The New Orleans Saints kicked off their NFL preseason schedule yesterday with a nail-biting 26-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, as the Saints look to recover from a disappointing 2022 season when they finished 7-10, their first losing record since 2016.
Now obviously the preseason doesn’t mean much, but as a Saints fan myself (Who Dat!) it was hard not to be encouraged by what I saw out on the field yesterday – including the game-winning kick by rookie Blake Grupe.
One of the bright spots for Saints fans the past few years has been kicker Wil Lutz, who was over 80% on field goal kicks through his first five seasons and an incredible league-leading 93.3% field goal percentage in 2018.
But Lutz missed the 2021 season due to injury, and when he returned last year he managed to hit only 74% of his field goals attempted, which left the Saints looking for options at kicker during the offseason.
Enter Blake Grupe, an undrafted free agent who played at Arkansas State before transferring to Notre Dame for his final season.
The rookie made his first appearance in black and gold during yesterday’s preseason game, and drilled a 31-yard field goal – his only attempt of the game – to give the Saints the win.
But apparently the security at the Caesars Superdome haven’t quite gotten to know Grupe’s face yet.
After the game, the kicker tweeted about his experience during his first NFL game, and it turns out he was stopped by security not once but TWICE during his debut – because they thought he was a fan trying to get onto the field.
Grupe tweeted that he was stopped by security while trying to get onto the field for warm ups. Then after the game, after drilling the game-winning field goal, Grupe was trying to get off the field in the player exit when he was stopped by security yet again, after being mistaken for a fan trying to get into the Saints locker room.
Sure, the 24-year old kicker is only 5’7″ and 156-pounds, so I can see how it would be easy to mistake him for a fan among a group of NFL players.
Just needs to hit a couple more game winners and he won’t have any trouble getting around the Dome – or anywhere else in New Orleans.
Step 1: get questioned walking onto the field pregame for not having credentials
Step 2: hit a game winner
Step 3: get stopped by security thinking I was a fan when trying to walk out the player exit