Former New Orleans Saints head equipment manager Dan Simmons has been identified with 19 other NFL equipment managers, assistant coaches, athletic trainers and public relations personnel for "'Awards of Excellence' under a program the Pro Football Hall of Fame has launched to recognize significant contributors to the game, it was announced today.
Simmons, affectionately nicknamed "Chief' provided 42 years of service to the Saints in the equipment department, starting in 1973 and through the 2014 season and since his retirement as head equipment manager has served as an alumni/legends coordinator, assisting in the club's outreach efforts to involve former players with the organization and is also a club contact with the NFL's Legends Program, which is designed to help former NFL players connect with each other, their former teams and the league.
Simmons has worked a total of 858 New Orleans Saints preseason, regular season and postseason games. He was a member of ten playoff teams as head equipment manager and celebrated the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV Championship. During his Saints career as head equipment manager, he handled the equipment needs for thousands of players during the tenures of 14 of the franchise's first 16 head coaches.
Simmons' dedication to the Saints has been nationally recognized, prior this to most recent honor showing his continuing devotion and service to the franchise and to the National Football League. At the 2015 NFL Equipment Managers Meetings in Houston, Simmons was honored with a lifetime achievement award by his colleagues from all 32 clubs. In 2010, he was elected into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame, along with late Assistant Equipment Manager Silky Powell, as that year's Joe Gemelli "Fleur-De-Lis" Award winners. Following the 1994 and 2005 seasons, Simmons and his staff were selected in a vote by their peers for the Whitey Zimmerman Memorial award, annually given to the NFL equipment staff that exceeds the usual demands to the position.
A St. Louis, Mo. native, Simmons's late father Bill held a similar post with the St. Louis Cardinals football franchise for 22 years, with Dan assisting him on a full-time basis from 1971-72 before coming to New Orleans. A graduate of Meramec College in St. Louis, Simmons is also a Vietnam veteran who served four years in the United States Navy. He and his wife, Elaine, have three grown children – Tracy, Tony and Amy – and four grandchildren.
Simmons and his fellow award winners will be placed on display inside a designated area of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He and his fellow recipients will be invited to the 2022 enshrinement week and will be recognized in Canton, Ohio this August at an event to be determined.