After a stellar fifteen year NFL career which saw the defensive end eclipse the century mark for sacks thereby gaining entry to the exclusive "100 Sack Club," 94.5 of which were recorded as a two-time Super Bowl Champion during his twelve year tenure with the Dallas Cowboys, Jim Jeffcoat is still receiving accolades as the 1983 Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP will be enshrined into the Arizona State University Ring of Honor on Oct. 18 in a game against Oregon.
"There's no question I wanted to be part of that because of the tradition of Arizona State," unequivocally expressed Jeffcoat, already inducted into the University's Hall of Fame, revealing a great humility of the "unexpected" honor adding, "those things you never imagine that you'd have the opportunity ... to be on the stadium."
Here are a few excerpts from the complete audio interview:
Fast Life: How did you get into coaching? I know that you spent a few years coaching the DL with the Cowboys and then had a stint with the University of Houston. Was it something that you always wanted to venture into?
Jeffcoat: What happened was ... when you're a player yourself, you start coaching other players; other coaches that had coached myself starting suggesting that I really give it a try. When I started with the Cowboys,I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed players getting better and teaching them. It is a really rewarding experience.
Fast Life: When we look back at your game in the Fiesta Bowl back in 1983 between Arizona State and Oklahoma (where you were defensive MVP of that contest) you went up against Marcus DuPree of the Sooners. He had a monster game and I understand that he didn't have the career that many thought that he would but, could you tell us what you saw on the field that day of DuPree?
Jeffcoat: The biggest thing that I saw was that he was probably out of shape at that time. But I had never seen a man that big and that fast. He was probably right around 265 pounds and he could run. Everything that people said about his speed and his athleticism was true. He was special. It is a tragedy that he didn't fulfill all of the potential that he had.
Fast Life: The first time that you stepped out on that practice field as a Dallas Cowboy and saw the man in the hat, Tom Landry, did you feel any sort of intimidation on your part?
Jeffcoat: Of course. You read about it and you hear stories from certain people about Coach Landry. It was an honor and a privilege to have him as my coach but at the same time,it was intimidating. When you have someone of that magnitude and what he has done for the game and what it is today,you hold him in awe. He was just a tremendous man and a tremendous innovator. He developed the 'flex defense' in which I played in, started the 'shotgun formation' on offense. All of those things just made him so successful.
Fast Life: When we talk about Coach Landry and how great of a teacher he was and you being a DL coach, how much of him being an engineer lend you in terms of when you played learning angles, certain moves in getting that quick first step to the QB?
Jeffcoat: It helped a lot because when you play in the Flex system especially for the position that I played, RE, you learn all of the LB skills. I would read all the way over from the center to the triangle,which is the fullback and the guard and I would rarely read the tackle unless it was a pass rush situation.
Fast Life: Now when you joined the team,it was during a crossroads type of period especially from the mid to the late 80's. The team was getting old, question marks about Landry's coaching, the changing of QB's. How would you describe those Cowboy years from 1985-1988?
Jeffcoat: We still had some great players like Tony Dorsett, Randy White and Everson Walls. It's just that a lot of the new guys coming in didn't realize what it took to be successful. They were feeding off on what other Cowboy greats had done in the past as opposed to what they were doing in the present.
Fast Life: You played in so many big games,the rivalries in that smash mouth NFC East. Whether it was the Eagles,the Giants or the Redskins,what team was the one that you disliked the most?
Jeffcoat: The Eagles. I just never liked Philly. I don't know what it was, I just never liked them. The old Vet ( Veterans Memorial Stadium) was terrible. The field was a mess. I hurt my ankle real bad there once. They hated us and we hated them.