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.