NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints blocked a punt for a touchdown inside the Superdome. In prime time against the Atlanta Falcons. With Steve Gleason in the building to see it.
What better way to try to turn around a 1-4 season?
The Saints took a 14-0 lead over the rival Falcons in the first quarter on Thursday night after the ball was both blocked and recovered by linebacker Michael Mauti. Mauti is a local New Orleans kid from suburb Mandeville, Louisiana, and the son of former Saints special-teams standout Rich Mauti. The Saints signed Mauti after he was released by the Minnesota Vikings at the start of this season.
Gleason’s famous blocked punt against the Falcons in 2006 on the night the Superdome reopened after Hurricane Katrina is immortalized outside the stadium with a statue. He tweeted this after Mauti’s play:
Gleason, who lives in New Orleans and attends many Saints home games, was honored before the game as the recipient of this year’s George Halas Award from the Professional Football Writers of America for overcoming adversity and succeeding. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2011 and has become a renowned advocate for those battling the disease.