The New Orleans Saints are a professional American football team based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints play in the South Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL).
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The Saints were founded in 1967 as an expansion team and played their home games at Tulane Stadium through the 1974 season. They went more than a decade before they managed to finish a season with a .500 record, two decades before having a winning season, and over four decades before reaching the Super Bowl. The team's first successful years were from 1987–1992, when the team made the playoffs four times and had winning records in the non-playoff seasons. In the 2000 season, the Saints defeated the then-defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams for the team's first playoff win.
Since 1975, the Saints' home stadium has been the Louisiana Superdome. However, due to the damage Hurricane Katrina caused to the Superdome and the New Orleans area, the Saints' scheduled 2005 home opener against the New York Giants was moved to Giants Stadium. The remainder of their 2005 home games were split between the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After a $185 million renovation of the historic stadium, the team returned to the Superdome for the 2006 season. The team played its 2006 home opener in front of a sold-out crowd and national television audience on September 25, 2006, defeating the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 23–3. The victory received a 2007 ESPY award for "Best Moment in Sports." The club reached the NFC Championship Game in 2006 but lost 39-14 to the Chicago Bears.
The 2009 season was the team's best season. The November 30, 2009 Monday Night Football game vs. the New England Patriots, in which the team went to an 11–0 record for the first time in franchise history, was the second highest rated cable program to date. After becoming 13–0 with their win over the Atlanta Falcons, it marked the Saints' best start to a season in its franchise history. The result clinched an NFC playoff berth, a bye in the first round of the playoffs. By winning their first 13 games, the Saints also set the record for the longest undefeated season opening (13-0) by an NFC team since the AFL–NFL merger, eclipsing the previous record (12-0) held by the 1985 Chicago Bears. The team advanced to the 2009 NFC Championship game where they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 31-28 in overtime, sending the team to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, where they defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17.