Saints Defender Elois Grooms in 1979

Elois Grooms of the New Orleans Saints in 1979 against Detroit
Saints Defensive Lineman Elois Grooms in 1979.

Saints-Lions 1979 Action in the Super Dome

Most Old school Saints fans will remember defensive end Elois Grooms. He was a third-round pick from Tennessee Tech in 1975 who was actually one of the better defensive players the Saints had in the 1970s. He remained with New Orleans for 6 seasons until 1981. After that he was released and continued with the St. Louis Cardinals. All-in-all he played a total of 12 seasons in the NFL.

The image above is action from the 1979 game against Detroit Lions. Grooms is locked up with rookie offensive tackle Kieth Dorney. The game was a 17-7 Saints victory with the defense came up big that game with 4 sacks as well as 4 turnovers. Tommy Myers – who would make the Pro Bowl that year -even had a 52-yard interception returned for a touchdown. It marked the 4th win of the season in 8 games that year for New Orleans. The significance of that was the Saints appeared to be on their way to actually making a run for the playoffs – something no Saints team had managed in their 13-year existence. Unfortunately, the 1979 New Orleans Saints wouldn’t make the playoffs either but at least “Almost” was a huge difference from the previous seasons.

Elois “unofficially” ended the season tied (with other defensive end Don Reese) for the teams sack lead. He is credited with 12 sacks but individual sacks were not recorded or recognized by the NFL at that time. Teams sacks were though. And the 46 sacks the Saints defense tallied up in 1979 set a new team record.

The late 70s were a time of anticipation for Saints fans. It was games like this one that had the Who Dat Nation optimistically looking forward to the future. With both offense and defense playing winning football many believed the days of losing were finally behind them. But, as we all know, the worst season in Saints History was just around the corner.

 

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