Who would have won Deacon Jones award?

Posted Jun 25, 2013

The NFL created an award to honor the late great Deacon Jones, given to each season's sacks leader

The NFL announced this week the creation of an award to permanently honor the late great Deacon Jones. Beginning this season, and each one beyond, the “Deacon Jones Award” will be presented to the player with the most sacks in the league and featured annually on NFL Honors, the league’s primetime awards event held the night before the Super Bowl.

“Deacon Jones was an icon among icons,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.  “Even with his fellow Hall of Famers, Deacon Jones held a special status.  He was a hard-charging football player and the original sack artist who coined the term.  He is warmly regarded by his peers not only as one of the greatest players in NFL history but also for his tremendous influence and sense of humor.  This award will ensure that players, coaches, fans and the media will remember the impact that Deacon had on all of us and know that he represents unique qualities deserving of this kind of honor.”

Deacon Jones, one of the greatest defenders in NFL history who paved the way for players like Michael Strahan, died on June 3 at the age of 74. He was a fixture at defensive end from 1961-74 with the Rams, Chargers and Redskins, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.

Thanks to Jones, the sack became an official statistic in 1982, and the Giants’ ability to sack quarterbacks has pathed the way to four Lombardi Trophies. Two Giants have led the NFL in sacks for a total of three seasons, including the NFL’s single-season record. takes a look at who they are and which players would have earned the Deacon Jones Award over the decades:


Year Player Sacks Team
2012 J.J. Watt 20.5 HOU
2011 Jared Allen 22 MIN
2010 DeMarcus Ware 15.5 DAL
2009 Elvis Dumervil 17 DEN
2008 DeMarcus Ware 20 DAL
2007 Jared Allen 15.5 KAN
2006 Shawne Merriman 17 SDG
2005 Derrick Burgess 16 OAK
2004 Dwight Freeney 16 IND
2003 Michael Strahan 18.5 NYG
2002 Jason Taylor 18.5 MIA
2001 Michael Strahan 22.5* NYG
2000 La'Roi Glover 17 NOR
1999 Kevin Carter 17 STL
1998 Michael Sinclair 16.5 SEA
1997 John Randle 15.5 MIN
1996 Kevin Greene 14.5 CAR
1995 Bryce Paup 17.5 BUF
1994 Kevin Greene 14 PIT
1993 Neil Smith 15 KAN
1992 Clyde Simmons 19 PHI
1991 Pat Swilling 17 NOR
1990 Derrick Thomas 20 KAN
1989 Chris Doleman 21 MIN
1988 Reggie White 18 PHI
1987 Reggie White 21 PHI
1986 Lawrence Taylor 20.5 NYG
1985 Richard Dent 17 CHI
1984 Mark Gastineau 22 NYJ
1983 Mark Gastineau 19 NYJ
1982 Doug Martin 11.5 MIN
*NFL single-season record