Rickey Jackson, probably the most well known member of the legendary Dome Patrol, was a 2nd round pick in 1981 out of Pittsburgh. When he joined in 1981, Bum Phillips had just assumed the role as the newest New Orleans Saints head coach and was in the process of overhauling a dysfunctional team that had just posted a 1-15 record. That disastrous season will forever be remembered as the year of the “Bagheads” and the “A’ints”. After drafting Heisman Trophy Award winner George Rodgers from South Carolina, the Saints picked defensive end Ricky Jackson from Pittsburgh. Jackson had enjoyed a productive college career at Pitt but was his success was always overshadowed by All-American Hugh Green who played the opposite defensive end position.
Jackson’s rookie season was nothing short of incredible and he was named to the NFL All-Rookie team of 1980. He “unofficially” had 8 sacks (sacks weren’t considered an official statistic until 1982) and was credited with 125 tackles. By the time he left the Saints in 1993 he would become arguably the most prolific defensive player in New Orleans Saints History. Still the team All-Time Sack Leader, over 1100 tackles and 195 games started. In 13 seasons he missed only 2 games due to injury. And that injury was from a motorcycle accident in 1989. He played the final 13 weeks of that season with a special facemask and his jaw wired shut. In 1992 Jackson along with Sam Mills, Vaughn Johnson and Pat Swilling were all named to the Pro Bowl, the first line backing corps to receive that honor and to be named as one of the best linebacking sets in the history of the NFL. Jackson himself played in 6 Pro Bowls and his 128 NFL career sacks still ranks 15th on the All-Time NFL Career Sack list.
Even after he left in 1993, he still managed 2 more seasons with the San Fransisco 49ers where he got Super Bowl ring in 1994 with the 49ers win over San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX.
The icing on the cake for Saints fans and Rickey Jackson was being named to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010, only the second real Saint player to have that honor.
Rickey Jackson’s New Orleans Saint Career
|Tackles Are Both Solo & Assists Combined|
|* – Pro Bowl|
|† – Led Team for Year|
|‡ – NFL Best for the Year|
|⚜ – New Orleans Saints Team Record|