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Tom Jackson (American football)

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File:Tom Jackson 2010.jpg
Jackson at the 2010 NFL Draft
No. 57
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1951-04-04) April 4, 1951 (age 64)
Place of birth: Cleveland, Ohio
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Career information
High school: Cleveland (OH) Adams
College: Louisville
NFL draft: 1973 / Round: 4 / Pick: 88
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career Template:If empty statistics
Sacks: 13
Interceptions: 20
Touchdowns: 3
Stats at

Thomas Louie "Tom" Jackson, also referred to as "TJ" or "Tommy", (born April 4, 1951) is an NFL analyst for ESPN and a former linebacker for the Denver Broncos, where he was part of the "Orange Crush Defense".

Playing career

Early life

Tom Jackson attended John Adams High School (Cleveland, Ohio), where he played football as a star defensive back,[1] baseball, and also was a wrestler. He was a fan of the Cleveland Browns and he and his father attended many games.[2] Jackson credited his wrestling coach with developing his mental toughness and character. "He was a 140-pound guy named John Bianchi, the toughest little Italian man I ever knew. He drove us unbelievably and probably drove me more than he drove the rest of my teammates. I look back very fondly on his help building of my character."[3] Jackson's mother died when he was a teenager.[1]


Jackson dreamed of attending Ohio State, but the Buckeyes had little interest in the undersized Jackson. However, he was recruited by University of Louisville head coach and current college football analyst Lee Corso. He attended Louisville and played football for three seasons, from 1970 to 1972.[4]

During his college career, he was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference player of the year selection in 1970 and 1972. Playing linebacker, he led the Cardinals in tackles all three years and led the team to an overall record of 23-7-2.[5]

His number 50 was retired by the Cardinals in 1999.[3]


Jackson was selected by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft. He enjoyed a 14-year career in Denver where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, a four-time All-Pro selection, and was voted Denver's Most Inspirational Player six times by his teammates. He also assisted the team to championship appearances in Super Bowl XII and Super Bowl XXI.

Jackson was one of only four players to play for the Broncos in both of the aforementioned Super Bowls, played nine years apart. Jackson finished his career with 20 interceptions, which he returned for 340 yards and three touchdowns, and eight fumble recoveries, which he returned for 104 yards. He also recorded 13 sacks (with a season high 5-1/2) as a weak-side blitzer in Denver's 3-4 defense according to Broncos records. Jackson ranks third only to Jason Elam and John Elway on the team's all-time list of games played with 191.[6] He retired tied for the franchise lead for interceptions by a linebacker with 20.[5]

In 1992, Jackson became the 14th person inducted in the Broncos' Ring of Fame.[7]

Jackson published Blitz: An Autobiography in 1987 which focused on his career with the Broncos. The book was written with long-time Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige.[8]

Broadcasting career

In 1987, Jackson joined ESPN studios where he was teamed with Chris Berman on the network's signature NFL shows, NFL Countdown and NFL Primetime. Sunday NFL Countdown, the weekly Sunday morning pre-game show and has won seven Sports Emmy awards for Outstanding Studio Show—Weekly (1988, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2003 and 2007 seasons).[4] On Monday Night Countdown, Jackson hosted the segment "Jacked Up!," which featured five hits from the previous day's games. The show's hosts recited the title phrase as they watched some of the most punishing hits inflicted by players on the field. Jackson is well known for his biased opinions with regards to the team he played for in the NFL (Denver Broncos). He not only shows a heavy slant towards the Broncos in his reporting, but also seems to take pleasure in the struggles of the Broncos' divisional rivals, primarily the Oakland Raiders.

Jackson's pre-ESPN broadcasting experience included co-host positions for both "Broncos Beat," a weekly show on KCNC-TV in Denver, Colorado and a post-game show on KUSA-TV. He had also hosted a daily syndicated sports commentary radio show, "Behind the Line."[4]

In 1995 Jackson appeared in the Eggheads episode of the American science fiction television series Sliders playing a football color commentator during the Mindgame scenes.[9]


Jackson resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife, Jennifer, a former flight attendant whom he met in Hawaii at the 1990 Pro Bowl. They have two daughters, Taylor and Morgan. He also had a daughter, Andrea Jackson, who died on August 7, 1997, at the age of nine in a car accident.


  1. 1.0 1.1
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Tom Jackson (bio)". ESPN. Archived from the original on November 30, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  5. 5.0 5.1
  6. "Tom Jackson - Former Denver Broncos All-pro Linebacker". JockBio Classics. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  7. "Ring of Fame". Denver Broncos. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  8. "Blitz:An Autobiography". Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  9. "Sliders Episode 7: Eggheads". Archived from the original on November 30, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 

External links