Manning. Hilliard. Hebert. Dempsey. Martin. Swilling.
For Saints fans, all of these names conjure up images of great moments over the lifespan of a mostly mediocre NFL team.
Who Dat Nation has had plenty of names to cheer about, and plenty of others to hide their faces in paper bags about over the 46 year existence of their mostly beloved Saints. Even when things weren't going so well, the "laissez les bon temps rouler" attitude of past Saints fans and Louisianians, generally allowed for it. Football (outside of LSU, of course) was a mere diversion.
Suddenly though, the eighties happened. Jim Mora rolled in from the now defunct USFL, and the Saints began to win. Saints fans began to have expectations. With those expectations came a sense of pride.
Pride turned in to playoff appearances under Mora. Later came a playoff victory under Jim Haslett. Finally, a terrible decision (in hindsight) by the Cowboys' Jerry Jones to allow quarterbacks coach Sean Payton take on his first coaching job with the Saints, leads to Super Bowl immortality.
Who are the figures, though, that have brought the Saints from the laughing stock of the league, to one of the most heralded and competitive teams in the NFL?
Here are the four most iconic figures in New Orleans Saints history.