In 1991, New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Steve Sidwell had a defense that was considered one of the very elite of the NFL at the time. Ranking #1 in Points Given Up and Takeaways as well as #2 in Total Yards Given Up, The Dome Patrol reached heights never realized by previous Saints teams before them. We led the league with 29 interceptions and were 3rd in sacks with 50.
3 of the 4 starting linebackers were named to the NFC 1st Team Pro Bowl. Of the linebacking corps, only Ricky Jackson didn’t make the Pro Bowl that season. Sam Mills, Vaughan Johnson and Pat Swilling were all chosen to Pro Bowl squad. Swilling made the All-Pro Team as well as being named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as he led the league with 17 sacks – still a team record.
The scene above is typical of the Saints defenses of that time. Gang tackling was almost an art with them. Eagles running back Heath Sherman (#23) finds himself assailed upon by a mob of Saint defenders. Brett Maxie (#39) and Vaughan Johnson (#53) lead the attack as fellow team mates James Williams (#90) and “Pig” Goff (#91) aid in assistance. Hall of Famer Ricky Jackson (#57) is in the background. The entire Saints defense showed up big that day forcing 6 turnovers (5 interceptions and 1 fumble) as well as sacking Eagles quarterback Brad Goebel 4 times. Philadelphia failed to find the endzone. They could only manage 2 field goals as New Orleans triumphed in a 13-6 victory.
New Orleans would end the season with their first ever Division title as they posted an 11-5 record. The season ended with a 20-27 loss in the Wildcard round to our arch-rivals, the Atlanta Falcons.