Saints Pivotal Moments
1973 49ers: Welcome back, Danny!
The Saints endured an embarrassing loss on October 21, 1973 when the San Francisco 49ers plastered them 40-0 in the City by the Bay. Because the Niners were a fellow NFC West member, the Saints got a chance for revenge when they hosted Dick Nolan's club in the second-to-last game of another losing season on December 9.
The defeat in San Francisco wasn't the worst suffered by the Saints, but when the 49ers called time out with several seconds left in an attempt to add another touchdown to an already lopsided score, that was something players and coaches couldn't forget. "Cheap," "bush league," and "high school stuff" were some of the descriptions the Saints used when voicing their opinions of the incident.
There was also what some called a cheap shot by ex-Saint WR Danny Abramowicz on LB Joe Federspeil. The Saints traded Danny to San Francisco after the second game of the '73 season. The events that led to the trade of the fan favorite started the previous season when Danny, WR Dave Parks, and backup QB Edd Hargett announced that they would rather serve time in Angola than play another year for Coach J. D. Roberts. Owner John Mecom labeled the trio "troublemakers."

L-R: Danny Abramowicz, Joe Federspiel, John Mecom
Roberts was still the coach when training camp opened in July 1973. But after four exhibition games, John gave in to the calls for J. D.'s scalp and "regretfully, very regret­fully" replaced Roberts with his assistant, John North.
Federspeil was doubtful for the revenge game because of a shoulder sprain that pre­vented him from practicing all week.
At 5-7, the Niners weren't having a good year and had no chance to make the playoffs. A victory would pull the 4-8 Saints even with them for third-place in the division standings.
Steve Spurrier, a backup to QB John Brodie for the past seven years, started against the Saints. 38-year-old Brodie, who had announced his retirement at the end of the sea­son, was sidelined by an injury. Spurrier had started the earlier game against the Saints but was taken out in the second quarter with the score 0-0. "Naturally, I remember that one," Steve told reporters. Never shy about voicing his opinion, he added, "I admit I wasn't a ball of fire that day, but I still think I might have been taken out too early."
Another theme for the game was Abramowicz's streak of catching at least one pass in 89 games. But he managed to extend the string by snagging one pass for 7y to put him only six games from the record of Lance Alworth. He was roundly booed on several occa­sions, including his lone catch of the day. One fan held up a sign that said "Abramoquits."

Archie Manning calls signals.
The crowd of 62,490 on a sunny day saw the Saints score a touchdown on their first possession although it looked momentarily like they would have to settle for a field goal. When WR Jubilee Dunbar lost three on an end-around, the Saints faced third-and-long at the SF 37. But on the next play, Jubilee beat CB Bruce Taylor on a post pattern and Archie Manning hit him in stride for the touchdown. During the nearly six-minute drive, Archie converted four straight third downs. However, he injured his arm on the drive when he was creamed and did not return to the game.
The 49ers could never catch up the rest of the game. Neither team scored a touchdown until Joe Reed, who took over for the ineffective Spurrier in the second half, hit Ted Kwalick from 14y out to pull to within 16-10 with 9:26 left.
In between the six-pointers, Bruce Gossett kicked a 34y field goal for the Niners, and Bill McClard booted three field goals for the Saints from 19, 20, and 29 yards.

L-R: Bill McClard, Steve Baumgartner, Bobby Scott
Leading 13-3, the Saints dodged a bullet in the third quarter after a 49er punt went out of bounds inside the one. The Saints couldn't get a first down, and Steve O'Neal got off a short punt to the 35.
Spurrier went right to work, hitting TE Ted Kwalik for 19y and WR Vic Washington for eight more. On first and goal at the six, RB Ken Willard tried to sweep left but lost a yard. Then DE Steve Baumgartner threw Spurrier for a 9y loss. After Steve missed on a despe­ration third down pass, Gossett took the field for an easy 23y field goal. Amazingly, the kick was no good.
Backup QB Bobby Scott flipped the field when he fired a strike to WR Bob Newland, who made a great catch despite close coverage by CB Jimmy Johnson. The play covered 41y and put the ball on the SF 23.
The 49ers stifled the Saints on the next three plays. So McClard banged home a 29y field goal with 2:48 left in the quarter to extend the lead to 16-3.
Saints fans got restless early in the final quarter when another short punt set up the visitors at the NO 48. Gaining yardage with his feet as well as with his arm, Reed led a drive that resulted in a 14y touchdown pass to TE Ted Kwalick, who was all alone in the end zone. The PAT made it 16-10 Saints with 9:25 left.
The teams exchanged punts until the Saints took over at their 45 with 5:21 on the clock. They got one first down before bogging down. So McClard came in for a 45y field goal. Nail it and the lead would be nine points, making victory just about assured. But his kick was low and to the right. Saints fans still had some sweating to do on the chilly afternoon.
Reed sent shivers down the customers' spines as he connected on passes of 14 and 18y to make it first and 10 at the NO 48. But LB Rick Kingrea, DB Ernie Jackson, and LB Dick Palmer came up with clutch defensive plays, and the Saints took over at their 42 and ran out the clock.

L-R: Bob Newland, Rick Kingrea, Ernie Jackson
Right after the game, Saints adolescent owner John Mecom accosted Abramowicz to express his anger at Danny leaving the Saints. "The loss was like a nail through my heart," Danny said, "but I stopped to congratulate Bobby Scott. As I was leaving the field, Mecom ran up to me and cussed me out. Called me a no-good asshole. I couldn't believe he would talk to me like that, and I started after him, when Joe Federspiel held me back. I was gonna pop him one, but he ran away." Mecom denied the incident but denounced Abramowicz for his lack of loyalty. "He left this team and this town."