Without Deacon Jones, the NFL would not have the "sack." Now, the man who coined the term will forever be memorialized in a new award recognizing the player who leads the league in sacks each year. Yesterday, during the memorial service for the late NFL legend, the league announced the creation of the Deacon Jones Award to be presented to the league's sack leader at the end of each season.
The award will be presented during the league's annual "NFL Honors" award show the night before the Super Bowl each year.
It's a fitting tribute to Jones who, in a time before the sack was an officially recognized statistic, recorded 177 sacks in 10 NFL seasons. According to NFL historian John Turney, Jones' 1961 sack total was eight, in just a 12 game season. From there, he tallied 12, 20, 22, 19, 18, 26, 24, 15, and 12 sacks, with the league starting to play a 14 game schedule in 1962.
The Miami Dolphins have a candidate for the inaugural Deacon Jones Award in Cameron Wake. In four NFL seasons, Wake has recorded 43 sacks, still trailing Jones by 19 tackles of the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage in his first four years. However, Wake was fourth in the NFL last year with 15.0 sacks, trailing Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt by 5.5 sacks. With the Dolphins focusing on pass rush this offseason, including the drafting of Dion Jordan with the third overall pick, Wake could see that sack total increase.
Could Wake be the first person to lift the Deacon Jones Award? Let's hope so.