Rich Jackson (born July 22, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana) was an American college and professional football player. In college Jackson played for Southern University. Jackson played for the American Football League's Oakland Raiders in 1966 and the AFL Denver Broncos from 1967 through 1969. He played for the NFL Broncos in 1970 through 1971, and the NFL Cleveland Browns in 1972. Jackson was All-Pro in 1969 and 1970.
A defensive end whose nickname was "Tombstone", Jackson was famous for moves such as the "head slap" and the "halo spinner" which he used to subdue opposing offensive linemen. In the late Lyle Alzado's book "Mile High" he recalled Rich Jackson as the toughest man he'd ever met, and told the story of Jackson breaking the helmet of Green Bay Packer offensive tackle, Bill Hayhoe, with a headslap. He had 10 sacks in both 1968 and 1970 and posted a career-high total of 11 in 1969. He was named 1st Team All-AFL by the AP, Pro Football Weekly and UPI at the conclusion of the 1968 season and by the AP, NEA, NY Daily News, Pro Football Weekly, The Sporting News and UPI at the end of the 1969 season. He was also a unanimous 1st Team All-NFL choice in 1970.
Jackson's career was cut short by a severe knee injury midway through the 1971 season. He finished with an unofficial total of 43 sacks, 31 of which came during the three season period of 1968-1970. Despite the shortened career, Sports Illustrated's football expert, Paul Zimmerman, said that Tombstone Jackson was perhaps the finest overall defensive end and pass rusher he ever saw, a surefire Hall of Famer if he would have had a longer playing career, in a bigger media market. As it was Jackson will be remembered as a great one, only by a handful of football insiders, including those who lined up with and against him.
Jackson wore number 87 with the Broncos and was part of the inaugural class of inductees into the Denver Broncos' "Ring of Fame". He was inducted in 1984 along with safety Goose Gonsoulin, running back Floyd Little, and wide receiver Lionel Taylor. He was voted to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. 
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By Dean Hanley
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