Look back: NFL's Saints anything but naughty on Christmas Eve

UNDATED (WLOX) - Santa was seen raising both his arms during an appearance at the 1994 season finale between the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos.

While it's unclear whether he was praising Saints wide receiver Torrance Small or quarterback Jim Everett that day, there was no doubt that both players' performances were critical in the Christmas Eve game in Denver, Colo.

Denver entered the game with a 7-8 record but was without quarterback John Elway. New Orleans, which displayed a 6-9 record before the game, picked up career days from Small and Everett en route to a 30-28 win over the Broncos.

Small, who played 72 career games with the Saints, had just one game with over 100 receiving yards. He had 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns against the Broncos that day.

Everett had only one game in the '94 season with more than two touchdown passes, and yes, it was in the mile high city. He completed 23-of-27 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns.

Morten Andersen had three field goals in what turned out to be his final game in a Saints uniform.

The Saints (7-9) finished in second place in the NFC West division behind the San Francisco 49ers, who eventually won the Super Bowl later that year.

Exactly one year after the win over Denver, the Saints again were playing the season finale for pride.

This time it was against the New York Jets, who had just three wins in 15 games.

In a game that featured 18 mile-per-hour winds and a 23-degree wind chill, the Saints didn't commit a single turnover. Instead, they forced three interceptions from the Jets, including Jimmy Spencer's team-leading fourth interception.

New Orleans picked up a 12-0 win over New York. However, the Saints have recorded just one shutout since Christmas Eve '95 (41-0 over Tampa Bay in 2012).

While the Saints have never played on Christmas Day itself, they have actually played seven all-time Christmas Eve games, including three of those contests in the 21st century. Their most recent was in 2006 against the other New York team.

On December 24, 2006, New Orleans was in solid position for a first-round bye if they could take care of business against the Giants. Rookie sensation Reggie Bush had 126 yards, while Deuce McAllister ripped off 108 yards. Both running backs had touchdown runs.

Amazingly, Eli Manning's Giants didn't have a single snap inside Saints territory that day. New York head coach Tom Coughlin called the 30-7 loss in front of his own fans "embarrassing."

The Saints ended the 2006 campaign with a 10-6 record, earning a first-round bye and said goodbye to a stretch of missing the playoffs 12 of the previous 13 seasons.

After defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-24 in the NFC divisional round, the Saints lost 39-14 to the top-seeded Bears in Chicago in the NFC conference championship.


2006 Saints30 Giants 7
2005Lions13 Saints 12
2000 Rams26 Saints 21
1999 Cowboys 24 Saints31
1995 Saints12 Jets 0
1994 Saints30 Broncos 28
1989 Colts 6 Saints41