Scoggins: Vikings' Allen is a disciple of Deacon, and a beneficiary of his work

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 8, 2013 - 12:27 AM

The Viking said all defensive ends owe much to Jones.

Jared Allen remembers the first time he met Deacon Jones. It happened at an NFL alumni function a few years ago in a roomful of big men, big personalities and big egos.

The crowd snapped to attention when Deacon strolled in.

“I think the biggest thing about Deacon was what you saw on NFL Films, kind of that dominating presence,” Allen said. “That’s the way he was in that room.”

Allen introduced himself to Jones and shared some casual conversation, one of the NFL’s best current pass rushers starstruck by the guy who turned defensive end into a glamor position in modern football.

“That dude could talk, and he was hilarious,” Allen said. “There was an aura in the room when he walked in. People wanted to go say hi to Deacon Jones. He’s an icon in this sport.”

Jones died this week at age 74, leaving behind a larger-than-life legacy as a man’s man who terrorized quarterbacks with relentless pursuit and tormented offensive lineman with punishing slaps to the noggin.

Great athletes leave their mark in every generation, but the true marvel rests with those who change their sport, which is what Jones did. He became a pioneer, someone who made the term “sack” part of football’s lexicon. Jones coined the phrase “sacking the quarterback,” which paved the way for sacks being kept as an official statistic in 1982. His head slaps on linemen were so violent and dangerous that the NFL eventually outlawed that tactic.

Allen was mesmerized by images of Jones on NFL Films. Just as some kids imitated Michael Jordan by sticking their tongues out, Allen loved the ruthlessness of Jones’ head slap.

“You have to make a rule because he’s beating them so bad,” Allen said. “[The head slap] was awesome. I used to get away with it in practice in college. Just ear-holing dudes.”

Thankfully, the NFL is a safer operation these days and player health actually means something. But Jones revolutionized his position, and every defensive end who plays the game should be forever grateful, especially when they deposit their paycheck. That fact is not lost on Allen, who is set to make $14.2 million this season as one of the NFL’s premier sack artists.

“Think about it, every [defensive end] that gets paid now, what do they look at — what are your sack numbers?” Allen said. “It’s such a game-changing play. It can create so much havoc. If Deacon Jones doesn’t create enough controversy and create sacking the quarterback as an actual stat, we’re just looking at tackles.”

That remains the mythical part of Jones’ legacy. Nobody really knows how many sacks he collected in his career because the NFL didn’t keep official count back then. Some estimate that Jones finished with more than 200 sacks, which would rank first in league history, ahead of Bruce Smith’s official record of 200. Pro Football Weekly reportedly reviewed Jones’ career and put his sack total at 194.5.

Allen wants the league to conduct its own study to determine the exact number, though he acknowledges any finding would be unofficial.

“I think it would be great to really go back and count sacks and see exactly where we all stack up,” said Allen, who is at 117 sacks for his career. “I’m willing to bet that he’s at the top of the list. I know a lot of guys would like to see where they measure up against those old guys. I know the game has changed and it’s little different. But you can’t deny what Deacon Jones did.”

John Turney of the Pro Football Researchers Association reviewed play-by-play accounts and some game film and determined, in his estimation, that Jones finished with 173.5 sacks, which would put him third all time, behind Smith and Reggie White (198).

Turney credits Jones with 22 sacks in one season, the same number Allen posted in 2011 — a half-sack shy of Michael Strahan’s league record.

Turney admits that Jones’ total is a moving target (within a sack or two) because information from that era is not always reliable or readily available.

“That’s why I felt they should never be official,” he said. “I just want to know what the numbers are.”

Allen’s admiration goes deeper than statistics. He loves characters, guys who speak their mind and show some personality. Deacon Jones was a true original in that regard.

“I think the greatest part about him was, he was true to who he was,” Allen said. “He did things his way. It’s just cool to see a guy who’s so genuine, and he obviously changed the game of football.”

Chip Scoggins can be reached at chip.scoggins@startribune.com.

  • related content

  • Video: Jared Allen: Ready to rock 'n' roll

    Tuesday June 11, 2013

    Jared Allen returning to health, has 'no beefs' about entering contract year.

  • Vikings Fred Evans gave Jared Allen a high five during Minnesota Vikin...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland 4 Top 7th Inning
Kansas City 0
Detroit 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Texas 13 Bottom 8th Inning
Houston 3
Chicago Cubs 7 Bottom 9th Inning
St. Louis 2
Colorado 0 Top 6th Inning
Arizona 0
Oakland 0 Top 4th Inning
LA Angels 0
Los Angeles 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
San Diego 1
Washington 3 Bottom 3rd Inning
Seattle 2
Milwaukee 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
San Francisco 3
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 4th Qtr 3:30
Western Ky 52
TX-San Antonio 14 3rd Qtr
Houston 0
Colorado State 7 3rd Qtr 9:38
Colorado 17
UNLV 0 1st Qtr 5:30
Arizona 0
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 2 2nd Half
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 31 3rd Qtr
Phoenix 42

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close