Black Hats

The 1969 Black hat fiasco wasn't the only uniform trouble the early Saints had. The thickness of the gold numerals on the jerseys varied from player to player, and sometimes from week to week. It seems that when torn jerseys were reordered, some arrived with wide numerals and some with narrow ones - which, by the end of the long, tough season, left the Saints resembling high-class barnstormers. This problem, along with the difficulty broadcasters had reading the shiny gold numbers off of the white jerseys on sunny afternoons, led to the Saints discontinuing use of the gold numerals after the 1969 season.

The old gold pants remained in use until 1975, when the Saints celebrated the opening of their new Superdome home by changing to white pants, which when worn with their white jerseys created an unspectacular and unpopular look. The following year, 1976 Hank Stram came to town to coach the team, and the Saints, in the tradition of Stram's great Kansas City teams, began wearing black pants with their white jerseys. This continued until 1986, when new owner Tom Benson brought back a shiny version of the old gold pants for Jim Mora's first season as head coach.

So the Saints' gold helmet remains the one constant through a quarter of a century of regular season battles. Seasoned New Orleans football fans still smile fondly when recalling the summer of 1969, when the Saints put a new twist on an old adage, as the good guys wore the black hats.


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