Jack Youngblood, a 6-4, 247-pound All-America from the University of Florida, excelled for 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams from 1971 to 1984. As the 20th player selected in the first round of the 1971 draft, Youngblood made his presence felt almost immediately.
He did so well as a backup to superstar Deacon Jones at left defensive end as a rookie that the Rams traded Jones before the 1972 season. Youngblood divided his playing time with Fred Dryer that year and then took over as the starting left defensive end in his third campaign in 1973. He played with distinction at that position the rest of his 202-game career.
Youngblood, who was born January 26, 1950, in Jacksonville, Florida, was rugged, determined, a dominant defender and the Rams’ perennial quarterback sack leader. He played in a Rams’ record 201 consecutive games and only missed one game in 14 seasons, that one miss coming in his final year in 1984.
The Rams’ defensive captain, he was a three-time winner of the Dan Reeves Award given to that team’s most valuable player each season. Youngblood was All-Pro in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, and 1979 and All-NFC seven times. He played in seven straight Pro Bowls following each season from 1973 to 1979.
During his tenure, the Rams played in five NFC championship games and they advanced to Super Bowl XIV following the 1979 season. In a first-round playoff game that year, Youngblood suffered a fractured left fibula. However, he was fitted with a plastic brace and he played every defensive down in both the NFC title game and Super Bowl XIV against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
One of his most outstanding single-game performances came against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 1975 playoff game. Youngblood recorded one sack, one forced fumble, one blocked extra-point attempt and returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown.