NFL to name Deacon Jones Award for most sacks

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are big on team sacks, but have only had one Deacon Jones Award winners - the player who leads the NFL in sacks.

The NFL is passing on the legacy of former Rams defensive end Deacon Jones, widely regarded as the inventor of the sack as a measurable statistic, by naming a yearly award after him.

The player with the most sacks each season will now be given the Deacon Jones Award, according to the NFL.

For a team that's been as linked to the sack stat as any other over the last 30 years, the Steelers would only have one Deacon Jones Award winner in the last three decades - outside linebacker Kevin Greene, who had 14 sacks in 1994. That is the lowest amount of sacks of a league-leader since the stat was officially tracked beginning in 1982.

Greene won it again with the Carolina Panthers in 1996 with 14.5 - the second-lowest single-season total to lead the NFL. Greene is Hall of Fame eligible, and has been a finalist in each of the last two years.

Steelers fans may also know Greene as the linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers; the team that defeated the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

Greene was famously noted for telling OLB Clay Matthews he needed to step up and make a play as the Steelers were driving on them heading into the fourth quarter.

Matthews was recorded saying he identified a play the Steelers were about to run. He forced a fumble of Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, and is credited for saving the game for the Packers. Historians seem unaware of the fact the Steelers had run successfully over and through Matthews in that game multiple times, and running in his direction was clearly part of the Steelers' game plan.

Not sure how I got off on that tangent, but it still annoys me. Great play, no doubt, but let's not start praising him as a brilliant defensive mind over it. If anything, he - and Greene - should have seen it coming well before the first play of the fourth quarter.

Yes, I'm bitter.


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