The NFL world turns over and over, leaving behind good players to be lost in history. The superstars and iconic plays litter highlight packages, but there are many players who do their job well and get forgotten. This series looks to help that. The first in the series looked at the clutch wide receiver Devery Henderson. This article looks at a tackling machine acquired for next to nothing. Names like Jonathan Vilma and Roman Harper are still talked about amongst New Orleans Saints fans today, but this next player in this series often gets overlooked. Scott Shanle is an underrated Saints player who contributed on the defensive side of the ball for most of his career.
Scott Shanle: Remembering the Underrated New Orleans Saint
Scott Shanle first came into the NFL before the 2003 season. He was drafted to the then-St. Louis Rams, not spending even a year with the team. The Dallas Cowboys claimed Shanle off of waivers at the end of the 2003 season. Shanle would spend the next two years with the Cowboys, starting 11 total games and appearing in 31. When Sean Payton took over the Saints in 2006, the team made a trade to bring Shanle to New Orleans with Payton. The Saints sent a seventh round pick to Dallas in exchange for linebacker. Payton obviously saw something he liked in Shanle as he became an immediate starter in Payton’s first year in charge.
In Scott Shanle’s first year with the Saints, he started 15 of the season’s 16 games in 2006. Shanle led the team in combined tackles for the year and was tied for third in tackles for loss. His numbers dipped a little in 2007 as he only came in fifth in total tackles for the Saints. Shanle rebounded in 2008, finishing third in total tackles behind only Jonathan Vilma and Roman Harper. Shanle was still second in tackles for loss in 2008. Although his regular season numbers dipped a bit in 2009, Shanle put everything together in the Saints Super Bowl run.
Super Bowl Run Tackling Machine
The New Orleans Saints might not have won the Super Bowl without Scott Shanle’s contributions in the 2009 playoff run. Shanle led the team with tackles against the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings in the NFC playoffs. In the actual Super Bowl against the Colts, Shanle finished the game with the second most tackles. The only person ahead of him was the now disgraced Darren Sharper. Shanle accounted for 10 total tackles against the Colts in the Saints biggest win in franchise history. These numbers alone should keep Shanle’s legacy alive with those around the New Orleans Saints.
Scott Shanle’s Underrated Career as a Saint
Every year but his last, Shanle started 14 or more games for the New Orleans Saints. This is remarkably durable for a position as physical as linebacker. For his efforts, Shanle’s career numbers reflect a very productive Saints player. Shanle currently sits at number 14 all-time among Saints players in solo tackles and second in assisted tackles. The sacks and quarterback hits are lower which likely contribute to Shanle being underrated. Shanle only had 7.5 sacks in his career and is ranked 22nd among all Saints in quarterback hits. This should not overshadow the kind of tackler Shanle was at linebacker, though. For context, tackles were not an official stat for the NFL until 1994. All numbers before 1994 are estimated. Shanle still has more career tackles for the Saints than Charles Grant, Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, and Joe Johnson.
Scott Shanle is easily an underrated Saints player in the Sean Payton era of football. Although, Shanle’s career did not have the flash that some did. The huge impact plays that look great on highlight reels may not have been plentiful for Shanle, but that should not diminish his contributions to the New Orleans Saints. Shanle did his job and did it very well. Saints fans and those around the team are likely to have fond memories of Shanle, so let’s not forget his career. Shanle was a tackling machine in almost every year of his career with the Saints and a Super Bowl champion. Not bad for a former seventh-round draft pick on his third NFL team.