I'm tired of all the Jet speculation. It's time to appreciate the great players who have played in the NFL and for whatever reason are not HOF'ers.
Mine is easy.
He was everything you wanted in a QB. He had size and a Rifle arm. He could even run. But most of all he was tough as nails and competed as hard as any player I've ever seen. Some may not remember Bert Jones since his career was shortened due to shoulder and back injuries, but his talents were not lost on those in the know. Bill Bellichik say Jones was the best pure passer he's ever seen. Ernie Acorsi says that if Bert Jones had played under different circumstances, he probably would have been the greatest player ever. John Riggins says Bert was the toughest competitor he has ever witnessed. Greg Buttle believes that Jones was the greatest QB ever to play the game because no one has ever had his combination of passing ability, arm strength, fearlessness, fire, and running ability.
During the 3 seasons he was healthy with a decent team around him, Bert Jones won 3 division titles with seasons of 10-4; 11-3; and 10-4 from 1975 through 1977 (before he was injured in 1978). During those 3 seasons he was 634/1080; 58.7%; 8273 yards; 59 td; 28 int. The numbers may not seem great today, but this was the age when DB's could mug receivers all over the field and QB's were fair game. Jones was sacked 93 times over this 3 years but fumbled only 7 times! -- losing only 3 of them. He also ran for 681 yards and 7 TD's. There was no one tougher than Bert.
In 1976, when he was only 25 years old, Bert Jones posted one of only 3 seasons in the decade of the 70's where a QB had a passer rating of over 100. (Staubach '71 and Stabler '76 had the other 2). In 1976, Jones had a 102.5 passer rating: 207/343; 60.3%; 3104 yards; 24 td; 9 int; 2 rushing td; 214 yards rushing. That was beastly season for the times. D lineman could take a QB's head off and lay him out after the pass was released. Also, DB's like Mel Blount were kicking WR's butts all over the field. Jones was spectacular that season. And while he was not surrounded by Jags, his teammates (with the exception of Roger Carr) were nothing special.
Recently the NFL network ranked Jones 1976 season as one of the top 10 all time seasons for a quarterback. It was nice to see him recognized for his play. It occurred to me that others may have favorite non-jet, non HOF'ers that they feel never got their due. Well, there is no time like the present to give these players the recognition they truly deserve.