I'm currently in the middle of running through the top 10 list of all-time Saints on another blog and it got me feeling reminiscent about the days of the Dome Patrol. Remember how good that linebacking corp was? In 1992, all four members of the vaunted "Dome Patrol" went to the Pro Bowl together, as a unit. No other corp in NFL history has ever done that. But which one of the four was the best?Rickey Jackson is an obvious choice. He went to six Pro Bowls, which was the most of any of them. He won a Super Bowl ring with the 49ers. He's the only one of the four to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was the best playmaker of the unit.
Pat Swilling and Sam Mills (R.I.P.) aren't far behind though. Some could argue Mills was more valuable to the team as a captain, leading tackler and middle linebacker. Both Swilling and Mills made five Pro Bowls, just one less than Jackson. Swilling is the only player in team history to receive the NFL defensive player of the year award. Mills was the best tackler and smartest player of the bunch, and Swilling was by far the fastest and most explosive.
Vaughan Johnson is the one that's most often forgotten as the 4th member of the Dome Patrol, but he was no slouch making four Pro Bowls himself. He was by far the hardest hitter and most physical of the bunch. He was a very underrated player, mostly due to the fact that he played in a 4 linebacker set where he was the least flashy.
Watching those four guys play on the same field together, those were good times. I think what made them so good was that they complimented each other so well. Each was particularly good in one area, and it made the other guys better because as a unit they were so complete.
Which one of the four was your favorite? Please share any Dome Patrol memories in the comments. I'd love to read them.