Lincoln man ready to cheer on former team

Gary Anderson played for Saints in 1978
By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Lincoln resident Gary Anderson will be rooting for the New Orleans Saints on Super Bowl Sunday. He isn’t your typical fan, though, as the Placer High graduate played for the Saints during his professional football career. Anderson, a former offensive lineman, played in the National Football League (1977 to 1980) and the United States Football League (1981 to 1984). The USFL folded in 1985. He played for the Saints in 1978. “I just moved and I was fishing through all sorts of old football paraphernalia and stuff,” said Anderson, who lives in Lincoln with his 10-year-old son, Bradley. “And I was joking that I would dig out my old Saints hat and shirt.” The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday’s Super Bowl in Miami. Asked about his experiences with the Saints, Anderson remembers being shocked at the size of the Saints’ Superdome. “The enormity of the Superdome. When you come into town, you can’t miss it,” Anderson said. “It looks like a spacecraft landed there. Our team photo was taken in front of the Superdome and I was just looking at it (Sunday) night and just really remembering back . . . It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (playing in the NFL) and few people get to do that. And I was glad I got to.” Anderson, 6-foot-3, also played in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and the Washington Redskins. Anderson, 54, went to Stanford University and the Lions selected him as the 12th pick in the 10th round of the 1977 NFL draft. He played for Jacksonville and Oakland in the USFL. The Saints were not exactly playing in Super Bowls in the 1970s. The Saints went 7-9 when Anderson played for them in 1978. “Back in those days, the Saints were better known as the Aints and (fans) were wearing bags on their heads,” said Anderson, who now works for UPS. “New Orleans is a town that supports its teams but there are so many distractions . . . and I used to say that I didn’t think they’d ever win – too many distractions (in the city with the French quarter, etc.).” The quarterback of the Saints in 1978 was Archie Manning, the father of Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning. His former teammate is rooting for the Colts on Sunday but Anderson is all about the Saints. “I’m rooting for them definitely,” Anderson said. “I like rooting for the underdogs.”