R.I.P. to an icon. The world is a darker place today ....
The Fearsome Foursome: A Football Life (narrated by Jennifer Allen), is a great testament to Deacon Jones, and the rest of the Fearsome Foursome, and gives a moving tribute to the kind of people, and football players they were. I thought it was appropriate to post on this day :
Rams Mourn the Loss of Deacon Jones
Posted by nickwagoner on June 4, 2013 – 3:49 PM
- The Rams just released the following on the passing of DE David “Deacon” Jones, who passed away at the age of 74 last night in his home in Southern California.
RAMS MOURN LOSS OF JONES
The St. Louis Rams join the NFL community in mourning the loss of Deacon Jones, one of the greatest players in both team and league history.
“Deacon Jones was one of the rare players who changed the way the game was played,” Rams C.O.O./Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff said. “In this day and age, the term ‘great’ is often overused, but it only begins to describe Deacon Jones as a player and person. His combination of God-given talent and relentless effort made him one of the greatest players to ever put on an NFL uniform. His spirit, laughter and gentle nature off the field made him a friend to all. Deacon was a legend in every sense of the word, and he’ll truly be missed by the Rams, our fans and the NFL community. Our prayers are with Deacon’s wife Elizabeth on this sad day.”
Jones, who coined the term “sack the quarterback,” played for the Rams from 1961-71. He was nicknamed the Secretary of Defense and was widely considered as one of the greatest defensive players to play the game.
While sacks didn’t become an official record until 1982, unofficial accounts of Jones’ totals show that few players in NFL history attacked opposing quarterback with his vigor. Jones recorded a team-best 159.5 sacks with the Rams and 173.5 for his career. He registered 21 sacks during the 1967 season and reached double-digit sack totals seven times, including three 20-sack seasons.
“Deacon Jones was one of the most prolific defenders ever to play the game of football,” said Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher. “His tenacity on the field, attitude, and his determination to ‘sack’ the quarterback propelled his Hall of Fame career and made him one of the most recognizable figures in sports. Beyond the football field, Deacon was a well-respected ambassador for the Rams organization and a beloved person in the NFL community. We are saddened by this loss and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Jones became the first defensive lineman to record 100 solo tackles in a single season (1967) and was voted the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year twice (1967, 1968). Jones was voted to the Pro Bowl nine times, including seven straight with the Rams (1964-70). He was voted to the NFL’s all-Decade team in the 1960s and was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary team in 1994.
For most of the 1960s Jones, along with Hall of Fame defensive end Merlin Olsen, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier, made up the Fearsome Foursome, considered one of the best defensive lines in NFL history.
Jones was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980. His number 75 was retired by the Rams in 2009.
“Imagine what quarterbacks must have thought.”
The first time I met Jones, I walked into the opportunity nothing short of intimidated. I’d heard the stories of how quick witted and sharp tongued he could be. That only added to the reality that to meet Jones was to meet a true legend, a living, breathing giant in his sport who had the outsized personality to match.
In order to relax, I just told myself “Imagine what quarterbacks must have thought.” It was 2009 and I was about to spend nearly an hour speaking to perhaps the greatest Ram of all time and one of the greatest football players of all time. I didn’t have to worry about being on the wrong end of a head slap or being chased down from the weak side and dropped like a sack of potatoes.
Make no mistake, Mr. Jones was a kind, gentle human being, the type of person who placed loyalty to his loved ones above all else. But there’s something inherently intimidating about a guy with his track record of accomplishment considering what he did for a living and how he did it.
David “Deacon” Jones passed away Monday night at the age of 74 in his home in Anaheim Hills, Calif. His loss leaves all Rams fans and any true football fan with a heavy heart this morning. For those that who watched him play, it was a privilege. For those that got to meet him, it was a blessing.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to fall into the former category but I’m especially thankful today that I am able to be a part of the latter. Jones returned to St. Louis in 2009 to have his No. 75 jersey retired for good at long last. It was an honor many years in the making and it was my job to somehow try to encapsulate a career and a life so far-reaching and vigorous that no amount of pages and words would seem to do him justice.
By the time I met Mr. Jones, I had already had the great pleasure of conducting phone interviews with two of his fellow Fearsome Foursome linemates – Merlin Olsen and Rosey Grier. That helped ease some of the nerves though they forewarned me that with Mr. Jones what you see and what you hear is what you get. He pulls no punches.
What I got was nearly an hour of his time, an hour I’ll never forget and an hour I’ll cherish long after my days of writing about football are through. He told stories, he told jokes and in a way that only he could, he told the truth. I watched him hold court with many of the Rams, only a few of whom are still around, guys like DE Chris Long, who takes the lineage of Rams defensive ends very serious and carries the torch down the path created by Jones to this very day.
In some ways, I felt cheated that I didn’t get to see Jones play in person, that my knowledge of his game is limited to grainy black and white footage and best guesses at statistics that weren’t kept during his time. But if you ever got the chance to meet and speak to Mr. Jones, I guarantee you never walked away feeling that you got short-changed.
I had the privilege of again crossing paths with Mr. Jones two years ago at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Marshall Faulk. He was his usual outspoken, mischievous self and it was absolutely fascinating to see him in his element among other legends of the game. Many who watched Mr. Jones play football often described him as a “man among boys” but in that setting, he was THE man among men.
Even surrounded by others who could argue that they too were the best to ever do it, Jones held court; regaling his fellow Hall of Famers with stories as they hung on every word. Mr. Jones was scheduled to join his Rams brethren for the 75th Anniversary celebration last year but health issues prevented him from making the trip. Jones remained a Rams fan, though, even discussing the Rams recent draft class with his family as recently as a few weeks ago.
Having played in an era where regular statistics, let alone many of the advanced metrics that are used today, were hard to come by, Jones’ career transcends numbers. He often lamented the fact that sack numbers weren’t kept during his time playing – even though he coined the phrase – but in some ways, it’s fitting that we can’t pigeonhole his career into some sort of a box based on arbitrary statistics.
What Deacon Jones did for football goes beyond sacks or tackles or quarterback pressures. It was a career and a life of innovation that laid the groundwork for a whole new era of football. It was head slaps and nicknames and good-natured and not so good-natured trash talk. It was quotes that made television cameras light up and reporter’s notebooks full. It was a never ending bond and friendship with the other members of the Fearsome Foursome. It was a legacy that will live on forever in the game’s lore.
Combining unmatched physical gifts with a unique and impossible to mistake personality, Deacon Jones captured the imagination of all that saw him, all that met him and all that heard him. He was an innovator. He was an icon.
Greatness personified. -- http://localtvwiti.files.wordpress.c...ones.jpg?w=400
Excellent articles by Wagoner, good read.
Late Deacon Jones would have dominated any era
By Peter King - SI. Posted: Tue June 4, 2013 1:16PM
Updated: Tue June 4, 2013 2:34PM
Photo from same article. Clic on image.Quote:
You can't say many players from the '40s, '50s and '60s would have dominated today. Be competitive, sure. But dominated? Not many. Deacon Jones, though -- there was a guy who would have been one of the greats whenever he played.
Jones died Monday of natural causes in California. He was one of the best defensive ends in history, playing for the Rams, Chargers and Redskins in the '60s and early '70s before being a first-ballot Hall of Fame pick in 1980...
Jones played the run and pass exceedingly well at 6-foot-5 and 268 pounds. Michael Strahan played the run and pass exceedingly well at 6-5 and 265 (though his weight varied, and he played lighter later in his career). Jones had the speed around the edge of Bruce Smith; he had the relentlessness of Jared Allen. He had the total package -- maybe slightly shy with the bullrush -- of Reggie White.
"I've seen the films,'' said Strahan in mid-career. "This guy was the whole package. He made defensive end a glamour position."
In fact, he was Deion before there was Deion. Jones thought pass rushing was the kind of disruptive factor in pro football that got far too little attention and credit. Deion Sanders thought shutting down half of the deep field to the pass was a huge advantage in the modern passing game of the early '90s, and he made cornerback a glamour position. Pass rusher had to wait a few years, probably until Lawrence Taylor dominated in the '80s, before Jones' fervor about the role really hit the game. That's when the term "sack'' -- which Jones invented, to spotlight tackling the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, like the barbarians "sacking'' a town -- came into prominence. The NFL began using it as a stat.
Too bad Jones was 20 years too late. A football historian, John Turney, went back and studied the play-by-play from every game in Jones' career, to determine how many sacks he actually had. And though it can be slightly inflated (because if a quarterback tucked the ball and was running on a designed rushing play, yet tackled behind the line, it would still count as a sack in Turney's count), there's no question Jones' first 10 years with the Rams were as impressive as any decade of rushing the quarterback -- including LT's best 10 years.
Beginning in 1961, Jones had eight, 12, 20, 22, 19, 18, 26, 24, 15 and 12 tackles of quarterbacks behind the line, according to Turney. The NFL played 12 games in 1961, and 14 in each of the other nine seasons.
George Allen called him the best defensive end ever. Our Paul Zimmerman, writing in 1999, called him the best defensive end of the century.
What stats didn't show was Jones' leadership and strength of personality. He grew up in Florida, was schooled in South Carolina and was a forceful and loud opponent of segregation. When he got into the Hall of Fame, he became a leader there, too. He'd address the incoming Hall inductees each year. "You're joining a team you can't be cut from or traded from now, and you can't quit it,'' Jones would say each year to the new class. "You need to come to Canton every year and make sure you make all of the people in here part of your family.''
He used to say his address was 2121 George Halas Drive Northwest. That's the Hall of Fame's address in Canton, Ohio.
Fitting he wanted to live in the Hall. As a player, he helped define the kind of greatness that belongs in any sport's Hall of Fame.
His last words of his 1980 enshrinement speech: "The secretary of defense would like to leave you with this: Every man is free to rise as far as he is able and willing, but it is only the degree to which he thinks and believes that determines the degree to which he will rise.''
Deacon Jones, gone too soon at 74.
Rest in Peace Deacon. You are the greatest of all time, we know sacks because of you. Thank you forever; proud that you were a Ram. Deacon Jones, icon.
Badly want a #75 'JONES' retro jersey now. (A quality one, not Walmart one!)
Anywhere I could try? (No-one in the UK will have one of those bad boys!)
This seasons throwback games should be played in Blue & White, in celebration of the big man, and what he did for this team.