NFL Countdown: Hurricane Katrina causes havoc in New Orleans

Saints Training Camp
Saints Training Camp back in 2005

For today's NFL Countdown, we take perhaps an unwanted trip down memory lane for Louisana natives. The 2005 NFL season was largely disrupted for the New Orleans Saints thanks to Hurricane Katrina. The team were forced to play all their games away from home.

Hurricane Katrina hit the southeastern coast of the USA back in August 2005 and is one of the most damaging hurricanes for the country on record.

What do we know about Hurricane Katrina?

Well, for starters, it was a force to be reckoned with and not many people stood a chance. Sadly, the Hurricane claimed 1,800 lives as it ripped through the state of Louisiana.

As per, the storm quickly rose from Category 1 (74–95 miles [119–154 km] per hour), up to Category 4 (170 miles [275 km]) by the time it hit landfall on August 29 at Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, which is roughly 45 miles southeast of Lousiana.

Around 20% of the city was flooded as reserves could not hold back the water due to the huge amounts of rainfall. The following day, some 80% of the city was underwater.

Such was the storm's ferocity, it caused $160 billion worth of damage to the city. While the loss of life and property was the most tragic part of the natural calamity, it also had an effect on the more mundane aspects of social life.

The NFL season for the Saints was forced to undergo a serious reshuffle amidst the chaos.

New Orleans had tough 2005 NFL season

The Saints played the entire 2005 away from the Superdome as the clean-up from Hurricane Katrina continued. Clearly playing under the most trying of circumstances, the Saints only managed to win three games for the season as they posted a 3-13 record.


Quarterbacks Aaron Brookes (3-10 record) and Todd Bouman (0-3 record) fought all season along with the rest of their teammates as they played out the entire year. The Saints were 31st for points per game (14.7) and were 28th for points against, conceding an average of 24.9 points per game.

The following season, the Saints acquired Drew Brees from the San Diego Chargers and announced Sean Payton as the new head coach in the hope of turning the franchise around.

Brees and Payton lead Saints to the promised land

San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints

The duo led the Saints to the playoffs in 2006 following a 10-6 record with Brees coming runner-up in the MVP voting. In 2007, the Saints had a down year, going 7-9 and missing the playoffs. The 2008 season followed a similar feel as New Orleans finished with an 8-8 record.

However, in 2009, the New Orleans Saints emerged as genuine contenders. The team jumped out to a 8-0 start and managed to get to 13-0 before losing their first game to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15.

The Saints would then lose their next two games before finding form again and winning their remaining three games of the regular season.

New Orleans then blew the Arizona Cardinals away 45-14 in the divisional round before taking care of the Vikings (31-28) to set up a clash with the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.


Brees was just about perfect in the penultimate game of the season, completing 32 of his 38 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns as New Orleans defeated the Peyton Manning-led Colts 31-17.

The triumph for the Lombardi Trophy gave the city and the people of New Orleans something good to hold on to after years of devastation at the hands of Hurricane Katrina.

For many, Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton will always be remembered as the men who brought the city out of the darkness and gave them hope, simply by winning the Super Bowl. It remains one of the greatest moments in NFL history.

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