Bert Jones – What Could’ve Been

Bert Jones, What Could’ve Been

Every now and then in any walk of life you come across someone who you wonder, if things had gone a little differently what kind of impact could they have made. Former Louisiana State University and Baltimore Colts quarterback Bert Jones is just that kind of person.

In college, Bert Jones only started two games during his junior year and then all of his senior year. After those 15 games he left LSU as the career passing leader in the school’s history and had a 12-2-1 record.

Jones was drafted by the Colts with the second overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft and immediately made his impact on the team. The Colts won their division in 1975, 1976, and 1977; with Jones himself winning the 1976 Most Valuable Player Award. After missing most of the 1978 and 1979 seasons with injuries, Bert Jones retired from the NFL in 1982 due to an injured neck.

The 1970’s decade is loaded with great quarterbacks; Terry Bradshaw, Dan Fouts, Bob Griese, and many more. Only three quarterbacks finished the 1970’s with quarterback ratings over 100; Roger Staubach, Ken Stabler, and Bert Jones. The Colts team lived and died with Jones as when he played they finished near the top of their league and when he was hurt they’d finish at the bottom. Bert Jones had arm strength that was only rivaled by quarterbacks like John Elway and Doug Williams, with the ability to throw the football 95 yards in the air.

In 1990, at the age of 39 and having been out of pro football for eight seasons, Bert Jones participated in the NFL QB Challenge. The QB Challenge pitted quarterbacks against eachother in a series of drills measuring quickness, accuracy, and arm strength. There was a division for retired players and for current players alike. Bert Jones won the retired player division qualifying him to play in the regular competition with quarterbacks of the day. He finished third in the regular division prompting San Diego Chargers General Manager of the time Bobby Beathard to inquire if he would come out of retirement, Jones declined.

Bert Jones had an NFL career to be proud of, but if injuries hadn’t take their toll on him, some coaches claim he would’ve went down in NFL history as one of the best ever. The evidence certainly leads us to believe this is true.


  1. Jane Quairoli says:

    I just came across this article. I also wonder just how great he could have been. He is the whole reason I am a Colts fan (still today). In fact, I have a Colts horsehoe tattoo with a #7 inside.

  2. Craig Bak says:

    I’ve been a Colts fan since I was 5 yrs. old. (1958)
    Bert Jones is my favorite Colt and probably always will be. What a player!!!

  3. Rich Cadigan says:

    Just came across this article. I grew up in Baltimore, was a avid Colt fan. To this day I am convinced no one threw the ball the way he Bert Jones did including the two very fine passers Williams and Elway mentioned in this article. Baltimore Colt fans of the contemporary age of those late 1970’s Colt teams will never forget them.

  4. tony pierson says:

    Best QB for a short stretch of time. But of course that was a great time to be a Colt fan….Erhman, Dutton, Cook and Barnes…Lydel Mitchell, Roger Carr…to name a few. And lets not forget Coach Marchibroda…always one step away….

  5. Ang Nardone says:

    As an avid Colt fan people say that I have had the good fortune of having had arguably the two best QB’s ever playing for my team,Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning.I quickly correct them by stating that I’ve in fact had the privilage of having had the best ever play for my team Bert Jones.Any astute football fan
    who was there at the time would concur,like Joe Namath and Bill Belicek to name a few.

  6. sorabji says:

    I just found a stash of trading cards from when I was a collector in the late 1970s. Back then I securely stashed away a handful of cards I thought would one day be valuable, and the 1977 Topps card #95 of Bert Jones was one of those cards. It’s not worth much now (none of my cards are) but an early Bert Jones card might be a collectors item today if, as your story says, injuries had not taken their toll.

  7. Gayla McClure DeRouen says:

    Bert Jones….a Winner on and off the Field……..

  8. jamie says:

    he was a great qb

  9. Steve says:

    Bert Jones leading the team to the 10-7 victory in OT against Miami on 12/14/75 is the best win that ever happened in Baltimore. Johnny U was our parents QB. Battling Bert Jones was the younger generations QB. He was Elway before ther was an Elway. He was the best and made Sunday’s fun in Baltimore after the great teams of our parent’s generation were gone.

  10. john says:

    Die hard Baltimore Colts and Ravens Fan, Yes loved Bert from the good old 70’s. I just went to the Colts get together at Martins West in Baltimore this past Sunday.
    While i was taking a picture of my gilrfriend with Bert, he told her she had a nice ass as she walked away from him, man …… what class he has!

  11. L.J. says:

    Is he married and have kids? I can’t find anything on his private life. Can someone tell me this bit of info on him? Thanks.

  12. Greg says:

    He is married and has 4 kids, I think! Great family!

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