Remembering Deacon Jones’s Classic TV Past

The late NFL great appeared on several retro TV shows.

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Deacon Jones, a Los Angeles Rams Legend, Dies at 74.

Any classic TV fan worth their rabbit ear antenna has to remember "The Brady Bunch" episode where Deacon Jones defended Peter Brady against a group of schoolyard bullies. The 1971 episode, "The Drummer Boy," featured the NFL great sticking up for Mike and Carol Brady's middle son when some hoodlums at the town football field made fun of him for being in the glee club. Tough talk here from the local punks, for sure: They called Pete "a canary" and a "pom pom girl."

"You think this guy can't play football because he sings?" Deacon asked the group. "I sing. Am I a sissy?"

The L.A. Rams defensive end and the pee-wee football coach then proceeded to rattle off a list of football greats who could carry a tune, including Rosey Grier, Joe Namath, and even boxer Joe Frazier. The moral of the story: "If singing was sissy stuff, we'd be missing a lot of good men in sports."

Another Brady catastrophe neatly wrapped up in 22 minutes, while Deacon Jones made the glee club groovy.

Check out Deacon on "The Brady Bunch":

Sadly, the eight-time Pro Bowl legend and Football Hall of Famer died this week at the age of 74. And while this "Fearsome Foursome" member didn't have a steady TV gig after he retired from the NFL (like, say, teammate Merlin Olsen who went on to star on "Little House on the Prairie" and "Father Murphy"), Deacon Jones racked up a respectable classic TV resume back in the day.

In 1969, he turned up in a fantasy-themed episode of "Bewitched." In "Sam and the Beanstalk," Jones played a guard at the Jolly Green Giant's castle, where mischievous mini-witch Tabitha (Erin Murphy) twitched her nose and put him to sleep so she could sneak in. Fee-fi-fo-fum!

After Jones's death, Murphy tweeted a pic from the classic episode and this sentiment: 

See Deacon Jones in this "Bewitched" clip: (He first appears at the 11:23 mark)

Deacon's 1978 "Wonder Woman" role wasn't a huge stretch -- he played a football player in the episode "The Deadly Sting." -- but talk about a plot! It involved a dastardly scientist who possessed drugged darts that could control the outcome of a football game. Fellow footballers Roman Gabriel, Lawrence McCutcheon, and Eddie Allen Bell also appeared.

Check out the entire episode now:

In 1972, it was definitely an odd coupling on "The Odd Couple," when Deacon teamed up with Jack Klugman's character, Oscar, to peddle shaving cream in the episode "Felix's First Commercial." Jones played himself, a pal of the sloppy sportswriter, but in real life, the two weren't BFFs. In an interview with OddCouple.info, Klugman said, "I tended to be a loner. I didn't really mix that much with the guest stars." Check out a photo from the classic episode here.

And speaking of commercials, Jones had some commercial success of his own. He rapped like a poet in a mid-1970s Miller Lite commercial, which had him touting his love for the low-cal brew.

Watch it here:

And if anyone's planning on casting for a Deacon Jones biopic (because you know there will be one), the football legend had his own idea of who should someday play him. In a 2002 interview with ESPN, Jones said, "There are a number of guys that I wouldn't mind having cast as me. Denzel Washington is a guy I'd like. He's a guy who would definitely have me down. He's a hell of an actor. It's got to be somebody who can be big and who's got a body to him."

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