He’s no Deacon

I’m back from a long week-end of snow, ice, and debate in Princeton, New Jersey, where my daughter finished in the top ten in Student Congress.
While I was gone, Bruce Smith of the Washington Redskins broke the all-time NFL record for quarterback sacks. Smith is a controversial figure among Redskins fans. Except perhaps for his first year here, he has been a pretty average player since coming from Buffalo. Some suspect he has put his quest to break the sack record ahead of the team. While I see no evidence that this is the case, his public complaints about lack of playing time (he plays about half of the defensive downs) have not been welcome. Nonetheless, Smith is one of the all-time greats and deserves credit for breaking the record.
However, as Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post points, the real all-time sack leader almost certainly is Deacon Jones. Unfortunately, this statistic was not kept during his career. After discussing the all-time great defensive ends, Wilbon concludes:
“Of course, not a one of ’em is as good as Deacon Jones, who might have lapped the field in number of sacks had the NFL even kept ‘quarterback sacks’ as an official statistic in the 1960s and 1970s. One day a bunch of youngsters were arguing in the press box before a game about the alleged sack record, and Sonny Jurgensen, who knows a thing or two about sackers, said, ‘Hold on a minute, kiddies, and let me tell you about a man named Deacon Jones.’ Jones, mostly with the Rams, had more than 200 sacks [Smith now has 199], according to men who covered his career.”

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