Saints Pivotal Moments
1985: Saints Sign Hebert and Mora
Bobby Hebert, a native of Galliano LA who played quarterback for South Lafourche High School, played college football at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches LA. Then he played in the spring for the United States Football League for the Michigan Panthers for two years and the Oakland Invaders for one year. He won the league's Most Valuable Player Award in his first season when he led the Panthers to the USFL championship. Then he quar­terbacked the Invaders to the finals in his third year.
That's when the 6'4" 215lb "Cajun Cannon" decided to move to the National Football League. He was described this way: "He had a solid arm but lacked the biggest arm. He lacked the speed to run away from pressure. What made Bobby Hebert special? He was a winner."
Hebert almost signed with the Seattle Seahawks. The club even had a house picked out for his family in Seattle when Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, who spoke with the same Cajun accent as Hebert, called and told him the Saints' new owner, Tom Benson, had ap­proved a five-year, $2.5 million contract with a $1.2 million signing bonus. It was the largest signing bonus in NFL history at that time.
Hebert faced competition from four other quarterbacks in training camp, including the 1984 starter Richard Todd, who ended a holdout right before camp, and Dave Wilson.
Wilson started 10 games in the 1985 season while Hebert started the other six. When the Saints won only five games, Benson fired Head Coach/General Manager Wade Phillips and hired Jim Finks as the new general manager. Finks had been GM of the Minnesota Vikings for ten years and the Chicago Bears for nine years.

L-R: Bobby Hebert, Tom Benson and Edwin Edwards, Jim Finks, Jim Mora
Finks signed Jim Mora as the new head coach. A California native, Mora had been a col­lege defensive assistant coach for 16 years before becoming the defensive line coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 1978-81 and the New England Patriots for 1982. Like Hebert, Mora switched to the USFL, becoming the head coach of the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars from 1983-85. He caught the eye of the Saints' front office when the Stars won the USFL championship in 1984 and '85. Finks was banking on his USFL success carrying over to the NFL.
The Saints improved under Mora to a 7-9 record in 1986—okay considering what he inheri­ted, but the fans expected more. They got it in '87 when the Saints finished 12-3 to earn their first playoff berth in franchise history. Unfortunately, they lost the wild card game at home to the Vikings 44-10.
The Saints made the playoff three years in a row from 1990-92 but lost in the first round, including 1991 when they were the #1 seed in the NFC. When they missed the playoffs the next three years with records of 8-8, 7-9, and 7-9, Mora was given his walking papers.
Mora finished his Saints tenure with a 93 wins and 74 losses to become the first head coach in team history to compile a winning record. The 93 victories stood as the most in franchise history until broken by Sean Payton, who won 161 games in his 16-year tenure.
After waiting three years to get the starting job at quarterback, Hebert led the team to its first winning records in 1987 (10-2) and 1988 (10-6). After the Saints slumped to 6-7 in '89, Bobby missed the entire 1990 season because of a contract dispute.
When he returned for the '91 campaign, he led the Silver Anniversary Saints to their best start in franchise history as they won their first seven games (four more than any other open­ing streak)a. But a shoulder injury he suffered in the opener continued to plague him. He missed the last game of the opening winning streak but returned for Game 8, a 20-17 loss to the Bears. He didn't play in the next six games during which the Saints went 2-4 including a 23-20 home loss to the Falcons. When he left the lineup, the Saints were three games ahead of Atlanta. When Bobby returned for Game 15, they were tied. The Cajun Cannon led the Saints to victories over the Los Angeles Raiders and Phoenix Cardinals to clinch the club's first division title.