NFL Hall of Famer David "Deacon" Jones passed away sometime Monday Night. Deacon Jones is universally credited as the creator of the term "sack," as a way of describing the way in which tackled and punished the quarterback. Deacon is even more well-known for the now outlawed "head slap;" and was one of a handful of 60's-70's NFL stars whose on-field & off-field contributions elevated the NFL from a novelty genre to the POWERHOUSE League that it is today. If there were a Mount Rushmore, for the NFL, few would debate his place on that list.
Undoubtedly one of the great players in NFL History, Deacon joins spent his first 10 years with the Los Angeles Rams franchise. Joined with Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier, and Lamer Lundy, the "FEARSOME FOURSOME" would wreak havoc upon competitors for years. The left side rush attack of Deacon Jones, and fellow Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, was almost unstoppable-and the entire unit will always fall into the top tier of any list of All-Time Great Defensive Lines. While Quarterback Sacks were not tracked as a statistic, until 1982, unofficial stats say that Deacon Jones sacked the quarterback more than 173 times in his career. Unofficially he is credited with 26 sacks in the 1967 season, which exceeds any player before or after him.
It has been said that Deacon was most proud of his "patented" Head Slap move, in which he would smack the ear-hole portion of the opposing player's helmet and knock the player's equilibrium off. The end result, of course, is that he now would freely run past the would-be defender to destroy the defenseless offensive player. The move would be banned by the NFL after the 1977 season.
Originally attending what is now South Carolina State University, David "Deacon" Jones was 14th Round Draft Pick out of Mississippi Valley State. Deacon would be the first Defensive Lineman to record 100 solo tackles. Deacon was selected to eight Pro Bowls & earned five 1st Team NFL All Pro Honors. Along with other players such as Jim Brown, Merlin Olsen, O.J. Simpson, Bubba Smith, Rosey Grier, and others; Deacon Jones would transcend the game of Football by moving into several memorable acting roles & social awareness endeavors. This would not only increase the profile of an already Larger than Life figure; but would also elevate the profile of the NFL-over other sports leagues. Deacon Jones retired from football after the 1974 season, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980. He died of natural causes, at his home in Southern California.