Over the offseason, thousands of fans voted in our ” Team For the Ages ” contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
The entire Team For the Ages roster will be unveiled at “Football Legends LIVE!” Sept. 8 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Tickets are on sale now: https://shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50
David “Deacon” Jones
The inventor of the term “sack,” Jones redefined the standard for pass-rushing defensive ends during his 14-year career, beginning as the Rams’ 14th-round pick out of Mississippi Vocational in the 1961 draft. Jones, whose patented head-slap move to defeat offensive linemen was eventually outlawed, won the first two Defensive Player of the Year awards of the modern era, in addition to earning All-NFL honors in six consecutive seasons, eight trips to the Pro Bowl and one of the NFL’s best nicknames, “The Secretary of Defense.”
They said it
“Deacon Jones has been the most inspirational person in my football career.”
— Former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood, via the NYT
From 1966-71, Jones’ Rams led the NFL in turnover differential twice, finished second and third one time each and finished eighth in his final season. Jones tallied 12 of his 15 fumble recoveries, both of his safeties and both of his interceptions during his 11-year Rams tenure.
Did you know?
Sadly, Jones didn’t invent the term “sack” until he retired as one of the more prolific pass rushers in NFL history. But Jones explained how he came up with the term in a 1999 L.A. Times interview. “You take all the offensive linemen and put them in a burlap bag,” Jones told the Times, “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.”
Quarterbacks might not have appreciated such treatment, but media members who covered Jones appreciated his thoughtfulness and wonderful character. Said Hall of Fame voter Howard Balzer: “He was a great personality and took over as the “moderator” at the Hall of Fame Nitschke luncheon after the death of Ray Nitschke in 1998 until his own passing in 2013.”
Allen recalled during Jones’ Hall of Fame induction speech a performance at Minnesota in 1968 in which Jones, despite playing with a temperature of 102 degrees, delivered one of his finer performances. Jones tallied 10 tackles (3 TFL) and a forced fumble in the Rams’ 31-3 annihilation of the Vikings that included them allowing merely a field goal and 127 yards and generating five takeaways.
Previous “Team for the Ages” player announcements