Monday, March 31, 2008

Rich "Tombstone" Jackson

Rich Jackson wore number 87 for the Broncos as a defensive end. Here is a brief synopsis from the Broncos website:

He was considered by many as the best defensive end in professional football during his prime. Jackson was the first Bronco to be named to the All-NFL first team in 1970. He posted his career high in quarterback sacks in 1969 with 11, and had 10 sacks in both 1968 and 1970. He was All-AFL from 1968-69 in addition to starting in the 1970 Pro Bowl. He made the Pro Bowl again in 1971 despite playing in only seven games due to a knee injury which eventually forced him out of football. Jackson finished his career with 34 sacks. He was a standout end at Southern University on both sides of the ball. He also lettered in track and was the NAIA shotput champion.

Jackson, a defensive end whose nickname was "Tombstone", was famous for moves such as the "head slap" and the "halo spinner" which he used to subdue opposing offensive linemen. In the late Lyle Alzado's book "Mile High" he recalled Rich Jackson as the toughest man he'd ever met, and told the story of Jackson breaking the helmet of Green Bay Packer offensive tackle, Bill Hayhoe, with a headslap. Jackson's career was cut short by a severe knee injury. Despite the shortened career, Sports Illustrated's football expert, Dr. Z, Paul Zimmerman, said that Tombstone Jackson was perhaps the finest overall defensive end and pass rusher he ever saw, a surefire Hall of Famer if he would have had a longer playing career, in a bigger media market. As it was Jackson will be remembered as a great one, only by a handful of football insiders, including those who lined up with and against him.
Jackson wore number 87 with the Broncos and was part of the inaugural class of inductees into the Denver Broncos' "Ring of Fame". He was inducted in 1984 along with safety Goose Gonsoulin, running back Floyd Little, and wide receiver Lionel Taylor

1 comment:

ar15 said...

Through my job I had the extreme honor of speaking with Mr. Jackson today. One of the nicest most cordial men I have ever spoken to. I hope I have that opportunity again soon. Have a nice day Mr. Jackson.

Arlen Renshaw