Deacon Jones wasn't the original sack artist, but he was Picasso, splattering quarterbacks on their backs like paint on a canvas. Jones' head-slapping of offensive linemen and jarring hits of NFL quarterbacks aren't documented in NFL statistics, but his legacy lives on with his coining of the term for tackling signal callers behind the line of scrimmage. The sack became an official NFL statistic in 2002, but Jones' sack numbers are left to conjecture. Some statisticians calculate that if sack numbers were recorded, Jones would be third in career sacks behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith despite playing in an era before 16-game seasons. The Rams media guide credits him with 173.5 sacks.
Months after his death, the NFL is set to honor Jones with an award. Jones passed away on June 4, but according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the league will begin honoring the annual sacks leader with the Deacon Jones Award on the night before Super Bowl Sunday. That's cool of the NFL to honor its stars of yesteryear. Now, if they would just do the same by raising their retired NFL players' benefits.