It’s a viral moment that still has everyone buzzing. On a day that Michael Thomas entered the New Orleans Saints record books, he paid homage to a franchise great.
After scoring the go-ahead 72-yard touchdown reception in the 45-35 win vs. the previously undefeated Los Angeles Rams (8-1), the electric receiver channeled his inner Joe Horn.
Thomas finished with a franchise-record 211 receiving yards on 12 receptions for the Saints (7-1), who extended their winning streak to seven games.
Prior to the game, Thomas secretly planted a flip cell phone underneath the goal post. To the surprise of everyone, Thomas retrieved it after his clutch score with 3:52 remaining as the Superdome crowd went wild.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 5, 2018
Meanwhile 341 miles away, Horn was beaming with pride and joy during a workout in his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi.
“When I saw him bring out that cellphone, I teared up,” Horn said to NOLA.com. “That’s something that some kids don’t do, to pay homage to an old soul. For him to do it on a national stage took a lot of courage. I’m humbled.”
Similar to Horn’s celebration during the Saints’ 45-7 vs. the New York Giants in 2003, Thomas was flagged with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Thomas explains why he wanted to party like it was 2003.
“You got to have fun,” Thomas said to NOLA.com. “All these guys are catching touchdowns and celebrating and having fun and getting the crowd involved. I felt like I had an opportunity to make it happen, put the game away and make the call.”
Thomas was inspired after watching Horn’s original celebration and was waiting for the right moment to pull it off. Horn tallied 133 yards with four touchdowns in that game.
“I loved the celebration,” Thomas said to NOLA.com. “I loved the swagger that he brought. I love how it got the crowd going. I definitely was thinking about it, but I’m happy I waited for that moment.”
Thomas’ tribute brought Horn back into the national spotlight. The former Saint has received many text messages and phone calls from around the country.
During his tenure with the Saints (2000-2006), Horn amassed 523 receptions (third most in franchise history) along with 7,622 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Now it’s Thomas’ time to shine and Horn proclaims him the best wide receiver in the NFL.
Right after the game, Horn went online to buy a Thomas No. 13 jersey to reciprocate the love.
“I’m his biggest fan now,” Horn said. “My family and I owe him.”
With the Saints striving for a Super Bowl, Horn hopes to return to New Orleans soon and he already has the perfect outfit in mind.
“I’ll always appreciate Saints fans for all they did for me,” Horn said to NOLA.com. “I will always love the city of New Orleans and when I come back there again I’m going to be wearing my Michael Thomas jersey.”
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