Lee Roy Jordan
No. 55
Personal information
Born: (1941-04-27) April 27, 1941 (age 81)
Excel, Alabama
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school:Excel (AL)
College:Alabama (1960–1962)
NFL Draft:1963 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
AFL Draft:1963 / Round: 2 / Pick: 14
(by Boston Patriots)
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:186
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Lee Roy Jordan (born April 27, 1941) is a former American football linebacker. After attending the University of Alabama, playing under head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, he played 14 years in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys from 1963 to 1976. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.[1][2]

Early years

Born and raised in Excel, Alabama, Jordan was the fifth of seven children of Walter Sr. and Cleo Jordan. He has three older brothers Walter Jr., Carl and Bennie Ray and three sisters Lottie, Agnes and Darlene (who died at age 2 of leukemia).[1][3] He was a standout at fullback at Excel High School and graduated in 1959.[4] He played college football for the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa under head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.

Jordan excelled as both a linebacker and center for the Crimson Tide.[3] In his sophomore season of 1960, he helped the Crimson Tide finish with an 8–1–2 record. In the Bluebonnet Bowl, versus the Texas Longhorns, he was named the game's MVP in a 3–3 tie.[5]

The following year, Jordan was again an important part of the team as Alabama finished with an 11–0 record, a SEC Championship, and the 1961 national championship. The season included six shutouts, which included a 34–0 win over rival Auburn. Led by senior quarterback Pat Trammell (1940–1968), Alabama wrapped up the season with a 10–3 victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.[6]

In his senior season in 1962, the Crimson Tide fell short of another national championship with a 10–1 record with sophomore quarterback Joe Namath. The loss was by one point at Georgia Tech in mid-November, their first defeat in over two years.[7] In his final game for the Tide, Jordan recorded 31 tackles in a 17–0 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, attended by President Kennedy.[8][9] For his performance, he received his second MVP award in a bowl game. At the end of his senior year, he received unanimous All-American status and the Lineman of the Year award.[10][11]

During his career for Alabama, Jordan received high praise from Bryant, who stated, "He was one of the finest football players the world has ever seen. If runners stayed between the sidelines, he tackled them. He never had a bad day, he was 100 percent every day in practice and in the games."[11]

In early August 1963 in Chicago, he was part of the College All-Star team that defeated the defending champion Green Bay Packers.[4][12][13]

Jordan was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.[2]

Professional career

Jordan was selected sixth overall in the 1963 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, and was the fourteenth overall pick in the AFL draft, taken by the Boston Patriots. He chose the NFL and signed in early January.[14] During preseason in 1963 he was named the Cowboys' weakside linebacker and became the first rookie linebacker in franchise history to start a season-opener.

He shared time with Jerry Tubbs at middle linebacker in 1965,[15] then took over and teamed up with Chuck Howley and Dave Edwards to form one of the greatest linebacking corps in NFL history. His teammates nicknamed him "Killer" and named him team captain for the defense.

In 1971, he had a team-record 21 tackles against Philadelphia Eagles on September 26.[16] On November 4, 1973, he intercepted three passes in the first quarter from the Cincinnati Bengals' Ken Anderson within the span of five minutes, returning one 31 yards for a touchdown. The picks were collectively named one of the ten most memorable moments in the history of Texas Stadium by ESPN in 2008.[17]

Jordan was usually the smallest middle linebacker in the league at only 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) and 220 pounds (100 kg) (15 lb (7 kg) more than at Alabama), but his competitiveness and drive made up for his lack of size. Head coach Tom Landry said of Jordan, "He was a great competitor. He was not big for a middle linebacker, but because of his competitiveness, he was able to play the game and play it well. His leadership was there and he demanded a lot out of the people around him as he did of himself."[18] He ran Landry's "Flex" defense on the field with unmatched intensity and efficiency. He watched game film endlessly; his contract included a projector for his home.

He became the franchise's all-time leader in solo tackles (743) in his 14 seasons with the Cowboys. He was a two-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler. He also helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowls and five NFC Championship games. Jordan was an able defender against the run and pass, and had a penchant for recovering loose footballs. He remains tied for second in club history with 18 career fumble recoveries.

More than 25 years after his retirement, Jordan still ranks second in Cowboys' history in career solo tackles with 743, second in career assisted tackles with 493, second in combined total tackles with 1,236 and first with 154 consecutive starts. He also holds the third and fourth highest totals of solo tackles in a single season with 100 in 1975 and 97 in 1968. In his 14 NFL seasons, he intercepted 32 passes (seventh in club history), returning them for 472 yards and three touchdowns.

He was selected to Cowboys Silver Season All-Time Team. In 1988, he was among fifteen finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame but did not make the cut (among those finalists, him and Lou Rymkus are the only ones who did not eventually become elected into the Hall).[19] In 1989, he became the seventh member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.[1] He was the first member inducted by Jerry Jones.

In 2018, the Professional Football Researchers Association named Jordan to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2018 [20]

Personal life

Jordan married his college sweetheart, Mary "Biddie" Banks of Eutaw, and they had three sons,[15][21] David, Lee and Chris Jordan.[1]

Jordan currently heads the Lee Roy Jordan Lumber Company, headquartered in Dallas.[22]


See also


  1. ^ a b c d Lebreton, Gil (November 26, 1989). "Cowboys are only 13 years late in honoring Lee Roy Jordan". Chicago Tribune. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Lee Roy Jordan among hall of fame inductees". Tuscaloosa News. Alabama. December 15, 1983. p. 15.
  3. ^ a b "Orange Bowl gave Lee Roy 'biggest jitters'". Gadsden Times. Alabama. Associated Press. January 4, 1963. p. 7.
  4. ^ a b Land, Charles (March 21, 1965). "Bigger Lee Roy Jordan is looking to bigger things". Tuscaloosa News. Alabama. p. 13.
  5. ^ "Texas Longhorns Tie Alabama, 3 to 3 On Final Period Field Goal by Petty". The Hartford Courant. Associated Press. December 18, 1960. p. 2C. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  6. ^ Smits, Ted (January 2, 1963). "'Bama wins in 'Sugar,' 10-3; proves No. 1 rating". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 2, part 2.
  7. ^ "Georgia Tech halts 'Bama". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. November 18, 1962. p. 4B.
  8. ^ "Ball hawking Alabama trips Sooners, 17-0". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 2, 1963. p. 4, part 2.
  9. ^ "Bama Blanks Sooners in Orange Bowl, 17-0". Los Angeles Times. January 2, 1963. p. B9. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  10. ^ "Lee Roy Jordan voted best college lineman". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. Associated Press. December 14, 1962. p. 28.
  11. ^ a b "Lee Roy Jordan". College Football Hall of Fame. Football Foundation. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  12. ^ Lea, Bud (August 3, 1963). "All-Stars upset Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  13. ^ Chamberlain, Charles (August 3, 1963). "All-Stars upset Packers". Tuscaloosa News. Alabama. Associated Press.
  14. ^ "Lee Roy signs with Dallas". Gadsden Times. Alabama. UPI. January 4, 1963. p. 8.
  15. ^ a b Land, Charles (December 24, 1965). "Lee Roy feels good about future, wherever it is". Tuscaloosa News. Alabama. p. 5.
  16. ^ Monk, Cody (2004). Legends of the Dallas Cowboys. ISBN 9781582617077.
  17. ^ sports.espn.go.com https://web.archive.org/web/20081104201446/http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=luksa_frank&page=hotread1%2Fluksa. Archived from the original on November 4, 2008. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 29, 2004. Retrieved October 13, 2004.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Ditka, Griese pass first step to Fame". Lakeland Ledger. Canton, Ohio. Associated Press. January 15, 1988. p. 5D. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  20. ^ "PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2018". Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  21. ^ Berkow, Ira (June 27, 1974). "Revealed: how love blitzed Lee Roy Jordan". Ocala Star-Banner. Florida. NEA. p. 4C.
  22. ^ "Lee Roy Jordan Lumber Company". Retrieved February 19, 2016.