Reliving the New Orleans Saints' emotional 2005 NFL season

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
37 PHOTOS
Katrina 10 year: New Orleans Saints 2005 season, Superdome
See Gallery
Reliving the New Orleans Saints' emotional 2005 NFL season
IN FLIGHT- AUGUST 30: The damaged roof from Hurricane Katrina of the Louisiana Superdome is seen August 30, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Approximately 100 people are feared dead and estimates put the property loss at nearly $30 billion as Hurricane Katrina could become the costliest storm in US history. It is estimated that 80 percent of New Orleans is under flood waters as levees begin to break and leak around Lake Ponchartrain. (Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints linebacker T.J. Slaughter sits during practice at San Jose State football practice facility in San Jose, Calif., Monday, Aug. 29, 2005. The Saints decided to leave for northern California to practice several days early as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans under mandatory evacuation. The Saints have a Thursday night preseason game against the the Oakland Raiders. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2005: Light streaming down through the ceiling of the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana illuminates a ragged crowd of refugees taking shelter at the arena in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast states on August 29th, 2005. (Photo by Michael Appleton/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 30: The Super Dome is seen in flooded downtown New Orleans, Louisiana on August 30, 2005, a day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. Hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana as a category 4 storm, forcing levies to brake and flooding much of New Orleans. (Photo by Marko Georgiev/Getty Images)
Red Cross worker Ginny Angerer, left, looks for a vein on the arm of Heidi Thomas of Aromas, Calif., as Thomas prepares to donate blood prior to the Oakland Raiders-New Orleans Saints preseason game Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in Oakland, Calif. The Oakland Raiders and the American Red Cross joined forces to conduct a blood drive to help the Red Cross ensure a steady supply of blood for victims of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the Gulf Coast. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Members of the New Orleans Saints bow their heads during a moment of silence for victims of Hurricane Katrina, prior to a preseason game with the Oakland Raiders, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2005: Lawrence and Vanessa Arnollie take shelter in the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast states on August 29th, 2005. After three days with no running water and intense heat and humidity the shelter has become unsanitary and unsafe. Officials prepare evacuation despite the flood water surrounding the building. (Photo by Michael Appleton/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints receiver' Joe Horn slaps hands with an unidentified child at the Astrodome in Houston Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005 in Houston. Horn visited the dome to give the displaced residents from New Orleans hope and for thousands of Hurricane Katrina refugees inside the Astrodome, meeting him was a much-needed morale boost. (AP Photo/Donna Carson)
New Orleans Saints linebacker T.J. Slaughter, left, and Tiffany Cardenas, 18, of San Antonio, serve lunch to Hurricane Katrina evacuees , Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005, at a shelter at KellyUSA, a former Air Force base, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
New Orleans Saints' Deuce McAllister (26) tries to run past Carolina Panthers' Will Witherspoon (54) during the Saints' 23-20 win in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Sept. 11, 2005. McAllister had 64 yards and two touchdowns.(AP Photo/Rick Havner)
New Orleans Saints' Donte Stallworth (83) acknowledges Saints' fans as he walks off the field after the Saints' 23-20 win over the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Sept. 11, 2005. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Hurricane Katrina refugee Abe McQueen, of New Orleans, watches the New Orleans Saints football game on television, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, at Camp Edwards in Bourne, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
** FILE ** The Louisiana Superdome sits in the foreground as floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina continue to recede Sept. 11, 2005, in New Orleans. The New Orleans Saints, left searching for a host site after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Superdome roof, announced plans Monday, Sept. 12 to split seven home games this season between Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., and the Alamodome in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Pool)
New Orleans Saints players stretch prior to their practice at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, Sept. 16, 2005. The displaced Saints have made San Antonio their temporary home after they were driven from the Superdome by Hurricane Katrina. Somewhat overlooked in the drama surrounding the New Orleans Saints' opening victory is this nugget: They've now won five straight games. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A giant American flag in the shape of the United States is carried onto the field at Giants Stadium as the national anthem is played before the start of a game between the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants. The Saints are playing their home opener at Giants Stadium because their Superdome was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
The New Orleans Saints run onto the field before the start of their game against the New York Giants. The Saints are playing their home opener at Giants Stadium because their Superdome was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Aaron Brooks #2 of the New Orleans Saints walks under a sign referencing the Hurricane Relief fund after losing 27-10 to the New York Giants on September 19, 2005 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Saints are playing their home opener, with proceeds going to the Hurricane Katrina relief fund, in New Jersey after being forced from the Superdome which was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Dark clouds cover the sky above the Superdome in New Orleans, Monday, Oct. 3, 2005. Hurricane Katrina forced the Saints from their home and into a cross-country journey with three home games scheduled for the Alamodome and four others closer to home in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
San Antonio residents Jesse Garcia, right, and his son, Collin, show their support for the New Orleans Saints before the start of their first home game in the Alamodome against the Buffalo Bills in this Oct. 2, 2005 photo in San Antonio. The Saints, who were unable to play in the Superdome in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, play some of their home games in San Antonio's Alamodome. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Green Bay Packers receiver Robert Ferguson (89) catches a 25-yard touchdown pass in front of New Orleans Saints safety Josh Bullocks (29) during the second quarter Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
New Orleans Saints' LeCharles Bentley sits on the field after Green Bay Packers' Nick Barnett retuned an intercepted pass 95 yards for a touchdown during the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 52-3. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
A pair of football fans hold a sign regarding the playing of an NFL game in San Antonio, during the game between the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005, in San Antonio, Texas. The Falcons defeated the Saints 34-31. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson hauls several New Orleans Saints into the end zone as he scores from the 6-yard line in the second quarter Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
New Orleans Saints fans hold "Katrina Can't Stop The Saints" signs in the stands during the first half against the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005. (AP Photo/James A. Finley)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn and other Saints enter the field at LSU's Tiger Stadium Sunday, Oct. 30, 2005, in Baton Rouge, La. This is their first game in Louisiana, since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast in August. (AP Photo/Travis Spradling)
New Orleans Saints players take the field for pre-game warmups in the LSU painted end zone on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2005, in Louisiana State University's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. This is the Saints first game back in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina hit. (AP Photo/Travis Spradling)
New Orleans Saints fans show their spirit and opinions concerning owner Tom Benson during the first half against the Chicago Bears at LSU's Tiger Stadium Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005, in Baton Rouge, La.. The woman on the right dressed up like a chicken and sported a Benson mask. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
** FILE ** New Orleans Saints wide receiver Donte Stallworth (83) celebrates after scoring on a 14-yard touchdown as Chicago Bears' Nathan Vasher (31) and Charles Tillman (33) look on during the first half in this Nov. 6, 2005 file photo, in Baton Rouge, La.. Still looking to replace Terrell Owens, the Philadelphia Eagles acquired wide receiver Donte' Stallworth from the Saints on Monday, Aug. 28, 2006. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks, left, looks to pass as he is pressured by New England Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel during the first half in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday Nov. 20, 2005. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New Orleans Saints receiver Az-Zahir Hakim hauls in a 9-yard touchdown pass as Atlanta's Ronnie Heard (38) defends at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Dec. 12, 2005. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)
Many seats remain empty at the start of the Carolina Panthers-New Orleans Saints NFL football game at LSU's Tiger Stadium on Sunday Dec. 18, 2005, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
New Orleans Saints players run onto the field at the Alamodome for an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in San Antonio, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005. The Lions won, 13-12. The Saints were displaced to San Antonio following Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
New Orleans Saints fan Martin Scales holds a sign as Saints players leave the field after their NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in San Antonio, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005. The Lions won 13-12. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis answers reporters questions after a news conference announcing that the team would return to New Orleans during a news conference at the training facility in Metairie, La., Friday Dec. 30, 2005. Team owner Tom Benson says his team might be able to play in the hurricane-ravaged Superdome by September. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws a football to some of the workers that took a break while working on a Habitat for Humanity home in the Musicians Village in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Thursday, May 10, 2007. Brees, along with his teammates and fraternity brothers of Sigma Chi are helping in rebuilding homes in the effort to aid the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Brees calls this latest community outreach effort, "Rebuilding thru Brotherhood," as 83 of his fraternity brothers who are currently enrolled at various colleges around the country, as well as Canada, will rebuild four houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 2005: New Orleans Saints helmet on field in 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


As we look back at the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, it's almost impossible not to think about the influential roles coach Sean Payton and the Saints had in helping New Orleans rebuild.

The mayor of city, Ray Nagin, told Sports Illustrated's Peter King at that time, "the Saints mean everything to this community right now. We need them now more than ever, at least until we get back on our feet."

SEE MORE: How Tulane's student-athletes came together during the storm


The Saints played through a miserable 3-13 campaign in 2005, but even though they didn't post many wins on the field, they represented victory off it.

In addition to helping the community in a variation of ways, Payton's club played its entire season splitting the home games between the Alamodome, Tiger Stadium and Giants Stadium and four college football games were forced to find new hosts as the dome underwent fixes.

SEE MORE: Special coverage on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

But those fixes were finished in time for the 2006 football season, and when the Superdome finally returned, it was as if the city itself had been rebuilt. Fans flocked to the venue for its first Monday Night Football game on Sept. 25, 2006 to watch their Saints take on the Atlanta Falcons. What they saw was nothing short of magical.

New life was pumped into the desperate city.

Early in the first quarter, with the crowd already buzzing, Steve Gleason broke free to block a Falcons punt and return it for a crowd-energizing touchdown. It was the first score of a 23-3 route for the Saints and a first-place finish that took them all the way to that year's NFC Championship Game.

The healing process, especially for football fans, began with cheers. Take a look through the gallery above to relive the entire inspirational season.

A CITY AND ITS TEAMS, LINKED FOREVER

Katrina 10 Years Later: A City and Its Teams Forever Linked


MORE ON AOL.COM:
Illustrating 10 years of recovery
Hurricane technology evolution
Read Full Story

People are Reading