Saturday, 27 December 2014


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Deacon Jones

Deacon Jones
Deacon Jones in 1971 Brady Bunch promo.jpg
Jones in a 1971 promotional photo for his guest appearance onThe Brady Bunch
No. 75
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: December 9, 1938
Place of birthEatonville, Florida
Date of death: June 3, 2013 (aged 74)
Place of deathAnaheim Hills, California
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)Weight: 274 lb (124 kg)
Career information
High schoolEatonville (FL) Hungerford
CollegeMississippi Valley State
NFL Draft1961 / Round: 14 / Pick: 186
Debuted in 1961 for the Los Angeles Rams
Last played in 1974 for the Washington Redskins
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played190
Stats at
David D. "Deacon" Jones (December 9, 1938 – June 3, 2013) was an American football defensive end in the National Football League for the Los Angeles RamsSan Diego Chargers, and the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
Jones specialized in quarterback "sacks", a term which he coined. Nicknamed "the Secretary of Defense", Jones is considered one of the greatest defensive players ever.[1] The Los Angeles Times called Jones "Most Valuable Ram of All Time," and former Redskins head coach George Allen called him the "Greatest Defensive End of Modern Football".

Early life

Jones was born in Eatonville, Florida, and lived in a four-bedroom house with his family of ten.[2] Jones attended Hungerford High School, where he played footballbaseball, and basketball.[3] During high school, Jones developed a lump in his thighand learned that it was a tumor; he had surgery to remove it.[2]
When he was 14 years old, he witnessed a carload of white teenagers laughingly hit an elderly black church woman with a watermelon. The woman died days later from the injury, and there was never a police investigation. "Unlike many black people then, I was determined not to be what society said I was," Jones later recounted. "Thank God I had the ability to play a violent game like football. It gave me an outlet for the anger in my heart."[4]

College career

Jones' college football career consisted of a year at South Carolina State University in 1958, followed by a year of inactivity in 1959 and a final season at Mississippi Vocational College in 1960.[5]
South Carolina State revoked Jones' scholarship after they learned that he was a part of a civil rights protest.[2] However, one of the assistant football coaches at South Carolina State was leaving to coach at Mississippi Vocational, and told Jones and some of the other African American players that he could get them scholarships at the new school.[2] While he was playing at Mississippi Vocational, he and his African American teammates had to sleep in cots in the opposing team's gym because motels would not take them on numerous occasions.[2]

Professional career

Jones was drafted in the 14th round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He then earned a starting role as adefensive end and teamed with tackle Merlin Olsen to give Los Angeles a perennial All-Pro left side of the defensive line.[5] He became a part of the Fearsome Foursome defensive line of the Rams (along with Lamar LundyRosey Grier, and Olsen), which is now considered to have been one of the best defensive lines of all time.[6]
"I'm probably the toughest (expletive) here. Ain't no
question about that with me. I'm the toughest guy
here... I'm clean. I mean, I ain't got no marks on
me. I don't know nobody else who can say that
who came out of any sport. I ain't got no marks on
me, so I've got to be the baddest dude I know of."
Jones, in an interview with Kevin Jackson[7]
Jones won consensus All-Pro honors five straight years from 1965 through 1969 and was second-team All-Pro in 1964, 1970, and 1972. He was also in seven straight Pro Bowls, from 1964 to 1970, and was selected to an eighth after the 1972 season with the San Diego Chargers.[5] He was voted the team's Outstanding Defensive Lineman by the Los Angeles Rams Alumni in 1962, '64, '65, and '66. In 1971, Jones suffered a severely sprained arch, which caused him to miss four starts, and he ended the season with 4½ sacks, his career-low to that point.
In 1972, Jones was included in a multi player trade with the San Diego Chargers, where he was an instant success.[5] He was named San Diego's defensive captain and led all Chargers' defensive linemen in tackles and won a berth on the AFC Pro Bowl squad. He concluded his career with the Washington Redskins in 1974.[5] In the final game of his NFL career, the Redskins allowed him to kick the point-after-touchdown for the game's last score. Along the way, Jones was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Week four times: week 14, 1967week 12, 1968week 11, 1969; and week 10, 1970.
An extremely durable player, Jones missed only six games of a possible 196 regular-season encounters in his 14 National Football League seasons.[5]


Jones was considered by many to revolutionize the position of defensive end. He was credited with coining the phrase "sacking the quarterback".[8] In 1999, Jones provided an L.A. Times reporter with some detailed imagery about his forte: “You take all the offensive linemen and put them in a burlap bag, and then you take a baseball bat and beat on the bag. You’re sacking them, you’re bagging them. And that’s what you’re doing with a quarterback.”[4]
What separated Jones from every other defensive end was his speed and his ability to make tackles from sideline to sideline, which was unheard of in his time. He also was the first pass rusher to use the head slap, a move that he said was, " give myself an initial head start on the pass rush, in other words an extra step. Because anytime you go upside a man's head ... or a woman; they may have a tendency to blink they [sic] eyes or close they eyes. And that's all I needed. "[9] “The head slap was not my invention, butRembrandt, of course, did not invent painting. The quickness of my hands and the length of my arms, it was perfect for me. It was the greatest thing I ever did, and when I left the game, they outlawed it.”[4]
Pro Football Weekly reported he accumulated 173½ sacks over his career, which would be third on the all-time sack list. (Jones would have ranked first all-time at the time of his retirement, and since has been surpassed by two fellow Hall of Famers Bruce Smith and Reggie White.) [10]
In 1967, Jones had 26 sacks in only 14 games, which (if official) would stand as the single-season record. (The term "sack" had not yet been coined at the time, and official sack statistics were not recorded by the NFL until 1982.) Then in 1968, Jones tallied 24 sacks in 14 games, also more than the current NFL record.[11] The sum total of these two seasons would account for 50 sacks in two seasons by Jones, far more than anyone else has ever achieved.
Unofficial annual sack totals
19618Los Angeles Rams
196212Los Angeles Rams
196320Los Angeles Rams
196422Los Angeles Rams
196519Los Angeles Rams
196618Los Angeles Rams
196726Los Angeles Rams
196824Los Angeles Rams
196915Los Angeles Rams
197012Los Angeles Rams
1971Los Angeles Rams
19726San Diego Chargers
19735San Diego Chargers
19743Washington Redskins
(Source: St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins Media Guides)

After football


Jones worked as a television actor, and appeared in numerous TV programs since the 1970s, most often appearing in cameo roles. He appeared in an episode of The Odd Couple where he and Oscar were in a television commercial selling shaving products. He appeared on The Brady Bunch, and in a Bewitched episode in 1969, he played a guard to the Giant's castle in "Jack & the Beanstalk". Jones also played himself on an episode of Wonder Woman in 1978.
In 1978, he played a Viking named 'Thall' in The Norseman. Fellow Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff joined Jones in that film, also portraying a Norseman.[12] That same year, Jones portrayed a fierce defensive lineman named 'Gorman' in the film Heaven Can Wait.
In the series G vs E, he played himself, but as an agent of "The Corps". He also played a role in the hit show, ALF, where he played a father figure to Alf.


Jones served as a color analyst for Rams broadcasts on KMPC radio in the 1994 season, teaming with Steve Physioc and Jack Snow.


Jones has worked for many companies, including the Miller Brewing CompanyHaggar Clothing, Pacific Coast Medical Enterprises, and Epson America, and represented the NFL and Champion Products as spokesman for their Throwback campaigns.[1] Jones was also chairman for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in their national hypertension awareness program.[1]

Community involvement reported that Jones made several trips to Iraq to visit the U. S. military.[1][13]
Jones served as the president and CEO of the Deacon Jones Foundation, an organization he founded in 1997 "to assist young people and the communities in which they live with a comprehensive program that includes education, mentoring, corporate internship, and community service."[1]

Bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles

Jones was one of the many former L.A. Rams players who disliked the team's controversial relocation to St. Louis in 1995. He was adamant in interviews and appearances to state that he played for Los Angeles, not St. Louis, and considered the Rams franchise there a different team that should have a different name, leaving the Rams name for L.A.[citation needed] He participated in many grassroots efforts to bring NFL football back to L.A. and also voiced support on many of the new stadium proposals .[citation needed]


He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1980, and was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994.[1] In 1999, he was ranked number 13 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, the highest-ranked player to have played for the Rams franchise, the highest-ranked defensive end, and the second-ranked defensive lineman behind Bob Lilly. The same year, he was named by Sports Illustrated as the "Defensive End of the Century".[1]
  • 1980 - Elected to South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame[14]
  • 1981 - Voted to the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame[15]
  • 1999 - Recipient of the Gale Sayers Lifetime Spirit Achievement Award[17]
  • 1999 - Awarded "The Order of the Leather Helmet" by the NFL Alumni Organization, their highest honor[18]
  • 2001 - Winner of the NFL Alumni Spirit Award for community service[19]
  • 2005 - Recipient of the Junior Seau Foundation "Legend of the Year Award"[20]
  • 2013 - An award for the league leader in sacks is named in his honor and awarded for the first time. Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts was the inaugural award winner.[23]


Jones has stated that he gave himself the nickname Deacon after joining the Rams because too many David Joneses were in the local phone book. "Football is a violent world and Deacon has a religious connotation," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1980. "I thought a name like that would be remembered."[24]
Deacon Jones's wife Elizabeth is the chief operating and financial officer of the Deacon Jones Foundation, based in Anaheim Hills, California.,[2] the community in which the couple lived.
Jones was a rhythm and blues singer during his football days, and was backed by the band Nightshift, which later became the group War. Jones was featured in "Why Can't We Be Friends?", which he recorded with War.[25] Jones sang onstage with Ray Charles,[26] performed on The Hollywood Palace in 1967 and 1968, and on The Merv Griffin Show in 1970.


On June 3, 2013, Jones died at 74 of natural causes at his home in Anaheim Hills, California.[27][28] Jones's death left Rosey Grier as the last surviving member of the Fearsome Foursome, the L.A. Rams defensive line, which is widely considered the best such unit in the history of the NFL. Of the former defensive standout, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, "Even with his fellow Hall of Famers, Deacon Jones held a special status. He was an icon among the icons.", while Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen, son of Jones's longtime coach George Allen, called him, "one of the greatest players in NFL history. Off the field ... a true giant."[29] Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King noted at his death that Jones had a profound effect on the way defense was played in the NFL and cited the influence on such later NFL stars as Lawrence TaylorDeion Sanders, andMichael Strahan.[30] As a tribute to Jones, the NFL created the Deacon Jones Award, which will be given annually to the league leader in sacks.[31]