Rich Tombstone Jackson
Rich “Tombstone” Jackson started his pro football career with the Oakland Raiders in 1966. In 1967 he joined the Denver Broncos as a pass rushing defensive end. When Rich Jackson was asked if tackling the passer is his No. 1 thrill in football, he replied, “No…That would be No. 2. The biggest thrill is winning.” (3) Tombstone played his college ball at Southern University. The 6-2 252 pound Jackson and was born July 22, 1941.

Rich "Tombstone" Jackson #87

Player Info

Height 6' 3"
Weight 255 lbs
DOB: 7/22/1941
Defensive Line



AFL Draft

Free Agent

Shop Rich Tombstone Jackson Stuff

Career Highlights

Pro Bowl 1968, 1969, 1970
Honors Denver Broncos Ring of Fame

Team(s) As A Player

Oakland Raiders 1966
Denver Broncos 1967-1972
Cleveland Browns 1972

Relentless Tombstone Jackson 

Rich “Tombstone” Jackson was a relentless defensive end in the Mile High City. Just ask Sam Walton or Joe Namath about the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Jets. It was September 21, 1969. Jackson continually beat Sam Walton and harassed Joe Namath all day. He forced Namath into bad throws and sacked him twice. He beat his blocker so badly that the Jets tried to put another man in Walton’s position. The result was the same. Later that week, Jackson was named the AFL Defensive Player of the week. New York Jets coach Weeb Ewbank said. “That Jackson was too much for us. He is a great end.” (5)

Both Tombstone Jackson and Deacon Jones claim they invented the head slap, a move they would both use to give themselves an advantage over the offensive line blocking them. "I'd say he's one of the best in the league," said Harry Schuh a Raiders offensive lineman. "After watching the films I've noticed that Jackson has improved his technique tremendously. Last year he used an Illegal club all the time. After a whole game of that I'd have a heck of a headache. And where your head goes, your body goes." Schuh contends that the officials caught up with Jackson and the "club" is employed judiciously. "Now he mixes up his moves more. He's developed some finesse to go with his power and speed." (4) Schuh was referring to the head slap.

Number 87, Jackson had a motor that never stopped. You can now see footage of him on the Complete History of the Denver Broncos. I would encourage you to get this video as a Broncos’ fan, or even a football fan that enjoys seeing Greatness.



Rich Jackson All Pro

Rich “Tombstone” Jackson was an AFL All-Star twice and made the NFL Pro Bowl in 1970. Although his career was cut short by a knee injury, you would only have to ask his peers how good “Tombstone” really was. When he was in his prime, Deacon Jones and Tombstone Jackson were considered the finest defensive ends in football.

In fact, in 1991, Dr. Z of Sports Illustrated picked Rich “Tombstone” Jackson as his second defensive end on his all-time NFL team. (1)

Tombstone Jackson Ring of Fame

Rich “Tombstone” Jackson was simply the best defensive end in Denver Broncos’ history. In 1984, he was a charter member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame as a reminder to Broncos fans past and present just how dominating Jackson was. If it were not for his injury, we would be talking about Jackson as a Pro Football Hall of Fame player. Al Davis once said of Tombstone Jackson: “He's the best player they ever had.” He also has said the Jackson belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (6)

The New York Times listed Tombstone Jackson as one of the forgotten eleven who belong in the Hall of Fame. Here is what they had to say. “RICH JACKSON, the Broncos' defensive end. Nicknamed Tombstone, he was a premier pass-rusher during the American Football League's decade.” (2)

By A. Goodin,
July 23, 2007

Rich “Tombstone” Jackson Biography Sources:

(1)  It's a Debater's Dream// All-Time Teams Leave Room For Argument (1992, November 1) Chicago Sun-Times
Sports of The Times; The Hall of Fame's Forgotten 11 (1996, January 22) New York Times
Fred Leo Stresses Sports Popularity in Denver Area (1969, September 10) Greely Daily Tribune
Tensi Will Start for Broncos (1969, October 11) Oakland Tribune
Tough Denver Defense Batters Jets (1969, September 22) San Antonio Light
(6)  Raiders secrets big and small (2006, August 6) The Denver Post

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