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Marv Levy: Deacon Jones copied George Allen with 'sack' term

By Tim Graham

Deacon Jones did not coin the term "sack." George Allen did.

So says Buffalo Bills legend Marv Levy.

Levy was an assistant on Allen's coaching staff with the 1970 Los Angeles Rams, where Jones played, and in 1971 and 1972 with Washington.

In a story by Rochester Democrat and Chronicle columnist Leo Roth, Levy said he never heard Jones say "sack," but he heard Allen say it in a speech before Washington played the Dallas Cowboys.

"I know exactly how the term was coined. George was talking the night before in the team meeting about playing the Dallas Cowboys and their quarterback, Craig Morton. The term had never been used. It was always 'tackle the QB for a loss.' But the night before the game, George goes, 'Before we play those Dallas Cowboys, we're going to take that Morton salt and pour him into a sack.' That was the inspiration for it.

"Deacon did jump on the term 'sack,' and he steered it toward meaning tackling the quarterback for a loss. George Allen was reaching for a way to say it, and Deacon turned it into the iconic term it is today."

Jones passed away June 3.

Roth also asked Levy to compare Jones to Bruce Smith, known as the official record-holder with 200 sacks. Jones wasn't credited with any sacks because they weren't an official NFL stat until 1982.

Levy spryly dodged the question.


Bruce Smith | Marv Levy
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

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Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

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Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

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