New Orleans – The New Orleans Saints announced Friday their inaugural class for the team's Ring of Honor that will pay tribute to former players and administrators who have played significant roles both on-the-field and off-the-field in the franchise's history.
The Saints will recognize their introductory class at halftime on Sunday, November 10, 2013 when the team hosts the Dallas Cowboys before a nationally televised audience at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The inaugural class of 2013 consists of QB Archie Manning, LB Rickey Jackson and OT Willie Roaf.
The New Orleans Saints Ring of Honor selection committee is comprised of team ownership, front office administrators, selected former Saints players and selected members of the media.
"We, as an organization, have given thoughtful consideration and devotion in an effort to properly honor the contributions of the many great people that have proudly represented the New Orleans Saints and the City of New Orleans," said Saints Owner/Chairman of the Board Tom Benson. "We are excited to induct the deserving members of the Class of 2013 and allow our fans an opportunity to honor the efforts and contributions that these men have made to our franchise. It is fitting to honor three of the greatest players in our franchise's rich history in Archie, Rickey and Willie."
ARCHIE MANNING: In 1971, the New Orleans Saints selected Archie with the second pick in the NFL Draft. A product of the University of Mississippi, Manning quickly became known as one of the most dynamic and exciting signal-callers in the N.F.L. with his ability to direct the Saints' offense, while integrating his uncanny athleticism and precision passing skills combined with remarkable toughness.
Throughout his career with the Saints (1971-'75, '77-'82), Manning established virtually every passing record at the time and also represented the Saints in two Pro Bowls and was named the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1978. Manning concluded his 15-year career in 1985.
Manning's career offensive statistics as a member of the New Orleans Saints: 134 games played (129 starts). 1,849 pass completions on 3,335 attempts for 21,734 yards with 115 passing touchdowns. A prolific scrambling quarterback, Manning also added 357 carries for 2,058 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns.
While in pro football, he received the Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award, the Bart Starr Humanitarian Award, the Spirit of Good Sports Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the U.S. Jaycees named him one of 10 Outstanding Young Americans. In 2005 Archie Manning received the Legends award from the Davey O'Brien Foundation and the Aspire award, a tribute to life's coaches, from the Cal Ripken Foundation.
His community activities include Louisiana Special Olympics, the New Orleans Area Boy Scout Council, the Salvation Army, United Way Speakers Bureau, NOKIA Sugar Bowl Committee, New Orleans Sports Foundation, and National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
"This is really a special honor and I'm grateful and indebted to the Saints and the Saints Nation of fans. We have lived here in New Orleans for 42 years now and I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that this area, not just New Orleans but also southern Louisiana and really the entire Gulf Coast, has been so wonderful to our family," said Manning. "To be joining two incredible football players and men in Rickey and Willie certainly adds to this honor. I'm truly honored and look forward to a special night."
RICKEY JACKSON: One of the most productive linebackers in N.F.L. history, Jackson served as the linchpin of one of the most dominant linebacker corps the league has ever seen. Jackson was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010, where he was inducted by Saints Owner Tom Benson.
Jackson was the first Saint to have spent the majority of his career with New Orleans to receive this honor, the sixth overall. He spent 13 years with the Saints and his 195 appearances as a force in the Black and Gold are the second-highest total in franchise history. He missed only two games, out of a possible 229 regular season games in his career. The Pahokee, Fla., native finished his career with 128 sacks (his eight sacks in his rookie season of 1981 are not included since sacks did not become an official statistic until 1982) ranked 10th all-time in NFL history. With 115 as a Saint, he is the club's all-time leader and he led the club in takedowns six times. He is also the franchise's all-time leader in fumble recoveries with 26.
As a show of respect by opposing coaches and players for his dominating pass rush abilities and sideline to sideline play, Jackson was named to the Pro Bowl six times (1983-86, 1992-93) in his career, tied for the second-most by a Saint. He was an All-Pro selection six times (1984-87, 1992-93). After failing to post a winning season in the franchise's first 18 seasons, Jackson's Saints did not have a losing season in his final seven campaigns with the club from 1987-93, qualifying for the playoffs four times during this period.
Jackson was drafted in the second round (51st) overall by the Saints in 1981 out of Pittsburgh. He made an immediate impact, as he led the team with 125 tackles and eight sacks. In his second season, he recorded 4.5 sacks in a nine-game strike shortened campaign as the Saints narrowly missed the postseason. In 1983, Jackson earned a Pro Bowl trip for the first time as he established himself as one of the NFL's top pass rushers, leading the team with 12 sacks, while defending a career-high 21 passes. This would be the first of four consecutive seasons where he would be selected to the Pro Bowl. In 1984, he led NFC linebackers with 12 sacks, while forcing four fumbles and recovering four, as he was named an Associated Press All-Pro selection for the first time.
In the next three seasons, Jackson would post successive sacks totals of 12, 11 and nine as he was named to the Pro Bowl each time. In a contest at Atlanta on December 24, 1986, he set the club record with four sacks.
"The Saints and our fans have been part a huge and very important part of my life since 1981. To be honored by being inducted in the first class with Archie and Willie means the world to me," said Jackson. "We're the first guys but we all know that none of us would be there if it wasn't for the support the organization and our teammates and coaches gave to us. It will be our names up there but I know we proudly represent a lot of people that were key parts of our journeys."
WILLIE ROAF: He was elected to 11 Pro Bowls during his 13-year NFL career, tying Cincinnati's T Anthony Munoz (Class of 1998) and Baltimore's T Jonathan Ogden for most selections by an offensive tackle. In 2012, Roaf was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
As a member of the Saints from 1993-2001, Roaf was named to seven Pro Bowls, occurring from 1994-2000, with him being named as a starter each time. No Saint has been selected to the Pro Bowl as many times as Roaf. He received Associated Press first team All-Pro recognition four times during his NFL career, twice as a Saint in 1994 and 1995. In recognition of him being one of the most dominant players during his era, he was named to the 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Teams, as selected by members of the Hall of Fame selection committee. He was a first team selection for the 1990s squad and a second-team member for the roster covering the 2000s.
Roaf entered the NFL out of Louisiana Tech as the club's first-round draft choice in 1993 (eighth overall). He immediately entered the starting lineup at right tackle. In 1994, he moved over to the left side, where he would play for the remainder of his career and earned his first of seven consecutive Pro Bowl starting berths as the New Orleans offense improved in the NFL rankings from 21st to 12th, ranking eighth in passing yards per game, ninth in points per game and surrendering only 24 sacks. In 1995, Roaf became the first Saints offensive lineman to be voted to the All-Star game more than once as the line gave up only 28 takedowns. In 1996, he anchored a line that gave up only 22 sacks, tied for third-fewest in the league. In 2000, Roaf was a member of a Saints squad that won the first playoff game in franchise history and was ranked 10th in the NFL in yards per game and points per game. He was a key to a resurgent rushing offense that ranked eighth in the league and featured the club's first 1,000-yard runner since 1989.
Roaf would start 131 regular season games and two playoff contests in his career as a Saint. After spending the final four seasons of his career in Kansas City, he retired having started 189 regular season games and three postseason games.
"When I played for the Saints I used to look up and see Rickey and Archie's legacies in the (Mercedes-Benz) Superdome and quite honestly, I aspired to be like them and that helped motivate and drive me. When I was told that this was happening, it was incredible," said Roaf. "Obviously it's been a nice run recently with the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. It's something I'm very thankful for, heartwarming to be 100% honest. I went to school in Louisiana, I know the legacy of incredible athletes that have played in Saints uniforms but I also know that incredible moments that have shaped the history of the (Mercedes-Benz) Superdome. I thought of Jim Finks when I was told of this honor and how he changed my life. This is a chance for me to once again thank the Saints fans for what they've meant to me."