2000 New Orleans Saints | Willie Whitehead Tackle

Willie Whitehead makes a tackle in the 2000 Playoffs
Saints Defender Willie Whitehead makes a tackle in the 2000 Playoffs

Following the dismal years that was the Mike Ditka Era of New Orleans Saints football the NFL was shocked by the sudden success the Who Dat Nation had during the 2000 season. A new fiery head coach was complimented by an equally motivated and emotional team of players. The dynamic offense was complimented by stubborn defense that finished in the Top 10 of the NFL’s defensive statistics in several categories. A 10-6 record, an NFC Western Divisional Title and Wild Card Post Season game win had Saints fans absolutely giddy. And while the Divisional Playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings brought everyone back down to Earth, the 2000 season was a long-awaited change from the previous seasons short comings.

The picture above, from that playoff loss to the Vikings, we see back-up defensive tackle Willie Whitehead bringing down a Viking runner from behind. At the time the 6′ 3″, 300-pound Whitehead was in his second year with the Saints. A graduate of Auburn he had tried out with the 49ers and Lions as well as spending time in the CFL before landing a spot with the Saints in 1999. He stayed with the team for 8 seasons seeing spot duty and starting several times during his career. He finished with 210 tackles – including 40 for losses- and 24½ sacks. He filled in at all defensive line positions at one time or another.

Career Statistics while with the Saints

Games Games Passes Fumb Fumb Sacks Tackles Tackles Tackles Tackles
Year Age Played Started Defensed Forced Recovered   Total Solo Asst’d for Loss
1999 26 16 3 1 7.0 30 24 6 9
2000 27 16 2 1 1 0 5.5 27 17 10 6
2001 28 14 0 2.0 21 18 3 6
2002 29 12 10 0 1 3.0 34 24 10 6
2003 30 11 10 2 1 1 5.5 40 33 7 5
2004 31 8 0 10 6 4 1
2005 32 16 15 0 1 0.5 35 23 12 5
2001 33 12 3 1.0 13 9 4 2
Care   105 43 4 2 3 24.5 210 154 56 40
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