- Jack Ham
Jack Ham No. 59 Linebacker Personal information Date of birth: December 23, 1948
Career information College: Penn State NFL Draft: 1971 / Round: 2 / Pick: 34 Debuted in 1971 for the Pittsburgh Steelers Last played in 1982 for the Pittsburgh Steelers Career history Career highlights and awards
- 8× Pro Bowl selection (1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980)
- 6× First-team All-Pro selection (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979)
- 2× Second-team All-Pro selection (1973, 1980)
- NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
- NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
- 20/20 Club
- 4× Super Bowl Champion (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979)
Stats at NFL.com Pro Football Hall of Fame College Football Hall of Fame
Jack Raphael Ham, Jr. (born December 23, 1948) is a former American Football linebacker who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is considered one of the greatest outside linebackers in the history of the NFL.
Early years through college
Ham was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where he attended Bishop McCort High School. He continued his education at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia for a post-graduate season. Ham played college ball at Penn State. In his three years as a starting linebacker, the Nittany Lions had records of 11-0, 11-0, and 7–3. In his senior year, 1970, Ham was co-captain, had 91 tackles, four interceptions, and was an All-American. He had 251 career tackles, 143 unassisted. He blocked three punts in 1968, setting a school record that was not tied until 1989. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
Pro football career
Ham was the Pittsburgh Steelers second-round draft pick (34th overall) in the 1971 NFL Draft out of Penn State, where he was an All-American. He won the starting left linebacker job as a rookie. He was First-team All-Pro six years and was named to eight straight Pro Bowls. He was named the greatest outside linebacker of all time by a consortium of professional sports writers, beating Lawrence Taylor for this honor. Jack Ham was blessed with tremendous quickness, according to Steelers coach Chuck Noll and teammate Andy Russell he was the "fastest Steeler for the first ten yards, including wide receivers and running backs", this was on a team which included John Stallworth, Lynn Swann and Frank Lewis. He was one of the few outside linebackers who could play pass defense as well as the NFL's top safeties. Although he was a ferocious hitter, he was known as a player who couldn't be fooled and was seldom out of position. Maxie Baughan, the great former NFL linebacker said of Ham, "He was one of the more intelligent players to ever play that position. He was able to diagnose plays. You couldn't ever fool him."
Ham's career statistics include 25 sacks, 21 fumbles recovered, and 32 interceptions. Those numbers place him in the Defensive 20/20 Club (20 interceptions and 20 sacks) with eight other recognized members: linebackers Ray Lewis, Seth Joyner, Donnie Edwards, Wilber Marshall, William Thomas and Steelers teammate Jack Lambert, cornerback Ronde Barber and safeties Brian Dawkins, LeRoy Butler and Rodney Harrison. As these numbers indicate, Ham had a flair for the big play, guided by some of the best football instincts ever found in a linebacker. Ham was a member of 4 Super Bowl winning teams during his 12 year career (although he did not play in Super Bowl XIV due to an ankle injury), all of it spent with the Steelers.
Ham retired from professional football in 1982 and began a career as a radio personality. He served as a color commentator for national radio broadcasts of NFL games, and later hosted a show in Pittsburgh with Mark Madden on ESPN Radio 1250 during the NFL season. Ham is currently a sports analyst for Penn State Radio Network and also appears as an analyst on the Westwood One radio network.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1999, he was ranked number 47 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
His number 59 was reissued once, to Todd Seabaugh in 1984. However, the team quickly figured out that Seabaugh "wasn't Jack Ham" and the equipment manager later stripped Seabaugh of the number after the season. Number 59 hasn't been reissued since, and is generally understood to be "unofficially retired" in honor of Ham.
Ham and his wife Joanne currently reside in Sewickley Heights, Pennsylvania. They have no children.
- Dobre Shunka (either Polish or Slovak for "good ham") was Ham's nickname while playing, as well as the name of Ham's fan club in the '70s.
- Jack Ham was a brother of Phi Delta Theta while at Penn State
- ^ a b c d e "Hall of Fame member bio". Pro Football Hall of Fame's official site. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=86.
- ^ a b c Oremland, Brad (February 24, 2010). "The Best Linebackers of All-Time". Sports Central. http://www.sports-central.org/sports/2010/02/24/the_best_linebackers_of_alltime.php. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
- ^ a b c "Jack Ham bio from PSU libraries". http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Ham__Jack.html. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
- ^ a b "College Football Hall of Fame". National Football Foundation. http://www.collegefootball.org/famersearch.php?id=60020. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- ^ "Jack Ham player profile". NFL.com. http://www.nfl.com/players/profile?id=HAM025169. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
- The Pennsylvania Football News All-Century Team
- National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame
- Jack Ham player bio from databaseFootball.com
- Video NFL Top 100 Players #60
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Look at other dictionaries:
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