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Is there a place to reliably find sack numbers from before they became an official stat?


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Pro Football Weekly has been around since the late 60's with Joel Buchsbaum and the Arkush brothers running the show
They were the ones who tabulated Deacon Jones sack totals. They've gone through quite a few changes in adapting to an online world, but if you REALLY wanna know, I'd reach out to them

Paul Zimmerman at SI also kept lots of pre-82  stats when he was around and many of the older NFL teams have a historian on staff
Pro Football Reference might have access too. They just list team sack totals for pre-82, not by player

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Imagine had Jones played in an era where they threw it 40 times a game. I still believe the greatest defensive lineman in league history was Alan Page. But I rank Deacon right there with him (with all due respect to Mean Joe, White and a couple others). 

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22 minutes ago, kwolf68 said:

Imagine had Jones played in an era where they threw it 40 times a game.

I don't know if that would help him necessarily, given the emphasis nowadays on getting the ball out quickly in most offenses.

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Not sure how Deacon would do without his head slap...
I won't ever take anything away from the guy - he was spectacular and ahead of his time

But today's rules would have hurt his productivity, both on the head slap side and because OTs could extend their arms and use their hands starting in '78.  Before that they blocked with hands/arms in and elbows out, a huge advantage for the DE. Just a different game back then

“It was a totally different deal as opposed to today, ,” Jerry Kramer said. “Not only were you not allowed to use your hands, you had to have them up on your chest. If you let your hands get away from your body, even if your fists were clinched, and you didn’t reach for anything, they could call illegal use of hands.”

Edited by Shanedorf
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1 hour ago, Starless said:

I don't know if that would help him necessarily, given the emphasis nowadays on getting the ball out quickly in most offenses.

 

The beauty of comparing players from such different eras. A reason why receivers/QBs from that era should be given more leeway statistically. Your point is well taken, but because of the nuance of the offenses today sometimes D-ends get to go up against tight-ends, backs, etc. Jones was almost always matched up against the tackle, so he didn't get "freebies". But I digress. Jones was the greatest pass rusher of his era, I suspect he'd be that had he been born 35 years later. Yes, I am very biased to the old school players. Absolutely love the history of the game. 

Deacon was a character. Loved hearing him talk. Sometimes he'd say some off the wall stuff ("The Packers were not a talented team"--as a Bears fan that's insanely dumb) but he was a fun guy to listen to otherwise. 

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1 hour ago, kwolf68 said:

 

The beauty of comparing players from such different eras. A reason why receivers/QBs from that era should be given more leeway statistically. Your point is well taken, but because of the nuance of the offenses today sometimes D-ends get to go up against tight-ends, backs, etc. Jones was almost always matched up against the tackle, so he didn't get "freebies". But I digress. Jones was the greatest pass rusher of his era, I suspect he'd be that had he been born 35 years later. Yes, I am very biased to the old school players. Absolutely love the history of the game. 

Deacon was a character. Loved hearing him talk. Sometimes he'd say some off the wall stuff ("The Packers were not a talented team"--as a Bears fan that's insanely dumb) but he was a fun guy to listen to otherwise. 

If you're a fan of the history of the game, you have to know that comparing this stuff before 78 is basically pointless. There isn't a single pass rusher in the league today that wouldn't be absolutely dominant if lineman couldn't use their hands to block. 

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2 hours ago, AlexGreen#20 said:

If you're a fan of the history of the game, you have to know that comparing this stuff before 78 is basically pointless. There isn't a single pass rusher in the league today that wouldn't be absolutely dominant if lineman couldn't use their hands to block. 

No real argument and it's why I did say the thing about 'comparing players from different eras'. Now, the argument you are making for D-lineman of today could be used in reverse by saying a wide receiver prior to 1978 would obliterate the game today because of the rules changes.

No one has any qualms about saying how Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver ever (something I believe despite the rules being advantageous for him),  so I would have no qualms saying Jones is the greatest pass rusher ever even though the rules aided his ability because lineman could only block a certain way. I think the rules have to be taken into consideration for sure, the eras are so different. I mean what Don Hutson did in the 1930s-40s is simply amazing considering where passing games were at the time. Anyone saying HE is the best ever would have a point considering the horrible disadvantages he had (smaller schedule, rules, lack of advanced passing attacks, weather). I am NOT making the argument for Hutson, but I can certainly see it, just as I could see an argument for Reggie White as best D-lineman, even though my opinion is Rice is the best WR ever and Alan Page is the best d-lineman ever. 

I also don't honestly know how many games White played at end versus tackle. I think he played quite a bit at both spots. Page was always inside end. 

 

Edited by kwolf68
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47 minutes ago, kwolf68 said:

No real argument and it's why I did say the thing about 'comparing players from different eras'. Now, the argument you are making for D-lineman of today could be used in reverse by saying a wide receiver prior to 1978 would obliterate the game today because of the rules changes.

No one has any qualms about saying how Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver ever (something I believe despite the rules being advantageous for him),  so I would have no qualms saying Jones is the greatest pass rusher ever even though the rules aided his ability because lineman could only block a certain way. I think the rules have to be taken into consideration for sure, the eras are so different. I mean what Don Hutson did in the 1930s-40s is simply amazing considering where passing games were at the time. Anyone saying HE is the best ever would have a point considering the horrible disadvantages he had (smaller schedule, rules, lack of advanced passing attacks, weather). I am NOT making the argument for Hutson, but I can certainly see it, just as I could see an argument for Reggie White as best D-lineman, even though my opinion is Rice is the best WR ever and Alan Page is the best d-lineman ever. 

I also don't honestly know how many games White played at end versus tackle. I think he played quite a bit at both spots. Page was always inside end. 

 

Actually, there are PLENTY of people, myself included, who think Randy Moss was better than Jerry Rice.  I won't derail the thread debating the two because we have done that many times, but I just want it to be stated for the record that there is a significant number of fans who prefer Moss to Rice.

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7 hours ago, Uncle Buck said:

Actually, there are PLENTY of people, myself included, who think Randy Moss was better than Jerry Rice.  I won't derail the thread debating the two because we have done that many times, but I just want it to be stated for the record that there is a significant number of fans who prefer Moss to Rice.

Fair enough. I do agree Moss could have been the best of all time and was probably the most gifted talent of the position, but like others I have issues with his on field work ethic. The fact he could be such a lazy player who took half the plays off during a game and STILL rack up the numbers he did actually is a testament to his talent. 

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