Jack Ham

Jack Ham
Jack Ham
No. 59     
Personal information
Date of birth: December 23, 1948 (1948-12-23) (age 62)
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
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
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.[1][2]


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.[3] 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.[1][4]

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[1] 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.[1][2]

After retirement

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.[3]

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988[5] and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.[4] 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.

Personal life

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.[3]
  • Jack Ham was a brother of Phi Delta Theta while at Penn State


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jack Ham — Position(en): Linebacker Trikotnummer(n): 59 geboren am 23. Dezember 1948 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania Karriereinformationen Aktiv: 1971–1982 NFL Draf …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jack Ham — Données générales Nom complet Jack Raphael Ham, Jr. Nationalité  États Unis Date de naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jack Ham — Posición(s): LB Numero(s): 59 Fecha de nacimiento: 23 de diciembre de 1948 Johnstown, Pensilvania …   Wikipedia Español

  • jack|ham|mer — «JAK HAM uhr», noun. a pneumatic drill used especially on rock and concrete …   Useful english dictionary

  • jack·ham·mer — /ˈʤækˌhæmɚ/ noun, pl ers [count] chiefly US : a heavy tool used to break hard substances (such as concrete) into pieces by a repeated pounding action called also pneumatic drill …   Useful english dictionary

  • HAM — ist der Name folgender Personen: Ham, der zweite Sohns Noahs, siehe Ham (Bibel) Arthur Ham (20. Jahrhundert), kanadischer Tennisspieler Carter F. Ham (* 1952), US amerikanischer General Jack Ham (* 1942), US amerikanischer American Football… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jack Lambert (Footballspieler) — Jack Lambert Position(en): Linebacker Trikotnummer(n): 58 geboren am 8. Juli 1952 in Mantua, Ohio Karriereinformationen Aktiv: 1974–1984 NFL Draft: 1974 / Runde: 2 / Pick …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jack — [dʒæk] ist ein Vorname und Familienname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Bekannte Namensträger 2.1 Vorname 2.2 Familien …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jack Lambert (football américain) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Jack Lambert. Jack Lambert Données générales Nom complet John Harold Lambert Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jack Collison —  Spielerinformationen Voller Name Jack David Collison Geburtstag 2. Oktober 1988 Geburtsort …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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