Tearful NFL World Mourns the Irreparable Loss of Saints 78-Year-Old ‘Dome Patrol’ Architect

Published 08/25/2023, 6:53 AM EDT

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Following the passing of Jim Brown, yet another esteemed NFL veteran has left us. The recent departure was that of the former defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, a role he held from 1986 to 1994. During this illustrious nine-year span, this former NFL coach masterminded some of the most formidable defenses in the franchise’s history. His leadership not only defined an era but also significantly shaped the team’s defensive prowess and achievements.

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As a testament to his influence, the Saints achieved remarkable milestones under his guidance, claiming the league’s top spot for the fewest points allowed on two occasions (in 1991 and 1992), showcasing their exceptional defensive capabilities. Despite his 21-year tenure of coaching NFL teams and subsequent retirement from the league, the visionary behind the ‘Dome Patrol,’ aged 78, has now embarked on a new journey among the stars.

Steve Sidwell shaped the careers of dominant defenses

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Steve Sidwell, the former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, renowned for his pivotal contributions to coaching the iconic “Dome Patrol” linebacker unit and crafting some of the team’s most indomitable defenses, passed away at 78 on Wednesday night. The Saints organization confirmed this somber news. Shortly thereafter, Dennis Allen, the Saints coach with a background in defensive coaching, shared his sentiments.

Allen remarked, “He was a tremendous defensive coach in our league — a ton of success….It’s a sad day for our organization.” The cause of death remains undisclosed. Sidwell held the position of DC for the Saints from 1986 to 1994, overseeing the legendary “Dome Patrol” defense, which featured luminaries like Hall of Famers Rickey Jackson and Sam Mills, alongside Pat Swilling and Vaughan Johnson.

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This 78-year-old veteran leaves behind an unforgettable and illustrious legacy in the NFL, an era that will be remembered.

The legend leaves behind a remarkable legacy

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Apart from his time with the Saints, Steve Sidwell served as the defensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers (1995-96), New England Patriots (1997-99), and Seattle Seahawks (2000-02). Before his extensive NFL career, he coached in college from 1966 to 1981 at Colorado, UNLV, and SMU. He was the Patriots’ linebackers coach from 1982 to 1984, followed by a single season with the Indianapolis Colts.

In New Orleans, Sidwell excelled under Jim Mora, overseeing a standout LB unit during the Saints’ prosperous years before Sean Payton and Drew Brees. The Saints reached the playoffs four times during his tenure, with seven defenders earning 18 Pro Bowl selections. Known for his QB pressure strategies, Sidwell’s Saints defense ranked first in the NFL for fewest points allowed in 1991-92. In six of his seasons with New Orleans, his defenses finished in the top 10 for points allowed.

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After his time with the Saints, Sidwell coordinated defenses for the Oilers, Patriots, and Seahawks. Two years after his Seahawks coaching, he was honored in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.

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Written by:

Bhwya Sriya

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Bhwya Sriya is an NFL Writer at EssentiallySports. With a Master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from an esteemed university, Bhwya tries to amalgamate her love for sports with her creativity. Her interest in sports arose when Bhwya represented her district on a race track in school.
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Edited by:

Mallika Singh

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