Having owned the New Orleans Saints for three-plus decades, the late Tom Benson is synonymous with football in the Bayou.
Benson’s passing this past March at the age of 90 hit the organization and the New Orleans area especially hard. While he hasn’t headed day-to-day operations for some time, Mr. Benson was Saints football to those who bleed black and gold.
On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Benson will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.
“The New Orleans Saints and the city of New Orleans meant so much to my husband,” Saints Owner Gayle Benson, via the team’s official website. “He was so proud of them and wanted the team and the entire region to be admired worldwide. He was also grateful to our fans for their commitment to the Saints. That passion and support of our fans inspired him to give back to the community like he did. His impact will always be felt and this is a great way for our organization and our fans to honor his legacy.”
The Saints’ owner since 1985, Benson oversaw a struggling product to start his tenure. New Orleans won a grand total of one playoff game in his first 16 seasons as owner.
But things got much better during the latter part of Benson’s life. That included the organization’s first ever Lombardi Trophy back in February of 2010. All said, New Orleans made the playoffs 11 times in Benson’s 33 years as the team’s owner.