It finally happened. Rickey Jackson was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame this past weekend. What a weekend it was to be a part of.
I am so very honored to have been one of Mr. Jackson’s “official guests” for this incredible group of inductees.
On January 10, 2009 I published Rickey Jackson:Will Canton Finally Canonize Its First Saint? Seems only fitting to give it another go round…
Ask any Saints fan, "Does Rickey Jackson have what it takes to make it to Canton?"
The answer would be an emphatic "Yes!"
The faithful believers of the Who Dat nation would also remind the masses that it is long overdue, and they have already been in that number.
It is not too late for the rest to become believers and join the exodus as we make that pilgrimage to Canton, Ohio in August.
The general consensus is to be in the Hall of Fame you should be head and shoulders above the rest. Let me tell you, if this man's head and shoulder were anywhere near you on the field, you said a prayer.
Rickey Jackson was part of the Dome Patrol, which was voted No. 1 Linebacker Corps of All-Time by NFL Films this past year. However, his quest started several years before they became one.
In 1981, Rickey Jackson was drafted in the second round by the New Orleans Saints. Earlier that day, the Saints had the first pick of the draft and selected running back George Rogers, who would become "Rookie of the Year."
Many questioned the mindset of the front office of the Saints when they picked Rogers instead of another outside linebacker, Lawrence Taylor. The new head coach, Bum Phillips, knew exactly what he was doing.
Rickey Jackson started every game his rookie season and in 1983 was selected to the Pro Bowl. Under his then-defensive coordinator and 3-4 specialist Wade Phillips, he would receive two more nods to the Pro Bowl in 1985 and 1986.
I recently came across a quote. "During the 1980s Taylor, DE Leonard Marshall, and fellow linebackers Carl Banks, Gary Reasons, and Hall of Famer Harry Carson gave the Giants linebacking corps and overall defense a reputation as one of the best in the NFL."
If LT is known to have been the anchor of "one of the best" and Rickey Jackson was the anchor of "the best" linebacking corps, then it stands to reason he should make it this year.
As good as Rickey Jackson's numbers were under Bum and Wade Phillips it was under coach Jim Mora when he would become great.
After the acquisition of middle linebacker Vaughn Johnson via the supplemental draft in 1985, and the drafting of fellow outside linebacker Pat Swilling and Sam Mills following Coach Mora over from the Philadelphia Stars, the Dome Patrol emerged.
In the 1990 and 1991 seasons, Jackson led the NFL in most fumble recoveries. In his 15-year career, he boasted a total of 29 fumble recoveries which still ranks second in NFL history.
This year’s finalists include some very prominent names on the offensive side of the ball.
Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, André Reed, and Shannon Sharpe have great numbers and are all deserving of the honor.
On the defensive side, players such Charles Haley, Richard Dent, Cortez Kennedy, and John Randle were forces to contend with on the field.
Rickey Jackson's 1,173 tackles, 128 sacks, 8 interceptions, 29 fumble recoveries, and six Pro Bowl appearances sets him head and shoulders above any of the other defensive players in consideration.
According to the Hall of Fame rules and the Associated press:
"A final candidate must get 80 percent of the vote to make the Hall. A minimum of four and a maximum of seven inductees will be chosen, but no more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a single year.”
Faithful believers know with those kinds of numbers Rickey doesn't need a miracle, but having a little help from your friends never hurts.
As fans, we can do our part by going to fanschoice.com to make our voice heard.
His former team and current Saints players can do their part and be in that number in full force as the 38-member selection committee meet in Florida for the final vote the day before the Super Bowl in Miami.
The original picture for this article has been replaced with a favorite of mine that my husband and I took last night, hope y’all don’t mind. I think this one is just as fitting.
Rickey Jackson flanked by Vaughn Johnson and Pat Swilling, posing with his newly unveiled Hall of Fame bust. And yes, those are my beads to give it that New Orleans flair!