- Jack Lambert (American football)
birthdate=birth date and age|1952|7|8
Pro Bowlselection (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983)
All-Proselection (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983)
Super Bowlchampion (IX, X, XIII, XIV)
NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
NFL Defensive Player of the Year
John Harold "Jack" Lambert (
July 8, 1952, Mantua, Ohio, United States) is a former NFL linebackerin American football. He played football for Kent State, winning two All- Mid-American Conferencelinebacker honors. He won four Super Bowls in his 11 year career with the Pittsburgh Steelersand is recognized as one of the best middle linebackers in the history of the NFL.
Selected by the
Pittsburgh Steelersin the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft, many pro football coaches and scouts thought Lambert was too small to play linebacker in the NFL (Lambert played quarterback at Crestwood HS before switching to defensive end at Kent State.) While most of his pro career he was reported to be 6'4" and 220 pounds, he measured 6'3 1/2" and 204 pounds as a rookie. However, he displayed strength at warding off blockers and reading offenses. The Steelers took a chance on Lambert, and he rewarded them quickly when he replaced middle linebacker Henry Davis. Lambert went on to earn the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Awardas a central figure on a great Steeler defense that went on to win their first Super Bowl IXto beat the Minnesota Vikings16-6. Lambert was known for the intensity with which he played. Lambert prided himself on his ability to hit hard and intimidate the opposition. By the time of his retirement, he was widely recognized as one of the great middle-linebackers in the history of the game. He played with the Steelers, starting at middle linebacker, for eleven seasons and he had 28 career interceptions, 1,441 career tackles, and 23-1/2 sacks. [http://news.steelers.com/mediarelations/careerstats/jlambert]
Lambert's four front upper
teethwere missing as a result of playing basketballin high school. Although he had a removable partial denturehe wore in public, he didn't wear it during games, and pictures of Lambert's toothless snarl became a signature of the famous Steeler defense. In 1976, Lambert assumed the role as leader of the Steelers after star defensive tackle "Mean Joe" Greene missed several games due to a chronic back injury. The Steelers 1976 defense is considered one of the greatest defenses of all time, finishing #1 in nearly every statistical category. After quarterback Terry Bradshawand numerous other starters went down with injuries, the Steelers struggled to a 1-4 record. At a "players only" meeting, Lambert made it clear that "the only way we are going to the playoffs to defend our title is to win them all from here out." In a remarkable nine-game span, the Steelers defense allowed only two touchdowns. They shut out opponents five times. Their opponents were held to an average of just 3 points per game in that stretch. The Steelers won all of their remaining games and finished at 10-4. The defense gave up only 138 points for the entire season. Eight of the eleven defensive starters on the Steelers made the Pro Bowl that year. Jack Lambert was named NFL Defensive Player of the Yearin 1976. In a nine-year span, Jack Lambert was named to nine straight Pro Bowlsand was NFL Defensive Player of the Year once. He led the Steelers' " Steel Curtain" defense to four Super BowlsChampionships. In 1984 a severe and recurring case of turf toesidelined him, after which he retired. Presently he and his wife (of 19 years) Lisa live in Worthington, PA. (population: 763, seven miles west of Kittanning) with their 4 active children (Lauren, Elizabeth, John and Ty.) He has been a volunteer deputy wildlife officer and he now focuses on coaching youth baseball and basketball, tending to his land and working hard to maintain his town's pristine ball fields. Like many former professional athletes, he doesn't watch tapes of football. (All remnants of his 11-year NFL career are packed in boxes in his basement.) [http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/highschool/info/s_320046.html]
In 2004, the
Fox Sports Netseries " The Sports List" named Lambert as the toughest football player of all time.
While Lambert's number 58 is one of many jersey numbers "unofficially retired" by the team (the Steelers don't retire jersey numbers), his jersey number has perhaps gotten the biggest attention out of all such jersey numbers. When Lambert retired, he reportedly told the equipment manager that he was to never issue number 58 again (knowing well-aware of the team's policy not to retire numbers) or he was going to go after him.
*"Pro Football Hall of Fame:" [http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=118 Member profile]
*Lambert58.com, Jack's official memorabilia company [http://www.lambert58.com]
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