Bruce Clark Fumble Reovery | Saints and Bucs – 1986

Bruce Clark fumble recovery 1986 New Orleans Saints
Bruce Clark fumble recovery 1986 New Orleans Saints
Defensive End Bruce Clark gets a big fumble recovery against Tampa in 1986

Saints Defensive Lineman Bruce Clark Against Tampa Bay

Thanks to the efforts of new General Manager Jim Finks and new Head Coach Jim Mora the New Orleans Saints were going to be a vastly different team in the mid-1980s from what the NFL had been accustomed to in years past. The defense especially was beginning to come into it’s own. And while they still weren’t the calibre they would be in a few seasons, they were beginning to gain a reputation as a swarming, hard-hitting group even then.

Above we see defensive end Bruce Clark in the 1986 game against Tampa Bay after a fumble recovery. Saints Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson has just put the hit on the Bucs quarterback knocking the ball loose as Clark scoops it up. The Saints completely dominated both sides of the ball trouncing the Buccaneers 38-7. The offense ran for 4 scores and passed for another while racking up 450 yards of total offense. The defense held the Bucs in check with 5 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries.

Bruce Clark has always been one of the Saints most under-rated players of all time. He joined the Saints in 1982. Though originally, after an outstanding college career at Penn State, he was picked by Green Bay as their 1st-round pick in 1980 draft. But instead of playing for the Packers, he opted instead to go the Canadian Football League where he played 2 seasons for the Toronto Argonauts. When Clark returned to the NFL in 1982 New Orleans gave up a 1st round pick in the 1983 draft to get him. He would remain with the Saints until 1988. He was named to the 1982 NFL All-Rookie Team as well as going to the Pro Bowl in 1984.

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Vince Buck – Saints Defensive Back 1990-1996

Vince Buck 52-yard punt return in 1991
Vince Buck 52-yard punt return in 1991
Vince Buck returns a punt 52-yards against Tampa Bay in 1991

Vince Buck with a 52-Yard Punt Return against Tampa

In 1991 the Saints were celebrating their 25th Anniversary season. But the special occasion was not the only thing the Saints were enjoying. 1991 was probably one of the best teams the Who Dat Nation had put together yet. Bobby Hebert and Steve Walsh split the quarterbacking duties and led an offense that, while not explosive, could challenge any any opposing defense the NFL had to offer. The strength of the team was, without a doubt, the opposite side of the ball, led by the legendary linebacking corps of the Dome Patrol, was establishing itself as a truly elite group.

And while the line backers were doubtless at the forefront of the success team’s success, there were other players involved. Above we see veteran cornerback Vince Buck who, along with Safety Gene Atkins, led the team with 5 interceptions apiece. Buck also held punt return duties as we see above. Here he returns the longest punt of his career – 52 yards – against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a strong defensive performance, the Saints hammered out a 23-7 win over the Bucs.  6 sacks and 2 interceptions proved just 2 much for Tampa Bay to overcome. They could only manage 3 third-down conversions all day.

The victory would bring the Saints to a 7-0 record midway through the 1991 season. Jim Mora and his team would finish the season 11-5 and the NFC Western Division Champs.

Buck, who had been a 2nd-round pick out of Ohio Central State in 1990, stayed with the Saints until 1995.

Career Defensive Statistics

Year Age Pos Interceptions Yds TD Longest Fumbles
Sacks Tackles
1990 22 PR 2 38
1991 23 LCB/PR 5 12 0 12 3 45
1992 24 lcb 2 51 1 34 0.5 349
1993 25 LCB 2 28 0 28 2 3.0 73
1994 26 FS 1 0 0 0 1 1.0 88
1995 27 FS 4 66
Career 10 91 1 34 12 4.5 344
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Rich Mauti | 1978 New Orleans Saints

Featured Image for New Orleans Saints Special Teams Player Rich Mauti in 1978
  • Rich Mauti TD Catch in 1978 Game Against the Browns
    TD Catch against Cleveland in 1978
  • New Orleans Special Teams Ace Rich Mauti making a tackle in 1978 against the Browns
    Making a Special Teams Tackle

Special Teams Ace Rich Mauti

A couple of pictures of Rich Mauti, a Penn State graduate who joined the Saints in 1977. Mauti excelled as special teams player making the Pro Bowl as a kick returner in 1980. He actually set an NFL record of 27 solo tackles on kick and punt returns in 1978.
Pictured above, from the 1978 regular season game against Cleveland, Mauti caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Archie Manning – 1 of the 2 he had that year. In the other picture he zeroes in on Browns returner Keith Wright.

His son, Michael Mauti also played for the Saints and like his father, excelled on special teams. In 2015 Michael returned a blocked punt for a score against the Falcons on a Thursday Night Prime Time game.

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Bum Phillips with George Rodgers | Early 1980s New Orleans Saints

Bum Phillips and George Rogers - Early 1980s, New Orleans Saints
Bum Phillips and George Rogers - Early 1980s, New Orleans Saints
Head Coach Bum Phillips and Saints power-back George Rogers

From the early 1980s – Head Coach Bum Phillips who took over in 1981 – talks with Saints runningback George Rogers. Rogers, the 1980 Heisman Trophy Award winner South Carolina, from was the first player Bum drafted after he took over the Saints. And while the Saints still struggled at times it was obvious that as a team there was a marked improvement from the seasons of losing that had plagued them the previous decade.
As a rookie in 1981, Rogers led the NFL in rushing with 1674 yards and earned Rookie of the Year Honors. He stayed with the Saints 4 seasons and despite a history of drug problems, departed the team in 1984 as the team’s All-Time Leading rusher with 4267 yards. In 1981 and 1982 he was name to the NFC Pro Bowl squad. He played 3 more seasons in Washington before leaving the NFL altogether in 1987. Without a doubt, excessive drug use throughout his playing days limited his effectiveness.
As far as Bum was concerned, he was a favorite among the players as well as the fans. Unfortunately, he just could not reproduce the success he had with the Houston Oilers He will always be remembered for the 1983 season where the Saints missed going to the playoffs thanks to a last second fieldgoal by the Rams during the final game of the season. He could but manage only 27 wins in his 4-and-a-half seasons with New Orleans. He resigned midway through the 1985 campaign saying, “It just wasn’t fun anymore”. He was replaced by his son, Wade Phillips who was defensive coordinator at the time.
And while Bum’s time in New Orleans could hardly be considered successful, he is credited with laying the groundwork for a Saint’s defense that would be one of the NFL’s most dominate just a few years later.

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Tony Galbreath | New Orleans Saints 1981 Preseason

Tony Galbreath - 1981 New Orleans Saints versus Houston Oilers Preseason Game
Tony Galbreath - 1981 New Orleans Saints versus Houston Oilers Preseason Game
Tony Galbreath – 1981 New Orleans Saints

Tony Galbreath | One of his last games as a Saint.

The 1981 New Orleans Saints season was a time of much needed change for the Who Dat Nation. With the absolute collapse of the previous 1-15 season it seemed the only way the Saints organization could go was up.

As 1981 began to unfold as a season there were many new ideas and faces put in to erase the failures of the past. Probably the most notable new addition was none other than Head Coach Bum Phillips who had transformed the Houston Oilers into a true contender in the AFC. Hoping to replicate the same success with the Saints as he had with the Oilers, Bum began to revamp the personal of a team that had never had a wining season. Pictured above is fullback Tony Galbreath. A fan favorite since he arrived in 1976 as a 2nd-round draft pick from Missouri. Galbreath was arguably one of the most productive players the Saints had on the roster at the time. But the image above, from the 1981 preseason game against the Oilers, was one of his last as a Saint. Before the regular season started, Bum had traded him to Minnesota. It should also be noted that Bum traded away several players while he was he was in New Orleans. Players Saints fans had come to know and love like Wes Chandler, Chuck Muncie, Elois Grooms and probably the most painful of all – Archie Manning.
Tony Galbreath stayed with the Vikings until 1984 when he joined the New York Giants and was a member of the Giants 1986 Super Bowl Championship team. He retired after that season with a total of 12 years in the NFL.

Tony Galbreath New Orleans Saints Statistics

Saints Career Rushing Totals

Attempts Yards Average TDs
760 2865 3.8 34

Saints Career Receiving Totals

Catches Yards Average TDs
284 2221 7.8 6
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