def. New Orleans Saints 36-20
I thought it had all come together for New Orleans in 1992. Bobby Hebert was back. The Dome Patrol LBs were still in their primes. And we had another chance to win a home playoff game. Despite leading 20-7, the Saints couldn't handle prosperity. The Eagles scored 29 straight points in Mora's last playoff loss in New Orleans.
2. 12/18/1983: Los Angeles Rams def. New Orleans Saints 26-24
In the early 1980s, Bum Phillips transformed New Orleans from an offensive to a defensive team. New Orleans was in position to finally make the playoffs in the final game of 1983. Although they dominated the Rams statistically, the Saints allowed a last second 42-yard FG to suffer yet another heartbreaking loss.
1. 1/15/2012: San Francisco 49ers def. New Orleans Saints 36-32
It's hard to imagine a more heartbreaking loss than those already mentioned. However, it has now happened. The Saints allowed two late TD drives to unheralded 49ers QB Alex Smith to lose 36-32 in the playoffs. This is unquestionably the most heartbreaking loss in New Orleans Saints history.
Honorable mention heartbreaking losses
Falcons win in playoffs. Vikings convert two-point try instead of sending game to OT. Carney misses extra point after River City Relay versus Jaguars. Hartley misses short FG against Falcons. Seahawks win playoff game following Marshawn Lynch's infamous run.
Patrick Michael was born and raised in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. As such, he is a lifelong, diehard New Orleans Saints fan. His highlight as a Saints fan was experiencing the magical Super Bowl season of 2009.
"New Orleans Saints Franchise Encyclopedia," pro-football-reference.com
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