Saints Pivotal Moments
Chiefs 1976: Stram Beats His Former Team
In January 1976, Saints owner John Mecom Jr. made a coaching hire that surprised many observers. He signed Hank Stram to a five-year contract worth over a million dol­lars. In 15 seasons with the Texans/Chiefs franchise, Stram won 24 games, three AFL titles, and a Super Bowl. However, he wore out his welcome when the Kansas City went 5-9 in both '74 and '75.
After being a commentator on NFL games for CBS-TV in 1976, Stram was ready for the challenge of leading the Saints to respectability. "I felt very enthusiastic about it," he re­called. "I thought that it was an opportunity football-wise." He was given the title of vice president.
However, he had second thoughts once he arrived in New Orleans. The first thing Stram did was renovate the team's training facility, which was well below NFL standards. He then overhauled the scouting department and the front office. The situation he inherited was worse than he had heard from others before he took the job.
"I was strongly tempted to pull out before the season started and return to CBS," Stram admitted. "I wondered what I was getting into and thought it might be better to leave such a bizarre situation right from the start."

John Mecom and Hank Stram
One of the main reasons Stram took the New Orleans challenge was QB Archie Man­ning. If Archie could come back from the serious right shoulder injury he suffered during the 1975 season, Stram had a leader to build an offense around. Unfortunately, Manning underwent surgery in March and again in August and missed the entire season. Bobby Scott, a three-year veteran from Tennessee, started the first seven weeks.
Manning would play in only 10 games during Stram's three-year tenure with the Saints. Archie called that "one of the biggest disappointments of my career," adding that Stram was "such a fertile football mind."
The Saints weren't competitive in Stram's first two regular season games, both at home. The Vikings romped 40-9, and the Cowboys won 24-6.
Those losses cleared the decks for the game Stram had certainly circled as soon as the NFL schedule came out—a trip to Kansas City to play his former team. The Chiefs, coached by Paul Wiggin, were also 0-2 with both losses coming in the AFC West to the Chargers and Raiders.
Stram tried to downplay the story of his return to his former stomping ground. "I don't think my returning will have any effect on the game. You've got to go in there at a high emotional level, play errorless football, and disregard whatever transpires off the field."

Tony Galbreath runs against Kansas City as T Tom Wickert (66) follows.
Wiggin minced no words when asked about facing his predecessor. "I have never met the man, but I would like to kick his butt." He would come to regret that statement.
Asked to evaluate the current Kansas City team, Stram smiled and said, "They are supposed to be rebuilding, but there are eight starters on offense that were there my last year (1974). Add to that number the five regulars on defense, and you have 13 of the first 22 players."
The teams exchanged first quarter touchdowns. The Chiefs took the opening kickoff and marched 57y. A crucial penalty against the Saints kept the drive alive. On third and four at the NO six, the Saints stopped McArthur Lane to apparently force a field goal attempt. But a personal foul on CB Maurice Spencer gave KC a first down. On the next snap, RB Woody Green scored over left tackle. Chiefs 7 Saints 0
A lightning bolt hit the Chiefs on the Saints' second possession. RB Tony Galbreath, one of Stram's two first round draft choices, had rushed for only 28y in the first two games. But he took a handoff, squirted through the line, broke a tackle in the secondary and raced 74y to pay dirt. His fellow first-rounder, RB Chuck Muncie, made a key block on the KC 30 to clear the way to the end zone. Chiefs 7 Saints 7
The visitors took the lead in the second period on Rich Szaro's 26y field goal. Saints 10 Chiefs 7
The Chiefs looked like they would at least equal or better that score when they moved to the NO three. But defenders Joe Federspeil, Derland Moore, and Elex Price stuffed Ed Podolak on fourth down to end the threat.
When the Saints couldn't make a first down, the Chiefs were back in business at the NO 44. This time they would not be denied. Successive completions by QB Mike Livingston to Lane for 26y and to WR Henry Marshall for 20 more put the Chiefs in front 14-10 at the half.

L-R: Bobby Scott, Joe Federspiel, Mark Hermann, Henry Childs
The Chiefs increased their lead on their first possession after intermission when Jan Stenerud booted a 27y field goal. Chiefs 17 Saints 10
The Saints answered with a field goal of their own with 6:45 remaining in the contest. Mixing the running of Muncie with short passes, Scott piloted his team to the KC 10 before stalling. So Szaro split the uprights from the 27. Chiefs 17 Saints 13
The visitors got the ball back on their 31 with 3:53 left. KC lofted a long 58y aerial to WR Mark Hermann running behind former Nicholls State DB Gary Barbaro, who bumped Herrmann out of bounds on the KC 12.
On third and seven, the Chiefs expected a pass, but Scott surprised them by handing the ball to Galbreath who dashed 9y into the end zone. Szaro converted. Saints 20 Chiefs 17 (2:28)
The Chiefs had to go for in on fourth-and-10, but DE Bob Pollard sacked QB Tony Adams to give the Saints the ball on the KC 21 with 1:23 remaining.
Stram put an exclamation point on his return to Kansas City when he ordered Scott to call time out with the ball on the two and 11 seconds left. After consulting with the coach, Scott came back and flipped a TD pass to TE Henry Childs to add insult to injury.
Final score: Saints 27 Chiefs 17
As expected, Stram was asked why he called the timeout in the last seconds. At first, he gave an evasive answer. "It was obvious. We wanted another touchdown. That's what the game is all about."
But he didn't stop there. "There were some personal things in the New Orleans news­papers I didn't think much of. ... He (Wiggin) said he was going to kick my butt all over Arrowhead Stadium. I don't know if he was misquoted, but that was the way they wrote it. When you lose seven straight, you'd better be careful what you say."
Cradling the game ball under his arm in the locker room, Galbreath said, "I was just doing what I was supposed to do. The line blocked. The line, man ... the offensive line."
Saints C John Hill said that the offensive line "looked each other square in the eye" as the fourth quarter began, "and we said, 'We're gonna do it.' We went out there and exe­cuted."
Muncie, who carried 25 times for 126y (20 less than Galbreath), summed up the victory. "There was some solid execution in the last quarter."
References: They're Playing My Game, Hank Stram with Lou Sahadi (1986)
The Saga of the Saints: An Illustrated History of the First 25 Seasons
, Wayne Mack (1992)
Tales for the Saints Sideline: A Collection of the Greatest Stories Ever Told, Jeff Duncan (2004)