The New Orleans Saints won their first division title in 1991, which is weird both because the Saints had been around for more than two decades before that point and because the 1991 Saints were a weird team. They were 11-5. Steve Walsh and Bobby Hebert split time at QB, and neither played well. Gill "The Thrill" Fenerty and Fred McAfee were the running backs. Neither of them played very well, either. Pat Swilling had 17 sacks and Rickey Johnson had 11.5. Jim Mora was the coach. Somehow this team won the NFC West.
And this team's slogan, its call to arms: "Cha-ching." "Cha-ching," at the time, was the slogan for Rally's Hamburgers, a southern fast food chain that's now part of the Checkers empire. The "cha-ching" commercials featured a 17-year-old Seth Green, who received a key to the city of New Orleans for his contributions to the Saints' mojo. The Saints' cha-chinging was good news for Rally's, too, who cha-chinged their sales 22 percent more often than usual during that season.
But the cha-chinging soon stopped, once New Orleans got thrashed by Deion Sanders and the rest of the Chris Miller Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round. The New Orleans press, not known as a vicious bunch, accused the Saints of cha-choking. Seth Green eventually became too big for southern fast food commercials. And the Saints went back to the playoffs the next year, again losing in the first round. This time they couldn't blame the hamburgers.
Hear more on this excerpt of Slate's Hang Up And Listen podcast.