Usually around these parts the subject matter is fantasy football, or at least it is most of the time, and especially during the season. That means the instinct is to explore the game of football by quantifying and measuring. So oddly, what made Deacon Jones so special is that his greatness will never be quantified, or at least not officially.
Jones passed away Monday night of natural causes at the age of 74, and this morning he’s being remembered as more than just one of the best defensive players to play the game. He was a pioneer of sorts, as he’s widely credited with creating the “sack” term that’s now embedded in football’s language.
As an anchor of the Los Angeles Rams’ “Fearsome foursome” and later a member of the Hall of Fame after being inducted in 1980, Jones was so quick and overbearing with his burst off the line that a rule was created to outlaw a signature move he invented because it involved a head slap. He wasn’t slowed, and he was still named the defensive player of the year twice while appearing in eight Pro Bowls.
But we can’t formally attach a number to his legacy, because sacks didn’t become an officially statistic until 1982, long after Jones’ final NFL season (he spent 11 years with the Rams followed by two in San Diego, and then he finished his career off with the Redskins in 1974). Unofficially, the Rams’ media guide lists Jones with a franchise leading 159.5 sacks and 173.5 overall during his career, and he often said that he had multiple 20-sack seasons.
Take two minutes or so of your morning and enjoy Jones in his prime, dealing out quarterback pain.
Today’s generation of pass rushers shared their thoughts, from J.J. Watt, to the recently retired Michael Strahan…
RIP to my friend, mentor and idol Mr. Deacon Jones. Was always there for me from the beginning and led the way for all if us DE’s! #headslap
— Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) June 4, 2013