Ring of Honor
SAINTS Ring of Honor
ntroduced during the 2013 campaign, the Saints Ring of Honor canonizes the best players ever to don the Black and Gold. It venerates just four players — linebacker Rickey Jackson, offensive tackle Willie Roaf, quarterback Archie Manning, and kicker Morten Andersen. These four men have earned the highest possible praise from the club, for both their elite play and long, storied tenures in New Orleans.
With the 51st overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, the Saints selected Pittsburgh linebacker Rickey Jackson and were immediately rewarded with one of the most ferocious defenders ever to step onto the gridiron. In his first season, Jackson started all 16 games, racking up 125 tackles en route to earning All-Rookie honors. Over his 13 campaigns in New Orleans, Jackson led the feared “Dome Patrol” linebacker corps, a unit that included Vaughan Johnson, Sam Mills, and Pat Swilling. With 1,104 tackles, 115 sacks, 38 forced fumbles, 26 fumble recoveries, and seven interceptions for the Black and Gold, Jackson made the Superdome a nightmare for opposing offenses; the team ranked in the top ten in yards allowed on six occasions during his tenure. Jackson’s efforts were key to the Saints earning their first four postseason appearances in 1987, 1990, 1991, and 1992. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, becoming the first player to be enshrined primarily for his tenure with the Saints. After being named a first-team All-American at Louisiana Tech, Willie Roaf came to New Orleans as the eighth overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. Over nine years with the Saints, Roaf proved himself one of the most talented and reliable blockers in league history. Between 1993 and 2001, Roaf started all 131 games he appeared in a while earning Pro Bowl honors in each year between 1994 and 2000, as well as All-Pro honors six times. In 2000, his last full season in New Orleans, Roaf started all 16 games at left tackle and shored up the line in the Saints’ first ever postseason victory, a 31–28 win over the St. Louis Rams. Roaf was named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team for his time in New Orleans, and was later named to the All-2000s team and was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2012, only the second Saint to spend the majority of his career with the club to be so honored. Quarterback Archie Manning was one of the most electrifying athletes ever to play in New Orleans. After a legendary career at the University of Mississippi, Manning joined the Saints as the second overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft, giving the team a true franchise signal-caller just five years into its existence. Named to the Pro Bowl in 1978 and 1979, the fleet-footed Manning ran and threw his way into team record books, amassing the second most attempts (3,335), completions (1,849), and yards (21,734) in Saints history, behind only Drew Brees, as well as the most rushing yards (2,058) and rushing touchdowns (18) by any Black and Gold quarterback. When the Saints selected a young, Danish kicker from Michigan State in the fourth round of the 1982 Draft, few would have believed that Morten Andersen would become one of the best players in NFL history. Over his 13-year career with the Black and Gold and 25-year career in the league, Andersen did exactly that, becoming the Saints’ and NFL’s all-time leading scorer. As a Saint, Andersen was named to the Pro Bowl on six occasions and to the first-team All-Pro list five times, notching 1,318 points on 302 field goals and 412 PATs, good for first in club record books. He was named to the NFL’s 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams, and in 2017 he became just the second full-time kicker ever to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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