Homer Jones, the former New York Giants wide receiver, passed away at the age of 82. He was a key figure in football history, known for being the first player to spike the football in celebration after scoring a touchdown. Jones left a lasting impact on the game, not only for his unique celebration but also for his remarkable talent on the field. Let’s take a closer look at the life and career of this legendary player.
Homer Jones Died
Homer Jones joined the New York Giants in 1964 and remained with the team until 1969. During his time with the Giants, Jones established himself as an exceptional wide receiver, earning two Pro Bowl selections in 1967 and 1968. His combination of speed and power made him a constant threat to opposing defenses. Jones’ exceptional performance on the field made him a beloved figure among fans, and his touchdown celebrations became a fan favorite.
The Spike Heard Round the World
According to New York Post, Jones will always be remembered as the first player to spike the football after scoring a touchdown. Although it may seem like a common occurrence in today’s game, back in the 1960s, it was a revolutionary act. His spontaneous decision to spike the ball in the end zone caught the attention of fans and the league alike. While his celebration was met with excitement, it also brought about a change in the league’s rules, with Commissioner Pete Rozelle banning the act and imposing a fine.
Dominating the Field
Jones’ impact extended beyond his touchdown celebrations. In 1967, he had a standout season, recording a career-high 49 catches, 1,209 receiving yards, and an impressive average of 24.7 yards per reception. His strong connection with quarterback Fran Tarkenton made them one of the most feared combinations in the NFL. Jones led the league with 13 touchdowns that season, showcasing his ability to find the end zone consistently.
Legacy and Contributions
Homer Jones’ contributions to the New York Giants and the NFL as a whole cannot be understated. He played a significant role in popularizing touchdown celebrations, setting the stage for future players to express their joy and individuality on the field. Despite his relatively short career due to a devastating knee injury, Jones left a lasting impact. His statistics speak for themselves, with 4,845 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns during his time with the Giants. He paved the way for future generations of wide receivers to shine.
Life After Football
Following his tenure with the Giants, Jones played one season with the Cleveland Browns in 1970. His notable 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first-ever Monday Night Football game against the New York Jets showcased his explosive athleticism. Unfortunately, a knee injury cut short his career at the age of 29. However, his contributions to the game and his unique celebration will always be remembered.