Deacon Jones, the original “Secretary of Defense,” the man who coined the term “sacking the quarterback,” and one of the original members of the “Fearsome Foursome” in Los Angeles, died Tuesday of natural causes.
Jones was an incredible player and one of those members of the league in the 1960s and early 1970s who helped lift the National Football League to the status as America’s Game. The colorful Jones was a success not only on the football field, but in life in general and was well respected among players of his era, as well as among those many years after.
Here’s what Chris Long had to say: “The thing we’ve got to remember being players in this era is to really respect the game ‘back when,’ because those guys could really play. Deacon Jones is a perfect example. This whole league and everybody in this game should honor the past and the players who played in that era. Those guys paved the way for us.” Chris Long, now playing for the Rams, is the son of Howie, also is in the Hall of Fame.
Though sack counts were not officially kept during Jones’ playing days, unofficial counts place his total around 175. If there was the empitome of toughness, it would be Jones who missed just five games in 14 years while playing in an era when just about anything was allowed and did occur on the football field. In fact, it was Jones who was critical in the recent past of how the game had softened over the years.
Jerry Kramer, in a recent interview with lombardiave.com, said that Deacon Jones and the entire group of the Fearsome Foursome were some of the toughest opponents he faced during his career. Of course, Kramer and Jones were very familiar with one another because they played each other frequently in the 1960s when both teams were part of the NFL’s Western Conference. They also faced one another in the playoffs a couple of times.
Three of the four, Jones, Lamar Lundy, and Merlin Olson are now gone. Only Roosevelt Grier is still alive.
Between 1961 and 1971, the Packers and Rams faced one another 18 times with the Packers winning the bulk of the games through the 60s and the Rams dominating the Packers in the very late 60s and into the early 70s. In all, the Packers held a 10-7-1 record over the Rams during the time Jones was with that team.
His NFL career started in 1961, when he was taken by the Rams in the 14th round (186th overall) out of Mississippi Vocational (now known as Mississippi Valley State).
Jones also showed his own soft side when he entered the world of acting after his playing days. He guest starred on a few television programs, including episodes of “Bewitched,” ”The Brady Bunch” and “The Odd Couple.” He also made an appearance in the 1978 Warren Beatty film “Heaven Can Wait.”
Jones was the CEO of his own foundation, which he began in 1997. He also made several trips to visit troops on active duty in the Middle East.
Here’s a film of the Packers vs. Rams in 1967. Quality is not great, but it adds to the lore …
Deacon Jones didn’t back down from what he really believed …