(Deacon Jones photos courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams)
Talk of Fame Network
The Rams have won NFL championships in three different cities, but the greatest player in franchise history only played in one of those towns.
During our “Los Angeles Week,” the Talk of Fame Network asked our listeners and readers to pick the greatest Ram of all-time and gave them a list of candidates littered with Hall of Famers. But defensive end David “Deacon” Jones won going away, receiving 38.3 percent of the vote.
Jones easily outdistanced defensive tackle Merlin Olsen, his former linemate on the Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” of the 1960s. Olsen received 21.7 percent of the vote, followed by Norm Van Brocklin at 13.3 and Marshall Faulk at 11.7.
Eric Dickerson and Kurt Warner rounded out the field in single digits.
The Rams won NFL titles in Cleveland in 1945, Los Angeles in 1951 and St. Louis in 1999. Jones, Olsen, Dickerson and Van Brocklin all played in Los Angeles, and Faulk and Warner played in St. Louis. Of the six candidates, Warner is the only one not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s a former two-time NFL MVP and has been a finalist for the Hall in each of the last two years.
Jones went to eight Pro Bowls and was voted the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in both 1967 and 1968. He also introduced the term “sack” as a tackle of the quarterback.
“You take all the offensive linemen and put them in a burlap bag,” Jones explained, “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.”
Nonetheless, the NFL does not acknowledge any of his sacks because they all occurred before the NFL officially started counting them in 1982. But we will. The Deacon had 173-½ sacks in his 14-year career from 1961 through 1974, third best of all-time behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White. The Rams credited Jones with 22 sacks in both 1964 and 1968, 21-½ in 1967, 19 in 1965 and 18 in 1966.
Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge were all in agreement with the voting.
“Deacon Jones may have been the greatest pass rusher of all-time,” Borges said.