On Sunday afternoon the New England Patriots (1-3) play host to the New Orleans Saints (2-2). The Patriots franchise joined the AFL in 1960, while the Saints inaugural season was 1967. This weekend will mark the sixteenth meeting between the two franchises. Aside from their 15 prior meetings, what do these teams have in common? Time for this week’s edition of Fun Facts…
There have been 73 players to play for both the Patriots and Saints. Among them are two players who may dress on Sunday: Ty Montgomery for New England and Lynn Bowden, Jr. of New Orleans.
The first player to ever play for both franchises was Jim Fraser. The Wisconsin alum was a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker/punter for the Denver Broncos from 1962-to-1964. Fraser played with the Boston Patriots in 1966. After a year out of football he joined the Saints for this 1968 season his last.
Twenty players have played in multiple seasons for each franchise.
Only one player has played at least 60 games for both the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints: Benjamin Watson. The tight end from Georgia had two stints with each franchise. Watson was a Patriots first round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, along with Vince Wilfork. He won a Super Bowl with New England as a rookie. After playing six seasons for New England (2004-2009) he joined the Cleveland Browns and then New Orleans. Watson played for the Saints for three seasons (2013-2015) and then came back for a fourth in 2018. He finished his career where it began, playing 10 games for the 2019 New England Patriots.
— 𝓚𝓔𝓔𝓩𝓨 🐐 (@vibewitkeezy) August 29, 2023
Among the other notable NFL players to play for both the Patriots and Saints are Sam Adams, Malcolm Brown, Don Davis, Heath Evans, Leon Gray, Akiem Hicks, Chris Hogan, Tebucky Jones, Rob Ninkovich, David Patten and Donte’ Stallworth.
Two players were Super Bowl Champions with both the Patriots and Saints:
- Randall Gay won a ring with New England in 2004 and New Orleans in 2009.
- Jonathan Casillas became a champion with the 2009 Saints, and again with the 2014 Patriots.
In the 15 regular season meetings between the Patriots and Saints, New Orleans owns an 10-5 advantage in wins. They have never played in the postseason.
Their first game was on Dec. 10, 1972, with the Patriots winning on the road 17-10. Entering the game, New England was 2-10 on a nine-game losing streak. New Orleans was 2-9-1. Jim Plunkett connected with Reggie Rucker for both Patriots touchdowns. The win dropped New England from second to fourth overall in the 1973 NFL Draft. They selected offensive guard John Hannah out of Alabama, who went on to a Hall of Fame career.
Their most recent meeting took place Sept. 26, 2021. The Saints won in Foxboro by a final score of 28-13. Saints QB Jameis Winston threw two touchdown passes. Patriots QB Mac Jones had three passes intercepted, including one for a touchdown by Malcolm Jenkins (with some help from New England’s Jonnu Smith).
The most recent trade between the two teams involving a player came on Mar. 10, 2017. New England traded their first and third round picks in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft for WR Brandin Cooks and a fourth round pick. Cooks would have a 1,000-yard season and help the Patriots win the AFC Championship in his lone season with the Patriots. With their draft picks the Saints selected OL Ryan Ramczyk and DE Trey Hendrickson.
In a classic Bill Belichick draft trade, the Patriots traded their second-round pick in 2016 to the Saints for a third and fourth round pick. New Orleans selected DB Vonn Bell, while New England grabbed OL Joe Thuney and WR Malcolm Mitchell.
They also had a draft day trade in 2011. New Orleans traded their second-round pick and a first in 2012 to move up and select Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. The Patriots used the second to select RB Shane Vereen. The following year New England packaged the Saints first round pick and their own third to move up and select DE Chandler Jones.
And in one of the great “trade trees” in New England Patriots history…
- Saints trade 2003 third and seventh round picks and 2004 fourth to the Patriots for Tebucky Jones
- Patriots selected Tully Banta-Cain with the seventh round pick in 2003
- Patriots draft Dexter Reid with the fourth-round pick in 2004
- New England traded the third round pick in 2003 to the Miami Dolphins for a second round pick in 2004.
- New England traded Miami’s 2004 second the Cincinnati Bengals for Corey Dillon.
Statistical Leaders in the Patriots-Saints Series
1,433 – Tom Brady, NE
11 – Tom Brady, NE
5 – Drew Bledsoe, NE
226 – Don Calhoun, NE
2 – Seven Players Tied
15 – Ben Coates & Stanley Morgan, NE
15 – Tony Galbreath, NO
213 – Stanley Morgan, NE
3 – Quinn Early, NO
29 – Stephen Gostkowski, NE
23 – Malcolm Jenkins, NO
3.0 – Will Smith & Pat Swilling, NO
2 – Ty Law, NE
2 – Shane Pahukoa, NO