NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints fans will get to witness one of the most iconic games in franchise history this Monday.
The Saints announced on Thursday afternoon that ESPN will re-air the team’s 23-3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons which was the first game played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome following the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The iconic game held on September 25, 2006 marked the Saints’ home debut of then-rookie head coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees, several new players to the Saints’ roster including Heisman winner Reggie Bush, and a spunky special team’s ace in Steve Gleason. Gleason, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, went on to earn the Congressional Gold Medal.
The game, which will be shown at 7 p.m. is the second of several iconic Monday Night Football games from the past 15 years that ESPN will re-broadcast over the next several weeks.
The game immediately entered Saints lore because of the nature of the 23-3 victory over the rival “Dirty Birds” before a raucous crowd that welcomed the Saints back to the Superdome.
In the year prior, the team, along with many in New Orleans and the Gulf South, were exiled suddenly from home because of Katrina. The victory also propelled the Saints to a 3-0 record to start the season and served as a launching pad for the team’s run to their first NFC Championship Game appearance and a season sweep over rival Atlanta.
“We are excited about the ESPN rebroadcast of our 2006 homecoming game against Atlanta,” New Orleans Saints Owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “That game was such a magical experience and a symbol of what we can overcome and accomplish as a community. Our resilience, strength and care for one another is what defines New Orleans and is what will get us through this crisis just as we have overcome so many before. I encourage everyone to wear their Black and Gold on Monday and share with each other, virtually, this opportunity to unite and remind ourselves of the better times that are to come. Most importantly, I hope our fans will use this opportunity to have fun, share a great memory experience and focus on the joy of what it means to celebrate our love of team and home.”
ESPN’S re-air of the game reflects the efforts by both ESPN and the New Orleans Saints to deliver football fans a welcomed distraction in the middle of a difficult and unprecedented time. The games will also include advertising and PSA inventory to support COVID-19 relief-focused organizations.