American Football Database
Ed "Too Tall" Jones
No. 72     
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1951-02-23) February 23, 1951 (age 71)
Place of birth: Jackson, Tennessee
High School: Jackson (TN) Central-Merry
Height: 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) Weight: 271 lb (123 kg)
Career information
College: Tennessee State
NFL Draft: 1974 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Debuted in 1974 for the Dallas Cowboys
Last played in 1989 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1989
Sacks     57.5
Fumble Recoveries     19
Interceptions     3
Stats at

Ed Lee "Too Tall" Jones (born February 23, 1951) is a retired American football player in the NFL who played 15 years for the Dallas Cowboys. He played from 1974–1978 and 1980-1989.[1] In 1979, he attempted a career in professional boxing.[2]

Early years

Jones attended Jackson Central-Merry High School where he played baseball and basketball. He only played three football games, because his high school didn't support the sport until his senior year.

His basketball skills earned him All-America honors and scholarship offers from several Division I (NCAA) programs. He also had offers from Major League Baseball teams to play first base in their minor league systems.

As a senior he fought a Golden Gloves boxing match, recording a knockout of his opponent in less than a minute. He stopped shortly after that, when his basketball coach read an article about the fight, and made him choose between basketball and boxing.

College career

He signed with Tennessee State University to play basketball, but left the team after two seasons, to concentrate on playing football under head coach John Merritt.

Jones received his famous nickname during his first football practice, after a teammate mentioned that his pants didn't fit, because he was “too tall to play football".[3] In his new sport, he became a two time All-American defensive lineman, playing on a team that only lost 2 games, en route to winning the black college football national championship in 1971 and 1973.

Jones ranks third in school history in sacks in a season (12) and fifth in career sacks (38).

In 1999 he was voted to the 50th Anniversary Senior Bowl All-Time Team.[4]

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys (first stint)

In the 1974 NFL Draft, for the first time in their history, the Dallas Cowboys had the first overall draft choice. The No. 1 selection was acquired from the Houston Oilers in exchange for Tody Smith and Billy Parks. The Cowboys ended up drafting Jones, making him the first football player from a Historically Black College and University to go that high in the NFL draft.

He became a starter at left defensive end during his second season in 1975 and by 1977 he had helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XII. After playing five years for the Cowboys from 1974 through 1978, Jones at 28 years old and in the prime of his athletic career, left football to attempt a professional boxing career.

Boxing career

From November 1979 through January 1980, he won the six bouts he fought as a heavyweight, recording five knockouts.[5]

There has always been discussions about the quality of his opponents; most of them were journeymen, the best probably being Mexican heavyweight champ Fernando Montes. But Jones was such an attraction, that CBS televised every one of his fights nationally.

After his last ring appearance on Jan. 26, 1980, he announced he would return to play for the Dallas Cowboys, but has never openly discussed his reasons.

Dallas Cowboys (second stint)

He returned to play for the 1980 season, replacing John Dutton at defensive end and performing better than his first stint with the team.

Jones earned All-Pro and Pro-Bowl honors three times from 1981 to 1983. He retired at the end of 1989 season, having never missed a game, playing the most games by any Cowboys player (232) and being tied with Mark Tuinei and Bill Bates for most seasons (15).[6]

Jones was one of the most dominant defensive players of his era, playing in 16 playoff games and three Super Bowls. He was part of three NFC championship teams and the Super Bowl XII champion. His success batting down passes, convinced the NFL to keep track of it as an official stat.[7]

The NFL didn't start recognizing quarterback sacks as an official stat until 1982; although the Cowboys have their own records, dating back before the 1982 season. According to the Cowboys' stats, Jones is unofficially credited with a total of 106 quarterback sacks (third most in team history) and officially with 57. He is the fifth leading tackler in franchise history with 1,032.

Later life

Jones was a guest referee at the World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania 2 pay-per-view in 1986. He refereed from outside of the ring during the 20-man battle royale which included American football stars of the day.

Jones starred in a GEICO commercial that initially aired in late 2009. The commercial rhetorically asks if Jones is indeed "too tall," then confirms it by showing a nurse attempting to measure his height, but breaking the medical scale's height rod when it doesn't reach high enough. The nurse then mutters, "I'm just going to guesstimate."[8]


External links