If you are a long time New Orleans Saints fan and the “The Dome Patrol” is mentioned, feelings of nostalgia begin to wash over you. Much like memories of the first day of school, Christmas morning, and birthday parties that we desperately hold onto and want to experience again.
I believe that one of my most prized bits of Saints memorabilia I have is a full sized autographed Dome Patrol poster. You know the one I’m talking about my fellow Who Dat’s.
With the Superdome lit up in the background, former Saints Linebacker’s Pat Swilling, Vaughn Johnson, Sam Mills, and Rickey Jackson are dressed in military/police uniform’s standing guard in front. Their faces stone-like and gold plated Terminator sunglasses covering their eyes. In bold huge golden letter’s above them read like a warning to trespasser’s: THE DOME PATROL.
Just thinking about it gives me a chill and I’m instantly transported back to my younger days. The Dome Patrol gave us something to cheer about as a Saints fan when there wasn’t much to cheer about.
Amidst the memories, I ask myself if there will ever be another Dome Patrol? My answer might surprise or , in my case, depress some of you.
The Dome Patrol was special because they were on a team that most people didn’t expect it to happen on. It was a once in a lifetime aligning of the stars of four player’s either drafted by the Saints(Rickey Jackson and Pat Swilling) or signed from the short-lived United States Football League(Sam Mills and Vaughan Johnson).
They were a melting pot of talent. Two of the most loved were Rickey Jackson and Sam Mills.
Jackson was a beast and relentless on the field. His toughness was displayed in 1989 when he was involved in a severe car accident. Jackson missed only two games that season which would be the only two missed of his 13 year career.
He had a special helmet constructed for him with a face shield and double face masks. Jackson would play the rest of that season with the helmet and his jaw wired. Even with that, he still nabbed 7 1/2 sacks.
Mills was nicknamed “The Field Mouse” because of his small size for a linebacker, which was 5’9. However, he played like he was 10 feet tall. His size allowed him to zip around offensive lineman when he would blitz and his bull rush hitting capabilities took offenses by surprise. Mills was considered by many to be the leader of the defense.