The Miami Dolphins play the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome tonight in a battle of 3-0 teams.
Back before there was such a thing as Monday Night Football, the franchises clashed at Charleston’s Johnson Hagood Stadium – Sept. 2, 1967.
New Orleans won, 20-17.
There was more than the usual pre-game hype, for three reasons:
- With only one Super Bowl in the books but a merger on the way, NFL and AFL teams were playing their first series of exhibitions that summer. News and Courier columnist Louis Chestnut labeled the event a “miniature Super Bowl.”
- The Saints roster featured former LSU and Green Bay Packers star fullback Jim Taylor, happy about finishing his Pro Football Hall of Fame career near his Baton Rouge home.
- New Orleans rookie wide receiver John Gilliam, a Greenwood native, had just graduated from S.C. State.
Gilliam pleased friends and family on hand, catching a touchdown pass in the Saints’ win.
But the attendance was only 11,214.
Taylor, suffering from a broken finger, didn’t play despite chants from the crowd.
“We want Taylor!” they shouted. “We want Taylor!”
“He could have played, maybe, if we had needed him,” Saints head coach Tom Fears said after New Orleans improved its preseason record to 4-0.
Dolphins rookie quarterback Bob Griese, on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, also sat out as John Stofa played for Miami. But Wahoo McDaniel, better known for his professional wrestling career, kicked a 27-yard field goal for the Dolphins.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff
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