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Deacon Jones versus Bruce Smith


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#1 hondo in seattle

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 08:50 PM

RIP Deacon Jones.  He was a fierce competitor.

But was he better than Bruce Smith?  Bruce holds the NFL record with 200 career sacks.

Back in the Deacon's day, sacks weren't a separate statistics.  Nor were tackles.  Unofficially, though, Jones has been credited with 173.5 sacks over 14 seasons.

Apparently, Bruce produced more career sacks but many old-timers still insist Jones was better.

My own opinion is that Deacon was more important historically because he revolutionized the position.  Bill Parcels says, "Deacon was the first prototypical outside speed-power rusher in the history of the league."

http://sports.yahoo....-193540383.html

Deacon even invented the term "sack" when he cheerfully compared tackling QBs in the backfield to hog-tying them in a sack.

But as a Buffalo homer, I have to say Bruce was the better DE and sack-master.  Bruce produced more sacks despite not playing without the Fearsome Foursome around him and despite being pushed, grabbed and held.  Back in Deacon's days, NFL rules didn't allow offensive linemen to use their hands like they do today.

Wonder what other opinions are out there?

Edited by hondo in seattle, 04 June 2013 - 10:07 PM.


#2 jumbalaya

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:06 PM

Most people rate Bruce the third best defensive player behind Taylor and Jones.  And  I still don't think they give Bruce all the credit he deserves.

#3 Cynical

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:39 PM

View Posthondo in seattle, on 04 June 2013 - 08:50 PM, said:

RIP Deacon Jones.  He was a fearsome competitor.

But was he better than Bruce Smith?  Bruce holds the NFL record with 200 career sacks.

Back in the Deacon's day, sacks weren't a separate statistics.  Nor were tackles.  Unofficially, though, Jones has been credited with 173.5 sacks over 14 seasons.

Apparently, Bruce produced more career sacks but many old-timers still insist Jones was better.

My own opinion is that Deacon was more important historically because he revolutionized the position.  Bill Parcels says, "Deacon was the first prototypical outside speed-power rusher in the history of the league."

http://sports.yahoo....-193540383.html

Deacon even invented the term "sack" when he cheerfully compared tackling QBs in the backfield to hog-tying them in a sack.

But as a Buffalo homer, I have to say Bruce was the better DE and sack-master.  Bruce produced more sacks despite not playing without the Fearsome Foursome around him and despite being pushed, grabbed and held.  Back in Deacon's days, NFL rules didn't allow offensive linemen to use their hands like they do today.

You forgot about the head slap.

Imagine Smith having the ability to reach out and head slap the **** out of the OL that tried to take his knees out the play before.

Quote

Wonder what other opinions are out there?


#4 hondo in seattle

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 10:04 PM

View PostCynical, on 04 June 2013 - 09:39 PM, said:

You forgot about the head slap.

Imagine Smith having the ability to reach out and head slap the **** out of the OL that tried to take his knees out the play before.

Good point.  I think Bruce would have been able to deliver a brutal head slap.

#5 aristocrat

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 10:09 PM

Bruce played in the 3-4 but jones played 190 games and bruce 279.

#6 DC Grid

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 10:11 PM

The NFL is an increasingly offensive biased league.  That's why for me racking up more sacks than Deacon (deacon claimed he had 187.5) decades later makes Bruce clearly better.  The NFL has evolved more than any other sport....you drop Bruce into Deacon's era he might have 400 sacks.  Then again I'm also a firm believer that Tyson at his prime would drop Ali like a bag of dirt.

#7 Joe_the_6_pack

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 10:48 PM

Bruce, head slap and other rules limiting what OL could do says it all.  Only argument I can see in favor of Deacon he played in more of a run-first league, reducing sack opportunities. But who cares, Bruce was the more complete player and played against linemen that would have been flagged on nearly every play in Deacon's era. We all know the reasons Bruce doesn't get his due in the national media: 1) he played in small market Buffalo and 2) his team lost 4 super bowls, as if someone never playing in a championship game like Jones means he's better

Edited by Joe_the_6_pack, 04 June 2013 - 10:48 PM.


#8 OCinBuffalo

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:58 AM

If you look at it from a physical talent perspective, or in terms of what guy could do physically vs. what the others could, consistently, there's no way Jones, or Reggie White compares to Smith.

Bruce Smith was able to run, at full speed, while bending his waist to the point that his hand was nearly touching the ground. That means often he was basically unblockable, because there was nothing for the tackle to get his hands on. I've never seen anybody else do that.

In contrast, Deacon Jones had the head slap. :lol: Not for nothing, I bet most posters could execute a head slap.

I don't even want to imagine what Bruce Smith would have been like if he could head slap O lineman :o. I would expect a whole lot of shattered ear drums. You could argue that Jones "changed the game"...because they changed to rules to stop him. I would argue that Bruce Smith "overcame the game" because he was able to do what he did, in spite of the rule changes that allowed lineman to do what would be called holding in Jones's time.

But again, going back to the original point: Bruce Smith didn't need the head slap, or most of what comprised Reggie White's game, because only he, and neither of them, could physically execute the things he could.

Bruce's spin move was so fast, that he looked like he was doing a roll dodge in lacrosse, yet he was 6'4" and weighing 80-100 lbs more than your average lacrosse player. The effect of the spin move? Often the pitiful O lineman was left standing there, blocking air, with Smith now a full 2 steps behind him, and hitting full speed just in time to make contact with the QB. The best was spinning through the gap between 2 lineman, leaving both standing there looking like bouncers, or cones. :lol:

The ability to execute the outside moves, and the spin move to the inside, is WHY Smith was able to get so many sacks as a 3-4 defensive end.

You put either of the other guys in that role, in that formation, and they wouldn't be able to physically execute at Smith's level. It's really as simple as that.

#9 Homey D. Clown

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:40 AM

With all due respect to Deacon, but his physical condition was nowhere near where Bruce was in his playing prime.  Images and highlight clips really show you the difference in conditioning.  If you put Deacon in today's game in his prime, he wouldn't even make the roster from a conditioning standpoint only.  I think he was the best defensive player of his time, and that's saying a lot, but Bruce was the far more athletic of the 2 and clearly a more dominant player in an era designed to give the offense an advantage.

#10 FeartheLosing

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:41 AM

View Posthondo in seattle, on 04 June 2013 - 08:50 PM, said:

RIP Deacon Jones.  He was a fierce competitor.

But was he better than Bruce Smith?  Bruce holds the NFL record with 200 career sacks.

Back in the Deacon's day, sacks weren't a separate statistics.  Nor were tackles.  Unofficially, though, Jones has been credited with 173.5 sacks over 14 seasons.

Apparently, Bruce produced more career sacks but many old-timers still insist Jones was better.

My own opinion is that Deacon was more important historically because he revolutionized the position.  Bill Parcels says, "Deacon was the first prototypical outside speed-power rusher in the history of the league."

http://sports.yahoo....-193540383.html

Deacon even invented the term "sack" when he cheerfully compared tackling QBs in the backfield to hog-tying them in a sack.

But as a Buffalo homer, I have to say Bruce was the better DE and sack-master.  Bruce produced more sacks despite not playing without the Fearsome Foursome around him and despite being pushed, grabbed and held.  Back in Deacon's days, NFL rules didn't allow offensive linemen to use their hands like they do today.

Wonder what other opinions are out there?
RIP Mr Deacon Jones.

The rules were so different back then. I can remember that Jones would head slap a linemen so hard his helmet would spin, make him see stars and forget what he was doing. I believe he invented that maneuver, and after awhile they banned it because he was so vicious with it.  I believe he also coined the phrase "sack" the QB. Because he said it was putting the QB in a grocery bag and beating on it with a bat.

I think pro football weekly reported he had 194 1/2 sacks, and they used to have pages of stats in their weekly magazine back then.

In comparing Bruce Smith, Reggie White and Deacon Jones I'd say that all three were great in their own way. Reggie was a beast and could literally one arm swipe players out of his way. Bruce had his spin move. Deacon had his head slap.

#11 Chandler#81

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:50 AM

Opinions? OK, Bruce.

Like Jones, Smith never shied away from a camera, ever talking a big game. Unlike Bruce, Jones played with HOFers all across his defensive front. Hanson was the best other DL player Bruce played with and he never made a ProBowl. So overwhelming was the Fearsome Foursome, SOMEONE was gonna collect the trash the others destroyed.

Bruce Smith was every bit as effective vs the run and screens as his pass rush exploits. Neither of which get near the publicity. Art Still was great vs the run. What did that get him?

Bruce was also fortunate to play in an era where medical advances took knee operations from the butcher block to high tech, enabling him to enjoy a much longer career. The stuff Jones got away with -and was proud to boast about- would have the authorities in the locker room after the game looking to press charges today.

Jones/Smith debate?

BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE!

#12 tennesseeboy

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:55 AM

two of the greatest defensive players ever.  I couldn't even venture a guess as which was better.  One consideration is that Jones was part of an all time defensive unit, the Fearsome Foursome" which may have helped and just might give Bruce and edge...but that's kind of pushing it.  Two great players.

#13 947

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:58 AM

As Bills fans, we're all going to pick Bruce as the #1 all-time, and rightfully so. But good luck selling the masses on that. I'd bet 90% of NFL fans would rate Bruce below Deacon Jones and Reggie White.

#14 Charles Romes

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:40 AM

View PostOCinBuffalo, on 05 June 2013 - 06:58 AM, said:

If you look at it from a physical talent perspective, or in terms of what guy could do physically vs. what the others could, consistently, there's no way Jones, or Reggie White compares to Smith.

Bruce Smith was able to run, at full speed, while bending his waist to the point that his hand was nearly touching the ground. That means often he was basically unblockable, because there was nothing for the tackle to get his hands on. I've never seen anybody else do that.

In contrast, Deacon Jones had the head slap. :lol: Not for nothing, I bet most posters could execute a head slap.

I don't even want to imagine what Bruce Smith would have been like if he could head slap O lineman :o. I would expect a whole lot of shattered ear drums. You could argue that Jones "changed the game"...because they changed to rules to stop him. I would argue that Bruce Smith "overcame the game" because he was able to do what he did, in spite of the rule changes that allowed lineman to do what would be called holding in Jones's time.

But again, going back to the original point: Bruce Smith didn't need the head slap, or most of what comprised Reggie White's game, because only he, and neither of them, could physically execute the things he could.

Bruce's spin move was so fast, that he looked like he was doing a roll dodge in lacrosse, yet he was 6'4" and weighing 80-100 lbs more than your average lacrosse player. The effect of the spin move? Often the pitiful O lineman was left standing there, blocking air, with Smith now a full 2 steps behind him, and hitting full speed just in time to make contact with the QB. The best was spinning through the gap between 2 lineman, leaving both standing there looking like bouncers, or cones. :lol:

The ability to execute the outside moves, and the spin move to the inside, is WHY Smith was able to get so many sacks as a 3-4 defensive end.

You put either of the other guys in that role, in that formation, and they wouldn't be able to physically execute at Smith's level. It's really as simple as that.

I agree, except that you forgot to mention his ability to break off mid-move whatever flash pass rush move he was performing in order to stuff the run.  When he played for the Bills I could not believe how dominant he was.   I would wonder if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing and why the League was not stepping in an putting him in the Hall while he was still playing,  He would single-handedly collapse and occupy the entire side of the Oline opposite of where he lined up play after play and this went on for more than a decade.  When you watched the opposing QB walk to the line against the Bills his eyes would invariably be riveted to where Bruce was standing prior to each snap.

#15 DDD

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:50 AM

Never saw Deacon Jones play.  Bruce Smith was a once in a generation player.  Boy was he fun to watch.

#16 K-9

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 12:19 PM

View PostJoe_the_6_pack, on 04 June 2013 - 10:48 PM, said:

Bruce, head slap and other rules limiting what OL could do says it all.  Only argument I can see in favor of Deacon he played in more of a run-first league, reducing sack opportunities. But who cares, Bruce was the more complete player and played against linemen that would have been flagged on nearly every play in Deacon's era. We all know the reasons Bruce doesn't get his due in the national media: 1) he played in small market Buffalo and 2) his team lost 4 super bowls, as if someone never playing in a championship game like Jones means he's better

How much more "due" can a player get than being a unanimous, first-ballot Hall of Famer?

Comparing players across eras is always a silly exercise.

GO BILLS!!!

Edited by K-9, 05 June 2013 - 12:20 PM.


#17 Thisistheyear

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 12:38 PM

View Postjumbalaya, on 04 June 2013 - 09:06 PM, said:

Most people rate Bruce the third best defensive player behind Taylor and Jones.  And  I still don't think they give Bruce all the credit he deserves.

Interesting.  I would think most people would put Deion and Reggie White ahead of Bruce.

#18 OCinBuffalo

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:04 PM

View PostCharles Romes, on 05 June 2013 - 11:40 AM, said:

I agree, except that you forgot to mention his ability to break off mid-move whatever flash pass rush move he was performing in order to stuff the run.  When he played for the Bills I could not believe how dominant he was.   I would wonder if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing and why the League was not stepping in an putting him in the Hall while he was still playing,  He would single-handedly collapse and occupy the entire side of the Oline opposite of where he lined up play after play and this went on for more than a decade.  When you watched the opposing QB walk to the line against the Bills his eyes would invariably be riveted to where Bruce was standing prior to each snap.
You are right, I did forget. The only way you beat Bruce in the run game was by running right at him, right next to him, and having an a HOF-level LT who could step quickly into him. This would only work for about 2 plays or so.

I recall Jacksoville was able to run, a little...there was one Natrone Means big run play that comes to mind...and I believe that was Tony Boselli playing LT, so there you go. Bruce losing on a run play was so infrequent, that it is: memorable. :lol: When he was hurt, and especially when ahole teams like the Ditka bears went after his recently healed knees(I don't forgive or forget that), he may not have had the sacks, but he still stopped the run.

The hilarious part about me forgetting? Now that I think about it, this isn't the first time I forgot.

Bruce once reminded me about his run dominance, personally, when I complimented(wrong word, gleefully cheered like a girl who just got a pony is more like it) him on his sacks, at the Big Tree. :lol: But that wasn't the funniest thing. The funniest thing was my dopey college roommate standing next to me, speaking Swahili, because he was too nervous, and buzzed, to speak English. Bruce just laughed at him, and said something like "I hope you enjoyed the game" so I've always remembered that a little more. :lol:

#19 OCinBuffalo

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:15 PM

View PostK-9, on 05 June 2013 - 12:19 PM, said:

Comparing players across eras is always a silly exercise.
You might be right.

But, if Bruce Smith was allowed to head slap people, how many more LTs and LGs would be suing the NFL today due to concussions?

Considering how many times Smith played the Dolphins, wouldn't Richmond Webb = Muhammad Ali? :lol:

#20 Buffaloed in Pa

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 04:23 PM

Athletes of old ,were for the most part smaller,weaker,slower and not in as good of shape. Smokes,booze ,and sleazy women were their training. Alot worked blue collar jobs in offseason.Bruce would have killed it against these type of players.