History Lesson : Deacon Jones

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It was recently announced that the player with the most sacks each season will receive the newly minted Deacon Jones award. The award receives it’s name from Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones, which is an apt honor to bestow on the man who coined the term the award recognizes – the quarterback sack. As per this article in Bloomberg, “He described it this way: ‘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.'”

He was never one to mince words.

It’s both a blessing and a curse that he pioneered the defensive end position and the art of the sack. He revolutionized defensive play, but record-keeping for those statistics – namely, sacks – weren’t even recorded until the 80’s, long after his career ended. If the numbers counted, he would still hold the record for the highest single-season sack record with 26 and be third on the all-time list of career sacks (behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith).

Perhaps more than sacks, Jones is known for being the man behind the head slap – which is precisely what it sounds like. While illegal now, it certainly served him well then.

(Also, if you have yet to see the A Football Life on the Fearsome Foursome, of which Deacon Jones was part, you need to see it! It’s impossible not to love those guys.)

Author: Beka