For Saints fans young and old the 2009-2010 season will be one to remember. After a historic 13-3 season the Saints went on to secure their first ever NFC Championship and Super Bowl berth.
Now the “Dome Patrol” leader, linebacker Rickey Jackson, is a finalist for Hall of Fame consideration after an eight year snub of being on the ballot but never being voted in as a finalist.
His nomination marks the first for a Saint and if elected to the Hall of Fame will become the first ever Saint to receive the honor, the “firsts” just keep coming for New Orleans.
Jackson played in New Orleans from 1981 to 1993 after being drafted in the second round of the 81 draft by then head coach Bum Phillips.
During his tenure as a Saint Jackson recorded five or more sacks every season, he had double digit sacks in six of his thirteen seasons as a Saint including a career best 13.5 sacks in 1992 and was voted to six Pro Bowls for his efforts.
At the time of his retirement, his 28 defensive fumble recoveries were the second most in NFL history behind Jim Marshall’s 29. He still leads the Saints in career sacks with 123.
However Jackson is best known for his starring role in the fabled “Dome Patrol” defense assembled by head coach Jim Mora in the lates 80′s and early 90′s.
The “Dome Patrol” consisted of linebackers Sam Mills, Vaughan Johnson, Pat Swilling and of course Jackson himself and during their rane there wasn’t a defense more feared or respected in the NFL.
Combined they lead the Saints to four play-off appearences, a western divison title, and also lead the league in points surrendered and turnovers in 1991 and 1992. This on top of giving up ten points or less in 27 games including five complete shutouts.
All four made the Pro Bowl in 1992 which marked the first time in NFL history that four linebackersfrom the same team collective were voted in.
There simply had or hasnt been a linebacker corps as dominate as they where and Jackson was a clear reason why. In fact they were so good that the NFL network voted them the best linebacker corp of all time, a very distinguished honor.
Now all thats left is for Swilling, Mills and Johnson to get voted in for well earned Hall of Fame consideration, after all it only seems fitting that the entire “Dome Patrol” makes it in together.
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