New Orleans Saints

Tom Benson, pictured with wife Gayle and granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc, grew up in the St. Roch neighborhood and graduated from Brother Martin High School and Loyola University.
Chuck Cook

When Tom Benson purchased the New Orleans Saints in 1985, the team had never had a winning season. Over the course of 30 years, Tom has helped reshape the team to become one of the NFL's most popular teams and a source of community pride throughout the Gulf South. 

While Tom's ongoing dispute over the legacy of his sports empire continues to unfold, NOLA Life Stories wanted to examine the man behind the headlines. Tom grew up in the St. Roch neighborhood and  is no stranger to hardship: the man climbed into the billionaire’s club from humble beginnings.

Benson Family Battle Heading To Court

Jan 23, 2015

The battle over Tom Benson’s plan to leave the Saints and Pelicans to his wife will be heading to court.

Benson’s daughter and her children are fighting his plan to shove them out of the family business.

The New Orleans Advocate reports Benson’s previous heirs — Renee, Rita and Ryan — are now asking the Orleans Parish Civil District Court to help declare the 87-year-old mentally incompetent.

Tom Benson Names Wife To Inherit Saints, Pelicans

Jan 22, 2015

Tom Benson is not leaving the Saints and Pelicans to his daughter and her children after all.

He agreed to a succession plan that will give his wife, Gayle, control of New Orleans' two major professional sports franchises after his death.

The 87-year-old Benson says his decision is meant to ensure the clubs' "long-term stability and success."

He says the move will also preserve the teams’ tradition of working for the good of New Orleans and the region.

The woeful Buccaneers looked like they were going to beat the Saints on Sunday. But New Orleans came back to take the lead with just under two minutes to play. Junior Galette added a sack for a safety to seal the deal.

New Orleans finished the season with a four-game winning streak on the road.

The Saints’ 7-9 record tied their other two lows in the Sean Payton era: 2007, and 2012 — the Bountygate year.

Louisiana Tech won the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Friday.

Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan answered questions from the media after practice on Friday, Dec. 26.

The Saints will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Dec. 28. Kickoff is at noon.

The following transcript of the Saints media availability was created and provided by the New Orleans Saints organization.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, December 26, 2014

The New Orleans Saints were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday afternoon in a 30-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

It was their second loss to the Falcons this year.

The Saints needed the win, or a Carolina loss to the Cleveland Browns, to keep their playoff hopes alive. They got neither.

The 2014 New Orleans Saints season can be boiled down to one word: inconsistency.

A week and a day after getting steamrolled at home to the Panthers, the Saints flew off to Chicago and beat down the Bears. In the cold, outside, in the rain. On the road.

But those old narratives don’t really mean much anymore.

Following back-to-back turnovers to start the game, a Brees fumble, two botched field goal attempts and some other assorted messes from both teams, the Saints took over in the second and third quarters and closed the Bears down.

WhiteHouse.gov

The Superdome has long been known as hostile territory for visiting teams. The crowd prides itself on the cacophonous din raised when their beloved Saints need their help — drowning out visitors' play calls and forcing false starts and bad matchups.

That is, until this year. Now, a great many fans are saying it is they who are being drowned out — by an egregiously bad Superdome sound effect.

It's the Dome Siren, a piped-in air raid alarm-style noise played at ear-splitting intensity each time an opposing team gets ready to play a third down.

Elena Mirage / Shutterstock.com

The wheels have come off the 2014 New Orleans Saints.

In a tight race with the Atlanta Falcons for “first place” in the sorry NFC South, on Sunday afternoon the Saints rolled over at home to the woeful Carolina Panthers.

It was a sullen, almost sordid affair for a Saints game. A nasty on-field fight spilled through the end zone wall. A fan threw a beer onto the field. The crowd booed an entreaty by the PA announcer to “Please remember our Fan Code of Conduct." By the start of the fourth quarter there were — maybe — a couple thousand people left in the stands.

Sometimes the 2014 New Orleans Saints show glimmers of the team they could have been.

Kenny Stills caught 5 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown, and the much-maligned New Orleans defense picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice.

The Saints tried to give it away late, but left Pittsburg with a 35-32 win over the Steelers.

The LSU Tigers wrapped up their regular season with a win over Texas A&M.

And in the Bayou Classic, Grambling University fought back until the last moment, but Southern University took the game, 52-45.

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