Ten Saints Who Will Never See Canton's Pearly Gates
There's not a single Saints player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But there will be.
Rickey Jackson has been eligible for several years now but hasn't been elected.
Willie Roaf and Morten Andersen aren't eligible yet but are almost first-ballot locks to be inducted when they are.
How is it, you may wonder, that in over 40 years of existence this franchise has only produced potentially two or three Hall of Famers?
The answer to that is hard to pinpoint. I blame Bourbon Street.
The only extended success the Saints ever really enjoyed was under the tenure of Jim Mora in the '80s and '90s.
But there is a silver lining to the years of mediocrity and failure:
At least there aren't many eligible players to choose from when making the list of top 10 Saints that will never make the Hall of Fame.
I think I'm depressed now.
10. Wayne Martin
As an '80s baby, my Saints memories can only take me so far back.
Fortunately they were only good for a short period in the '80s and '90s, so at least I'm still old enough to remember the good ol' days.
Wayne Martin played his entire career with the Saints after being drafted 19th overall in 1989.
He was a sacking machine, posting his best numbers in the mid-'90s and making the Pro Bowl in 1994.
Martin is second in sacks in Saints history with 82.5, trailing only Rickey Jackson.
9. Eric Martin
No relation to the former, this Martin played almost all of his post-high school football in Louisiana.
Drafted out of LSU in 1985, Martin played all but one year with the Saints.
He never posted gaudy numbers (1,090 yards and eight TDs in '89 was his best season), but he was Bobby Hebert's favorite target on a team that lacked offensive firepower.
During his last six years with the Saints, he had over 60 receptions each year.
He had five seasons with over 900 yards receiving, three over 1,000, and he made the Pro Bowl in 1988.
8. Dalton Hilliard
A true homer, Louisiana native Dalton Hilliard was a second round pick out of LSU in 1986. He played his entire career with the Saints.
The only other notable offensive weapon besides Eric Martin during this era, Hilliard was a consummate work ethic guy.
As a Saint, Hilliard ran for over 4,000 yards and caught another 2,000 as well.
Hilliard’s best season was in 1989, when he rushed for 1,262 yards, caught 514 receiving yards, and scored 18 total touchdowns en route to his only Pro Bowl.
He is also tied with Deuce McAllister for most rushing TDs in one season, with 13.
7. Bobby Hebert
Another Louisiana native, the "Cajun Cannon" helped lead his teams to four playoff appearances.
Though none of those trips yielded wins, it's still more than Archie Manning can say.
Hebert's best season was in 1993, when he made the Pro Bowl...for the Falcons.
But hey, what Saint hasn't changed teams within the division only to find success?
Hebert is now the co-host of a New Orleans sports radio talk show.
His thick accent and inner "Who Dat" are what make him still one of the most beloved Saints of all time.
6. Aaron Brooks
I'm not even sure Brooks should even be on this list. But I like to remember the good times.
Since there's no real criteria, and since I can't ignore his place in Saints history, Brooks has earned a spot.
Brooks' crowning (and only) achievement was leading the Saints to their first ever playoff win in 2000.
The five years that followed were miserably and painfully mediocre, as the Saints never made it back to the postseason with Brooks.
Brooks was oozing with talent but lacked the one thing that all pro QBs require but cannot be taught: leadership.
To Brooks' credit, though, he was either first or second in many of the Saints' major passing categories when he left the team following the 2005 season.
5. Joe Horn
"Hollywood" will be remembered mostly for his cell phone celebration after catching his second of four touchdowns against the Giants on Sunday Night Football in 2003.
What he should be remembered for is his breakout 2000 season alongside another unknown: Aaron Brooks.
In his seven years as a Saint, Horn had 523 receptions for 7,622 yards.
He also went to four Pro Bowls in his first five seasons with the Saints and had four seasons of more than 1,250 yards receiving.
Horn remains the best receiver in Saints history.
4. Archie Manning
Way before my time, I like to think of Archie as the "First Saint."
He was the first one that really mattered to me, anyway.
As good a quarterback as Manning was, he was never surrounded with any kind of talent.
The result for him was no playoff appearances and no winning records in his 12 years with the Saints.
It's a shame because that's what has singlehandedly kept Manning out of the record books and out of Canton.
Though he never went to the playoffs, he did have two consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in 1978 and 1979.
3. Sammy Knight
The Saints have been looking for a defensive playmaker ever since Knight was let go after the 2002 season.
Knight signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 1997, proving his worth by intercepting five passes in his rookie year.
I remember Knight constantly being around the ball. If he wasn't making interceptions, he was delivering the huge blow or recovering fumbles.
At the time of his release, Knight led all active players at his position in interceptions, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, and tackles, among other categories.
Knight was another victim in a long line of players the Saints should have never let go.
His lone Pro Bowl was in 2001.
2. The Dome Patrol (sort of)
The No. 2 spot goes to three players: Sam Mills, Pat Swilling, and Vaughn Johnson.
Rickey Jackson can't be included since there's still a chance he could be in the Hall of Fame.
But when you mention one member of the Dome Patrol, you have to mention them all.
Voted the best linebacking corps of all time by NFL Network, the Dome Patrol was the only reason the Saints found any success during the Jim Mora era.
The four linebackers combined for 18 Pro Bowl appearances and made NFL history by collectively being named to the Pro Bowl in 1992.
In the time that the Dome Patrol was together, the Saints never had a losing season.
1. Deuce McAllister
There may have never been a better human being to put on the black and gold than Dulymus Jenod McAllister.
That's not even considering what he did ON the field.
Though no longer a Saint, Deuce leaves the organization as the best RB in the team's history, as well as its most beloved player.
Drafted by the Saints 23rd overall in the 2001 draft, Deuce holds every major rushing record for the Saints, including yards and rushing touchdowns.
From 2002-04 he dominated with a strange combination of power, speed, and a slightly upright running style like no Saints running back ever has.
During that three-year period he accumulated 22 100-yard rushing games, including nine straight in 2003.
He also earned consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl in 2002-03.
Sadly, two knee injuries separated him from a career that would have him on the top tier of NFL backs in the '00 decade.