Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones is suddenly a household name after his dazzling two-touchdown performance in Super Bowl XLVII. While the MVP award went to quarterback Joe Flacco, this 28-year-old speed demon was a close runner-up with his epic TD catch and historic kickoff return.
Here’s what you should know about this unlikely hero — who came up big for Baltimore after a disastrous failure for his former team in last year’s playoffs.
1. Jones’ Super Bowl Kickoff Return Made History
First measured as a 109-yard return, Jones’ electrifying touchdown to start the second half of Super Bowl XLVII would have been the longest kickoff-return touchdown ever in an NFL game. Later downgraded to 108 yards, it only tied the record for longest kickoff-return TD of all time (a record he already shared after his October performance against the Cowboys), but still set the record for the longest in a Super Bowl.
He also made an incredible catch-and-run for a touchdown in the first half, returning to his feet after a falling catch to run in for the score:
2. It Also Gave a Lot of People Free Furniture
Gardiners Furniture in Baltimore promised its customers that if the Ravens scored on a kickoff return to start the game or to start the second half, it would refund the purchase price of all furniture bought between January 31 and Game Day. Jones’ score was a big score for all the customers who took the gamble.
3. He Likes to Dance
After his epic kickoff return, Jones paid tribute to his teammate, retiring legend Ray Lewis, by doing the Ray dance (above). But it’s not his first time showcasing his dance skills in the end zone. Check out this weird display after a TD against the Eagles in September (watch out for the loud music at 1:20):
And again in a game versus Pittsburgh:
4. He’s From New Orleans
Jones was performing before a hometown crowd during his star performance in Super Bowl XLVII. He was born in New Orleans and attended New Orleans’ Marion Abramson High School, where he was a standout track athlete and first played football in his junior year.
With the Super Bowl so close to home, Jones’ mom did some home-cooking for the team, reports USA Today:
… Emily London-Jones served up a home-cooked meal to members of the Ravens organization and their families. She prepared enough gumbo, jambalaya, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and bread pudding for 150 guests.
5. He Was Cut by the Texans after Blowing a Playoff Game vs. the Ravens
Jones was run out of town by Texas fans at the end of last season after he muffed a punt that helped the Texans lose 20-13 in a second-round playoff game to the Ravens. The Texans cut this “public enemy No. 1,” who apologized to his teammates and fans:
I made a mistake. It’s something I’ve got to grow from. I apologized to my teammates. I’ve got to live with it and learn from it. It’s a mistake I made being a football player.
The Ravens picked him up, and in the ultimate redemption, he led them to a Super Bowl win in his first year with the team.
6. He’s Really Fast
The former track star destroyed the competition in the Super 60 at the 2011 Millrose Games. According to the Ravens blog, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jones claims he can run a 4.24-second 40-yard dash.
7. He Has a Baby Son
Jones’ girlfriend and infant son, along with his mom, were reportedly at the game cheering him on. According to playerswives.com:
…Jacoby Jones has a son born in late summer 2012, who he talks with via FaceTime or Skype on a nightly basis. … the couple has been together for a long time, and is committed to making the relationship work with their son.
8. He Played Division II Ball
Though he first enrolled in a Division I school, Southeastern Louisiana University, on a track scholarship, Jones transferred in 2003 to tiny, Division II Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee — a 2,200-student, historically black college. There he focused on football for his sophomore through senior years and was named to the All Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) team for all three years. His third-round selection by the Texans in the 2007 draft made him Lane’s third player ever drafted into the NFL. According to a news roundup on the college’s website:
Jones is the only player in Lane history to score via a reception, rushing attempt, punt return and kickoff return in the same season (2006). Along with his touchdown pass in 2005, he is the only player in Dragons annals to score in five different categories in a career. He became the first SIAC player to earn All-SIAC honors at three positions (receiver, punt returner, kickoff returner) in the same season (2006), and was also the first to lead the conference in five different statistical categories in the same season (2006 – receptions per game, yards receiving, kickoff returns, punt returns, all-purpose yardage). Jones holds the school career-record with 1,937 yards and four touchdowns on kickoff returns. He also holds the school season-record with 931 yards on kickoff returns in 2005, and became the first player in Lane annals to catch 200 passes in a career.
9. He Was Busted for DWI in 2008
In March 2008, Jones was busted for DWI after he was found asleep inside a stopped vehicle in a traffic lane in downtown Houston. He pleaded guilty in 2009.
10. He Made the Pro Bowl in 2012
Jones’ 30.7-yard kick return average earned him his career’s first All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections — as a kick returner for the AFC squad. He couldn’t make the game — because he had a Super Bowl to play. Things are definitely looking up.