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Friday, February 5, 2010

What were the Saints doing in Portland?

A paragraph in this story in today's Times is intriguing:

Becknell remembered the first time the Saints flew into the local airport after a game in their first season. They traveled all night from Portland, Ore., and when they arrived, thousands of fans lined the nearest ramp. Fans today do exactly the same thing, tradition in both winning and losing seasons, loyalty passed from one generation to the next.
Any old-timers out there know what that was all about?

Comments (6)

Back in the '50s and '60s, pro football teams from the NFL and the old AFL played pre-season games all over the place. What was then Multnomah Stadium hosted exhibitions for about 10 years in a row. I'd assume the Saints played in one of those, though I don't recall it.

There was a huge crowd in 1964 for a game featuring Oregon State Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker, then with the Los Angeles Rams, and Mel Renfro, ex-Duck breaking in with the Dallas Cowboys.

I also remember a Raiders-Broncos game in 1968.

Saints vs. 49ers preseason game at Multnomah Stadium (PGE Park).

Here is a pic:


Niners used to do their training camp at Willamette U, and did their pr season games at Multnomah Stadium.

A long time ago.

Well, after all, Portland is the football capital of the northwest.

I'm pretty sure none of those guys are still on the team.

I am from Louisiana and attended the first organized game played by the Saints in the state of Louisiana. I am not sure, but I am thinking it was maybe one week after they played in Portland.

It was in Shreveport,Louisiana against the then St. Louis Cardinals. It was remarkable for many reasons. It was just previously rumored that Paul Horning would never be able to play a down, his playing days were over. He struted on the sidelines in an incandescent dress suit with cletes on. The Saints had signed him for a huge bonus. His old teammate and former LSU star, Jim Taylor, played in the game and started a bench clearing brawl when he tried to knock Jerry Stovall's head off after the whistle was blown. Most memorable was the opening kickoff. Gilliam returned it for a touchdown of some 104 yards. State Fair Stadium nearly collapsed. Everyone in Louisiana knew the Saints would be a powerhouse their first season. It was confirmed on the opening kickoff of the regular season a month later when Gilliam did the same damned thing in the LA Coliseum against the then Los Angeles Rams. Well, it has taken 43 years. I cannot believe I have lived to see it.

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