Yesterday, the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame announced the men it is honoring in 2012: former running back Deuce McAllister, owner Tom Benson, former safety and special teams standout Steve Gleason, and announcer Jim Henderson.
Our man Dave was on the J-O-B and reported on this as it happened (live, local, and late-breaking with new storm-cutter HD supper doppler real-time satellite imagery), giving us the "who" and the "what" and a little bit of the "why", while bringing in some Taylor Swift/Deuce sunshine with that sweet photo.
This afternoon, I bring you more on the "what" and "why", along with a little bit of history, courtesy of this release and the HOF's official page from the Saints team site.
It awaits you on the other side of the jump...
First, here's a little info on what the Saints Hall of Fame is all about (emphasis added for irony)...
The Saints Hall of Fame has brand new exhibits and memorabilia covering the entire history of the New Orleans Saints from the awarding of and formation of the franchise to the present. Fans can review a time line tracing the history of the team through the years, enjoy the Saints Theater with highlight films from every season in team history, check out the locker room display, the great moments in Saints history video, the actual playing surface on the floor of the Superdome, the all-time team display, the Hall of Honors with all of the busts and portraits of previously inducted Saints Hall of Famers and an evidence room of proof that the Saints won a Super Bowl.
The Saints Hall of Fame opened on July 16, 1988 in Rivertown, Kenner and was the vision and creation of Aaron Broussard. Expansions in size came in 1992 and in January of 2004. The Superdome location opening occurred in conjunction with the Saints vs. Carolina game on October 7, 2007. The Saints Hall of Fame Museum is open three hours prior to game time and remains open until 30 minutes after the completion of each home game.
Benson and Deuce will be the sole members of the Class of 2012 inductees into the Saints Hall of Fame (the 40th and 41st individuals to be so honored), on September 21, 2012 - Saints Hall of Fame All Saints Weekend. Go here to read who the other members of the Saints HOF are.
Here's Benson's bio that merited his selection:
A native New Orleanian, Benson stepped up to help save the New Orleans Saints franchise in 1985, purchasing the team from John Mecom. Within two years, Benson fielded the first winning team and first playoff appearance by the Saints in franchise history (1987). His teams have made the playoffs nine times. Under Benson, the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Benson's 2006 New Orleans Saints reached the NFC championship game.
During Benson's tenure, New Orleans has hosted four Super Bowls and will host a fifth (Super Bowl XLVII) on February 3, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Benson has been one of the NFL's most important and influential owners, serving three stints as Chairman of the league Finance Committee.
Benson's community and charitable involvement is substantial and he has invested in the city through the purchase of Dominion Tower, the New Orleans Hornets, and WVUE-TV. Mr. Benson and his family have helped raise over $2.5 million for community causes through the Saints Hurricane Katrina and Gulf Coast Renewal funds.
For those that don't already know Deuce's career highlights...
McAllister played for the Saints for eight seasons from 2001-2008. A two-time Pro Bowler (2002 and 2003), McAllister was a first-round draft pick of the Saints in the 2001 NFL Draft (23rd overall).
McAllister retired as the leading rusher in the history of the franchise, amassing 6,096 yards on 1,429 carries (4.3 avg.). He is the all-time leader in touchdowns with 55 and rushing touchdowns with 55.* In addition, McAllister ranks fifth all-time in scoring with 330 points and ranks tenth in receptions with 234. He led the Saints in rushing in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. McAllister was named first-team All-NFC by Pro Football Weekly in both 2002 and 2003.
* HansDat Note: Pro-football-reference.com credits Deuce with 49 rushing TDs and 55 total TDs.
Jim Henderson, the "Voice of the Saints" on the radio for more than two decades and the longtime sports director of WWL-TV, will be the 23rd recipient of the Joe Gemelli Fleur-de-Lis Award, which is...
presented annually to a person who has supported the New Orleans Saints organization and contributed to the betterment of the franchise over a significant period of time.
To read the names of the other 22 winners, go here. And if you're wondering who in the heck Joe Gemelli is...
The award is named in honor of the late Joe Gemelli, who was widely regarded as the biggest Saints fan. Gemelli founded the Touchdown Club, which continues to support the New Orleans Saints. Gemelli was the first president of the Saints Hall of Fame.
Gleason is being recognized for the special contributions he has made to the franchise and the New Orleans community as a whole by having a "legacy gallery" established at the HOF that will bear his name.
Dave reported yesterday that it will be called "Steve Gleason Hall", and while I'm looking carefully, I haven't read anything about whether or not the volunteer docents in this new section will be called "Steve Gleason Hall Monitors."
* * *
That's a lot of big news from the Saints Hall of Fame. In addition to hearing more from you below about Benson, Deuce, Jim and Steve, I'd also like to hear from any of you who have experienced the HOF in person.
I went there with my Dad one summer in the early 90's when it was in Kenner, and as I recall, it seemed a little cheesy, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to tour, reading all the blurbs and seeing all the old pictures and artifacts. I remember lining up to kick a FG (and missing wildly, multiple times) in the "Tom Dempsey's 63-yard kick exhibit", buying a copy of Wayne Mack's 'Saga of the Saints' coffee table book from the gift shop, and stopping somewhere nearby for lunch on the way back to Covington (fried shrimp po-boys and french fries...maybe we split some onion rings, too, but I'm not too sure about that). It was a special trip that I will always remember fondly.