Today, via NBC Sports, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the creation of the “Deacon Jones Award”. The award will be given annually to the NFL’s sack leader and will be given in honor of the late David “Deacon” Jones who passed away earlier this month of natural causes.
The original sack master, Jones was the first to coin the term “sack” for describing how he knocked down quarterbacks. Throughout his 14-year career, Jones played for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins. He played for the Rams for 11 seasons after being drafted in the 14th round of the 1961 NFL Draft.
While Jones played in an era where sacks weren’t calculated on the stat sheet, many historians believe that he would either own the NFL record for most sacks in a career or would be near the top of the charts. After retiring from his job as a quarterback destroyer, Jones was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1980. On top of his induction into the Hall of Fame, Jones was an eight-time Pro Bowler and five-time First Team All-Pro.
Last season, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt led the NFL in sacks with 20.5 with San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller in second and third, respectively. In 2013, expect Watt, Smith and Miller to be near the top of the sack charts again. They could also see some competition from Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.