Today in NFC South history

Twenty-eight years ago today, Tom Benson reached an agreement to purchase the New Orleans Saints from John W. Mecom Jr. The move was approved by other NFL owners three days later.

Benson’s tenure wasn’t always smooth as the team didn’t have much sustained success and, at one time, he was a public enemy when rumors of a potential move to San Antonio were rampant. But once Benson reached an agreement to keep the Saints in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, it seemed like the fortunes of the franchise (and Benson’s public perception) changed for the better.

Benson’s hiring of coach Sean Payton in 2006 (coupled with the signing of quarterback Drew Brees) have made him one of the league’s most successful owners in recent years. The Saints have become regular playoff contenders, and they won their first Super Bowl in the 2009 season.

Benson helped bring last season’s Super Bowl to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and he also now owns the NBA’s Pelicans.