Editor’s Note: Jim Reineking is an editor for NFL.com. Here’s his take on Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones, a member of the “Fearsome Foursome.”
“He barely sought nor extended pity. A barely controlled fury seemed to propel him. Watching No. 75 was like listening to an infernal choir … menace and anger swirled like brimstone.” — NFL Films narrator Jeff Kaye describing Deacon Jones in presenting the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
In 1963, after a successful tenure with the New York Giants that included five NFL Championship Game appearances and one league title, Rosey Grier was traded to the Los Angeles Rams and plugged into a defensive line that already included Lamar Lundy as well as future members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen. Together over the course of four seasons, the quartet would quickly develop a reputation as the greatest defensive line in league history, helping lead the Rams from also-ran status to become an NFL powerhouse. Years later, even with the emergence of the Minnesota Vikings’ “Purple People Eaters,” the Pittsburgh Steelers’ “Steel Curtain” and the Dallas Cowboys’ “Doomsday Defense,” the mythology surrounding the Rams’ famed “Fearsome Foursome” has stood the test of time.
Helping perpetuate that mythology is Jones, who is recognized as the greatest pass rusher of all time. He is also one of the most outspoken players in NFL history. He’s staked a claim to inventing the term “sack” as well as owning the all-time sack record (sacks didn’t become an official NFL statistic until 1982, nearly a decade after Jones’ retirement), and those are barely the most bombastic things he’s uttered in front of a camera. Before “A Football Life” unveils more bold proclamations from Jones, enjoy our favorite five quotes from one of the game’s true characters.
“A Football Life: Fearsome Foursome” debuts on NFL Network tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
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“When I see guys huddling up after the game, to pray, that’s what scares me about the game. I’m a Baptist, but I’m also a quarterback killer, and I ain’t praying with you. But I will give you 30 seconds to ask your Lord and master to keep me from killing you.” — Jones on an aspect of the modern game that upsets him.
“I was the originator of smack. Some guys rattle with smack with other guys it rolls right off their shoulders like nothing.” — Jones on speaking with opponents.
“I get so pissed off every time I hear Brett Favre say he’s played 279 games in a row. I would rather slap my mama than allow a quarterback to play 279 games in a row. Somebody supposed to put him on the ground!” — Jones on Favre’s consecutive games played streak.
“I needed a nickname when I came into the game. My real name is David Jones. When you look at the L.A. phone book you see 25 to 30 David Jones in there. I needed something to set me apart from the rest of the pack, other than the fact that I was the best football player.” — Jones on how he became “Deacon.”
“I wanted to put as much fear into his heart and much pain on his back as I possibly could.” — Jones on intimidation.
“Competition is what made me go. And I hated quarterbacks.” — Jones on his favorite on-field target.
“I came. I saw. And I did conquer.” — Jones reflects on his football career.
“Man, I’ve got jockstraps older than you!” — Jones to a young NFL.com reporter.