Five reasons why June Jones is friggin’ BLESSED
June Jones is a lot more awesome than you’ve ever given him credit for. Look, I’m not implying that you’re an asshole for not having grasped this concept before now. On the contrary, you’re actually taking the time to read my site, so in my estimation you’re like the exact opposite of an asshole (whatever that may be).
So don’t get defensive, I’m just singing the praises of a guy for whom more praise should’ve been sung a long time ago. Here’s why:
1. This glorious picture
In the pantheon of great hair/goatee combos, June Jones’ statue should be right beside that of Kenny Powers:
I suspect that back in 1979, when that glorious picture was taken, Jones was frequently mistaken for being a member of Electric Light Orchestra. It’s only fitting that he spent his NFL career being a backup quarterback because having to don a helmet would’ve ruined his entire look.
3. Dude got in Jeff George’s face
Let’s be brutally honest, Jeff George might have been the biggest insufferable shit the NFL has ever seen (well, in the non-Bill Romanowski Division, at least). After being drafted first overall by Indianapolis in 1990 he spent the next four seasons leading that franchise to a 14-35 record.
After that, it was June Jones who picked George up off the scrap heap and put him in charge of his Run and Shoot offense in Atlanta. The result? George was able to revive a dying career with a 3,734 yard/23 TD effort in 1994 followed up by a 4,143 yard/24 TD showing in 1995.
So how did George see fit to repay Jones? By arguing with him on the sidelines during a 33-18 loss to the Eagles on September 22, 1996. That’s right, in full view of a nation full of football fans. Jones reacted by suspending his ass for the rest of the season. In my book, any guy who forced George to sit out nearly a whole season is a great American.
3. The guy came back from nearly being killed
While coaching Hawaii in 2001, Jones wrapped his car around a concrete pillar near the Honolulu International Airport. He suffered head injuries, internal bleeding, a bruised liver and, get this, a TORN AORTA. How ugly was that crash? Bad enough that news outlets were writing his obituary:
Meanwhile, the two local papers prepared for the worst. “Everybody was getting together special sections because they thought he had died,” says UH beat reporter Stephen Tsai of the Honolulu Advertiser. (ESPN the Magazine; October 1, 2001)
In the decade since he nearly lost his life, Jones has fashioned an 80-51 record at two non-BCS stops (Hawaii and SMU), and keep in mind that includes a 1-11 record when he took his lumps during his first season at SMU. Now that is friggin’ coming back strong.
4. He took Hawaii to a BCS bowl
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can already predict your reaction, which is something along the lines of Hawaii having been about as deserving of a BCS bowl bid in 2007 as I am of winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2011. But whether that team was worthy or not is kinda beside the point in this context.
This is Hawaii, a school with a thin local recruiting base that’s stuck out in the middle of the Pacific. In the three seasons before Jones arrived, the program had a combined record of 5-31. So you see that with all things considered that Sugar Bowl appearance was pretty damn impressive.
5. He put the paddles on the chest of SMU football
By now, even the youngest of bucks who were born in the early 90’s has seen the “30 For 30″ feature on SMU and knows the program went belly up in the 80’s. So with that you cats who just became legal drinkers finally had a back story as to why SMU became such a woeful afterthought in college football.
But seeing Mustang football die like that was strange to those of us who actually witnessed the program’s Pony Express glory days. It really was a death penalty in every sense of the term. Since football returned to SMU in 1989, the program has had SEVEN seasons of one or fewer wins.
Jones was responsible for one of those 1-win seasons after he took over for Phil Bennett in 2008. But since then he’s done the unthinkable in leading SMU to three postseason appearances (two bowls and one C-USA title game). Folks, this is a reclamation project on par with what Bill Snyder engineered at K-State back in the 90’s. How blessed is that?