Pro Football Hall of Fame 2001
Hall of Fame coach John Madden called him the “John Wayne of football.” Cardinals legend Dan Dierdorf said he was “by far the toughest opponent.” Iconic quarterbacks Fran Tarkenton and Roger Staubach claimed he was the “top defensive lineman ever.” Steelers great Rocky Bleier rhapsodized of his “pillar of strength.”
In Because It Was Sunday: The Legend of Jack Youngblood, readers and football fans will get an unprecedented, candid account of the remarkable life journey of Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Jack Youngblood, who played 14 hard-nosed seasons with the Los Angeles Rams from 1971 to 1985.
From humble beginnings in the tiny Monticello, Florida -- hanging out at the gas station with his father, raising bird dogs, hunting quail, crating watermelons -- Youngblood emerged as an unlikely American sports hero. Tested by tragedy and overwhelming odds, Jack built himself up from a scrappy, overachieving linebacker, into an All-American at the University of Florida, and finally evolved into one of the NFL’s most ferocious competitors.
He was 10 when his father died and had to become a man before his time. He felt a deep sense of duty to protect his mother and two sisters and to approach life with unwavering commitment. He first picked up a football at 12 – and the game became a source of pride for the whole family. As he shares through his own voice, Youngblood’s parents and grandfather, a no-nonsense local sheriff, instilled in him an unparalleled work ethic, uncompromising values and morals to be the very best at everything – these formed the foundation of his life on and off the field. Never highly paid and always playing hurt, “Blood” epitomized true American ideals.
Additionally the book includes never before published photographs, conversations and inspirational stories. As he competed against some of the toughest linemen to ever play the game of football, Youngblood logged more than 150 sacks, was voted consensus All-Pro five times, played in seven consecutive Pro Bowls, was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1975, and the Rams’ MVP three times. In 2001, Youngblood was bestowed the highest honor -- election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
While anchoring their fierce defensive line, Youngblood’s Rams played in five championship games and advanced to Super Bowl XIV following the 1979 season -- a campaign that saw Youngblood’s “true grit” immortalized. He played in two playoff games and the Super Bowl against the Steelers with a broken leg. America was fixated. “I felt it snap maybe an inch or two above the ankle,” he described his infamous calamity. “I start yelling, 'Somebody tape this damn thing up and bring me some aspirin!” In 1980, he suffered a pinched nerve in his shoulder that resulted in a life-threatening blood clot. The doctors suggested he might not play again. But “quit” did not exist in Youngblood’s vocabulary. He continued to play and finished with a Rams record 201 consecutive games played streak.Because It Was Sunday: The Legend of Jack Youngblood will explore relationships and include interviews with some of the most influential people in Youngblood’s life and career including teammates, coaches, opponents and current day stars. Among them are Merlin Olsen, John Madden, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Rayfield Wright, Ron Yary, Fred Dryer, Dan Dierdorf, Jared Allen, and Urban Meyer.