Roger Simmons | From the Sports Editor
10:17 AM EDT, June 4, 2013
Deacon Jones on "The Brady Bunch" teaching Peter Brady that it's OK to sing and play football.
Yep. that's one of my first memories of Jones, the Pro Football Hall of Fame defender who grew up in Orlando. He died Monday at age 74.
Deacon Jones had a career full of highlight-worthy plays, but when I heard the news about his passing, I immediately thought back to an episode of the The Brady Bunch where the football great appeared as himself and offered some important advice to Peter Brady.
In the episode that originally aired on Jan. 22, 1971 -- titled "The Drummer Boy" -- Peter is part of the secondary storyline. "Peter joins the glee club, then is mocked by his teammates on his pee-wee football team. It takes Los Angeles Rams defensive end Deacon Jones to set Peter's teammates straight," according to IMDB.
Cue football practice. Deacon Jones is talking to the boys about football. Peter arrives late but gets to meet Deacon briefly (because pro football players show up at pee-wee practice a lot, right?) before heading over to the rest of the team. He tells his teammates he was late because he was at glee club.
"Did you guys hear that, we've got ourselves a canary," one of the players taunts at Pete. More 1970s-style bullying occurs for poor Peter Brady.
Cut to the next day. Deacon Jones drops by practice (again!) to give the boys some advice. When one of the boys starts making fun of Peter again, Deacon warns, "Never underestimate your opponent."
"You think this guy can't play football because he sings?" Deacon asks.
The he adds the stunning zinger: "I sing. Am I a sissy?"
The startled bully responds, "Gosh, no Deacon!"
But then, just for good measure, Deacon and the coach start listing sports "tough guys" who also sing -- Deacon's Rams teammate Rosie Grier, Joe Namath, Smokin' Joe Frazier.
Lesson learned -- you can be in glee club and still play football.
It would only take about about 30 more years until TV tackled that subject again on Fox's "Glee."
Ah, life in the 1970s was so much simpler.
Roger Simmons is the executive sports editor for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@rogersimmons. Become a fan of the Orlando Sentinel Sports Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/orlandosentinelsports
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