When an NFL player has a good performance, it is often said that he had a good game.
When an NFL player performs in a game at a level only matched by three other players in NFL history, it can be said that he had one of the greatest games of all time.
Dub Jones had one of the greatest games of all time when he scored six touchdowns in a single game in 1951.
Jones also was not a “one-game wonder”.
As a runner and receiver, Jones earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors and helped the Cleveland Browns win multiple professional football championships.
Dub Jones, Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants, 1952. pic.twitter.com/JF60NcQ5P5
— John Skrtic (@SkrticX) December 21, 2020
We take a look at the life of Dub Jones – before, during, and after his NFL playing career.
The Early Years Through High School
William Augustus “Dub” Jones was born on December 29, 1924 in Arcadia, Louisiana.
Arcadia is located in northern Louisiana.
#86 DAYS UNTIL LOUISIANA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL IS BACK!!
‘Dub’ Jones from Ruston High School! Dub played college ball 1st at LSU then Tulane (due to his Navy training). He went on to a 9 year pro career that included 3 NFL Titles, 2 Pro Bowls, and an All-Pro selection! #LAHSFB pic.twitter.com/12eYjcBHsU
— Louisiana Football Report #LAHSFB (@LAFBReport) June 5, 2018
When Jones was three years old, his father died.
His mother moved Jones and his three brothers (Jones was the youngest of the four children) about 18 miles away to Ruston, Louisiana.
Ruston had a population of approximately 4,000 to 8,000 people while Jones was growing up there.
Jones’ mother was able to find work and support the family during the “Great Depression” of the 1930’s.
As a young boy, Jones developed an interest in sports.
“As a child, I was raised when you would stay glued to the radio, listening to a baseball game or a fight. It was just a great era for sports. There was nothing I looked forward to more than playing. So, it started at an early age with baseball.”
Jones’ desire to play sports was furthered by the activities of his three older brothers – they all played American Legion baseball and high school football, and one brother went to Louisiana State University (LSU).
From 1938 to 1941, Jones attended Ruston High School.
He played football, baseball, and basketball, and boxed, in high school.
In recalling his high school football experience, Jones credits his coach, stating:
“I was lucky to play football under an outstanding coach, Hoss Garrett. . . . We won the state championship my senior year, the first time Ruston High School had ever done it. . . . When I entered high school, I was very small. It was doubtful I’d be able to contribute a lot to the football program. But this coach had a knack for making the smallest, most unlikely to succeed kid feel he was part of the team. I didn’t make the first team until my senior year. But I felt like I was just as important as the biggest star on that team.”
Jones played on both offense (left halfback or tailback) and defense at Ruston High School, staying in the game the whole time.
Although Jones did not start until his senior year of high school, his play that year was sufficiently impressive to attract recruiters from LSU and other colleges.
LSU offered Jones a full scholarship, and Jones headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to attend LSU.
Jones was at LSU for only one year in 1942.
Because of World War II, Jones then enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
The Navy, under its V-12 Navy College Training Program (under which participants obtained a bachelor’s degree while becoming a commissioned officer), sent Jones to Tulane University in New Orleans.
In 1943 and 1944, Jones played football at Tulane.
He was a halfback and a safety.
In 1944, Jones rushed for 700 yards and four touchdowns.
He was named first team All-SEC in 1944 by the Associated Press and United Press International.
Tulane posted records of 3-3 in 1943 and 4-3 in 1944.
Jones enjoyed his time at Tulane.
“I had a good experience at Tulane, filling out and playing under a great coach, Monk Simons.”
In 1945, while training as a fireman aboard submarines for the Navy, Jones played football for a military team at the Naval Submarine Base New London in New London, Connecticut.
After playing in the 1946 College All-Star Game on August 23, 1946 (with quarterback and future teammate Otto Graham), a game won by the College All-Stars 16-0 over the defending NFL champions Los Angeles Rams, Jones headed to professional football.
The Pro Football Years
Jones was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the first round of the 1946 NFL draft (as the second overall pick).
However, Jones never signed with the Cardinals.
Instead, because the team offered him more money, Jones signed with the Miami Seahawks in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC).
Jones ultimately regretted his decision to sign with the Seahawks.
The Seahawks were plagued by financial problems and poor performance on the field (having a 3-11 record in 1946).
Jones played in nine, and started three, regular season games for the Seahawks in 1946.
He rushed for 102 yards on 24 rushing attempts with Miami.
During the 1946 season, on December 4, 1946, the Seahawks traded Jones to the Brooklyn Dodgers in the AAFC.
Jones finished the 1946 season with Brooklyn (which had a 3-10-1 record in 1946).
Playing in two regular season games, and starting one regular season game, for the Dodgers, Jones rushed for 62 yards on 19 rushing attempts, returned six kickoffs for 91 yards and one punt for six yards, and completed one pass for zero yards.
On December 7, 1947, in a 20-17 Brooklyn loss to the New York Yankees, Jones scored his first regular season professional football touchdown on a three-yard run.
In 1947, Jones, playing in eight, and starting two, regular season games, rushed for 136 yards (and the above-described one touchdown) on 43 rushing attempts, returned seven kickoffs for 121 yards and 14 punts for 157 yards, and completed three passes for 37 yards.
Brooklyn had a 3-10-1 record in 1947.
While the Dodgers principally acquired Jones to play tailback, injuries (including a broken hand) limited Jones’ play on offense in 1947.
Jones also played on defense as a defensive back in 1947.
He intercepted two passes, which he returned for 35 yards.
It was Jones’ play on defense that attracted the interest of Paul Brown, head coach of the Cleveland Browns in the AAFC.
On June 29, 1948, the Dodgers traded Jones to the Browns.
In recalling the trade, Jones said:
“[D]uring the off-season, Paul Brown called me and asked if I would be interested in playing for Cleveland. Of course, I said, ‘Heck, yes!’ I was exuberant to have the chance to play with them. . . . Paul Brown traded his first-round draft choice, Bob Chappius, for me. And boy, that made me feel really worth something, for Cleveland to trade its first-round draft choice for me. Paul Brown told that story many times, that the greatest trade he ever made was when he traded Chappius to Brooklyn for Dub Jones.”
While Paul Brown may have eventually described acquiring Jones as “the greatest trade he ever made”, he did not initially feel that way, as Jones had a rocky beginning with Cleveland.
Believing that Jones was not performing well at defensive back, Paul Brown benched him.
Fortunately for Jones, Richard Gallagher, assistant ends coach for the Browns, spoke up for him.
“Dick Gallagher, our assistant coach, who had great faith in me, told Paul [Brown], ‘This guy’s too good of a ballplayer to sit on the bench. Put him on offense.’ And Paul said, ‘Well, he can run, but I don’t know if he can catch a pass or not.’ So, I got switched to an offensive back only because Paul Brown got disgusted with me as a defensive back.”
There soon became little doubt that Jones could “catch a pass”.
On September 26, 1948, Jones caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Otto Graham (for his first regular season touchdown with the Browns), in a 21-10 Cleveland victory over the Chicago Rockets.
In 1948, Jones played in 12, and started two, regular season games.
He rushed for 149 yards and one touchdown on 33 rushing attempts, caught nine passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and returned two kickoffs for 35 yards.
Cleveland had a perfect 14-0 regular season in 1948, winning the AAFC West Division title and advancing to the AAFC championship game.
On December 19, 1948, the Browns won their third consecutive AAFC championship, routing the Buffalo Bills 49-7.
Jones started the championship game at halfback. He rushed for 22 yards on five rushing attempts, caught two passes for 13 yards, and returned one kickoff for 46 yards.
In 1949, Jones played in 11, and started nine, regular season games.
On November 20, 1949, Jones scored two touchdowns, each on a one-yard run, as Cleveland shutout the New York Yankees 31-0.
Jones in 1949 rushed for 312 yards and four touchdowns on 77 rushing attempts, caught 12 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown, and returned eight kickoffs for 204 yards.
Cleveland had the best record in the AAFC in 1949 – 9-1-2.
In their first playoff game in 1949, the Browns defeated the Buffalo Bills 31-21 on December 4, 1949.
Jones started the game at right halfback and caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from Otto Graham.
He also rushed for 21 yards on five rushing attempts and returned two kickoffs for 40 yards.
The following week, on December 11, 1949, the Browns won their fourth consecutive AAFC championship, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 21-7 in the AAFC championship game.
Jones again started the game at right halfback and scored Cleveland’s final touchdown on a four-yard run.
He also rushed for two yards on four rushing attempts and caught one pass for 25 yards.
The AAFC disbanded after the 1949 season. Cleveland was one of three AAFC teams invited to join the NFL.
In their first regular season NFL game, the Browns played the defending NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles on September 16, 1950.
Jones described the game, as follows:
“It was the Super Bowl of its day. . . . Early in the game I caught a touchdown pass [59 yards from Otto Graham] on their great defensive back, Russ Craft. He was an All-Pro back and a fine ballplayer. . . It was just one of those games where you planned to do certain things, and you went out and did them. And we beat ‘em, 35-10. I just can’t tell you the emotional experience that that game was.”
In the game, Jones rushed for 72 yards on six rushing attempts and caught five passes for 98 yards (and the above-described one touchdown).
The following week, in a 31-0 Cleveland shutout of the Baltimore Colts on September 24, 1950, Jones scored two touchdowns, on runs of 11 yards and 60 yards.
He also rushed for 77 yards on five rushing attempts and caught two passes for eight yards.
On December 10, 1950, in a 45-21 Browns win over the Washington Redskins, Jones had another two-touchdown game, scoring on passes of 20 yards and 29 yards from Otto Graham.
Jones also rushed for 12 yards on four rushing attempts and caught ten passes for 161 yards.
Starting all 12 regular season games, Jones, in the 1950 regular season, rushed for 384 yards and six touchdowns (ranked tied for fifth in the NFL) on 83 rushing attempts and caught 31 passes for 458 yards and five touchdowns.
Jones’ 11 total touchdowns ranked tied for second in the NFL in 1950.
With a 10-2 record in 1950, Cleveland tied for first place in the American Division with the New York Giants.
To break the tie, Cleveland played the Giants on December 17, 1950.
The Browns defeated the Giants 8-3.
Jones, starting the game at right halfback, rushed for 32 yards on 12 rushing attempts.
Cleveland advanced to the NFL championship game against the Los Angeles Rams on December 24, 1950.
With Jones starting the game at right halfback, the Browns won their first NFL and fifth consecutive professional football championship, defeating the Rams 30-28.
Jones rushed for four yards on two rushing attempts and caught four passes for 80 yards (including a 27-yard touchdown pass from Otto Graham).
Jones again started all 12 regular season games in 1951.
In the opening game of the 1951 regular season, Jones had the longest play of his NFL regular season career, catching an 81-yard touchdown pass from Otto Graham, in a 24-10 Browns loss to the San Francisco 49ers on September 30, 1951.
Jones also rushed for three yards on six rushing attempts and caught five passes for 143 yards.
On October 28, 1951, Jones caught seven passes for 116 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown pass from Otto Graham, in a 14-13 Browns win over the New York Giants.
Jones also rushed for two yards on six rushing attempts.
Jones had the greatest game of his NFL career (and one of the greatest games ever had by any NFL player) on November 25, 1951 against the Chicago Bears.
In a 42-21 Browns win over the Bears, Jones scored six touchdowns in the game – on a two-yard run, a 34-yard pass from Otto Graham, a 12-yard run, a 27-yard run, a 43-yard run, and a 43-yard pass from Graham.
With Alvin Kamara's record setting performance on Christmas day, let's not forget about Ruston's Dub Jones. In 1951, he also had six touchdowns (4 rushing, 2 receiving). A few years ago, I spent an afternoon with the living legend. pic.twitter.com/QV0LKntYam
— Aaron Dietrich (@AaronsAces) December 27, 2020
There are several noteworthy aspects about Jones’ six-touchdown performance against Chicago.
First, the Bears were not a poor team.
They came into the November 25 game with a 6-2 record.
On this day in 1951, @Browns halfback William "Dub" Jones vs the Bears ties Ernie Nevers' NFL record (with the Chicago Cardinals on Nov 28, 1929) for single game scrimmage TDs (6). Since then, only 1 player has managed to match that mark: Gale Sayers (w/the Bears on Dec 12, 1965) pic.twitter.com/xZPGnzhc5e
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) November 26, 2020
Four players in NFL history have scored six touchdowns in a game: Ernie Nevers in 1929, Dub Jones in 1951, Gale Sayers in 1965 and Alvin Kamara today. pic.twitter.com/1Z2CLj7q3b
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) December 26, 2020
Second, Jones scored a touchdown each of the final five times he touched the ball in the game.
Third, no NFL player has ever exceeded Jones’ six touchdowns in a single regular season game; only three players – Pro Football Hall of Famers Ernie Nevers (in 1929) and Gale Sayers (in 1965) and Alvin Kamara (this past season) – even have matched Jones’ performance.
In the game, Jones also rushed for 116 yards on nine rushing attempts and caught three passes for 80 yards.
For the 1951 regular season, Jones rushed for 492 yards and seven touchdowns (ranked tied for second in the NFL) on 104 rushing attempts and caught 30 passes for 570 yards (his 19.0 average yards per reception ranked fourth in the NFL) and five touchdowns. Jones’ 12 total touchdowns ranked tied for second in the NFL, and 1,062 yards from scrimmage ranked third in the NFL, in 1951.
Jones was named first team All-Pro by the NFL and invited to the Pro Bowl in 1951.
He was also named first team All-Pro by the Associated Press, the New York Daily News, and United Press International.
Cleveland won the American Division title in 1951 with an 11-1 record and advanced to the NFL championship game on December 23, 1951 against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Browns lost to the Rams 24-17.
Cleveland's Ken Carpenter scores 3 TDs, and Marion Motley and Dub Jones each rush for over 100 yards in a 38-23 win over L.A. pic.twitter.com/QqCfwVCDuL
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) October 8, 2020
Starting the game at right halfback, Jones caught four passes for 62 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown pass from Otto Graham, and rushed for 12 yards on nine rushing attempts.
For the third consecutive year, Jones started all 12 regular season games in 1952.
On October 19, 1952, in a 49-7 Browns victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Jones scored two touchdowns – one on a 63-yard pass from Otto Graham and one on a 16-yard run.
NFL in Ballpark Series
Shibe Park, Philadelphia 10/19/52 – After Dub Jones of Browns scores on 16-yard run against the Eagles, teammate Lou Groza kicks extra point. The kick was also the 86th consecutive extra point made by Groza breaking an NFL record. Final: Browns 49, Eagles 7 pic.twitter.com/Y4bTnUaN5h
— Old-Time Baseball Photos (@OTBaseballPhoto) September 7, 2018
Jones also rushed for 37 yards on four rushing attempts and caught six passes for 121 yards.
In a 48-24 Browns win over the Washington Redskins on November 30, 1952, Jones both caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Otto Graham and threw a three-yard touchdown pass (his only completed regular season pass with the Browns) to Dante Lavelli.
Jones also rushed for five yards on two rushing attempts and caught three passes for 59 yards.
In the 1952 regular season, Jones rushed for 270 yards and two touchdowns on 65 rushing attempts and caught 43 passes for 651 yards and four touchdowns.
Jones was invited to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year in 1952.
Cleveland, with an 8-4 record, again won the American Division title in 1952 and advanced to the NFL championship game against the Detroit Lions on December 28, 1952.
Jones missed the game because of injury, and the Browns lost to the Lions 17-7.
Jones played three more seasons with the Browns from 1953 through 1955.
In terms of individual performance, Jones failed to match his statistics from his prior three years with the Browns (from 1950 to 1952).
However, while Jones’ individual statistics may have declined, he still contributed to the team success of the Browns from 1953 to 1955.
In 1953, Jones, playing in 12, and starting six, regular season games, rushed for 28 yards on 31 rushing attempts and caught 24 passes for 373 yards.
He also returned one punt for seven yards.
Cleveland won the East Division title in 1953 with an 11-1 record.
The Browns then played the Detroit Lions in the NFL championship game on December 27, 1953.
The Cleveland #Browns starting offense for the 1953 NFL Championship
LG Abe Gibron
RG Chuck Noll (future #Steelers coach)
LT Lou Groza #HOF
RT John Sandusky
LE Pete Brewster
RE Dante Lavelli #HOF
QB Otto Graham #HOF
HB Ray Renfro
HB Dub Jones
HB Chick Jagade pic.twitter.com/NCxSgkBIYn
— Old Time Football 🏈 (@Ol_TimeFootball) April 5, 2020
The Lions defeated the Browns 17-16.
Jones did not start the game, but he did rush for 28 yards on three rushing attempts.
Jones in 1954, playing in 12, and starting eight, regular season games, rushed for 231 yards on 51 rushing attempts and caught 19 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns.
In a 62-3 Cleveland rout of the Washington Redskins on November 7, 1954, Jones rushed for 84 yards on eight rushing attempts and caught three passes for 93 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown pass from George Ratterman.
With a 9-3 record, the Browns again won the East Division title in 1954.
On December 26, 1954, Cleveland advanced to the NFL championship game against the Detroit Lions.
The Browns won their second NFL championship, routing Detroit 56-10.
Jones (who did not start the game) rushed for three yards on three rushing attempts.
In 1955, playing in 12, and starting six, regular season games, Jones rushed for 44 yards on 10 rushing attempts and caught three passes for 115 yards and one touchdown.
Jones’ only touchdown in 1955 (the final touchdown of his NFL career) came on a 25-yard pass from George Ratterman in a 41-10 Browns win over the Green Bay Packers on October 23, 1955.
Cleveland had a 9-2-1 record in 1955 and again won the East Division title.
The Browns advanced to their sixth consecutive NFL championship game, playing the Los Angeles Rams on December 26, 1955.
The Browns defeated the Rams 38-14 for Cleveland’s third NFL championship.
In Jones’ final NFL game (which he did not start), he rushed for three yards on one rushing attempt and caught one pass for 11 yards.
Jones retired from the NFL after the 1955 season.
The Years After the NFL
Jones and his wife, Schump, had seven children.
One of their children, Bert, played quarterback for the Baltimore Colts and the Los Angeles Rams from 1973 to 1982.
After his retirement from the NFL, Jones worked in a general contracting business with his son, Tom, in Ruston, Louisiana.
In 1963, Jones returned to the Browns as an assistant coach.
As assistant coach, Jones was responsible for the offensive backfields and ends.
In addition, because Cleveland head coach Blanton Collier was hard of hearing and could not handle the responsibility, Jones called offensive plays for the Browns, working from the press box.
During Jones’ tenure as coach with the Browns, Cleveland won the NFL championship in 1964 and division titles in 1964, 1965, and 1967.
Jones was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame in 1982.
He was in 1984 inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2004, Jones was inducted into the Cleveland Browns Legends Program.
While Jones will always be remembered for his six-touchdown game, he has two additional legacies.
— Aaron Dietrich (@AaronsAces) June 23, 2020
First, in terms of the NFL, while Jones was often described as playing right halfback, he actually helped create a new offensive position – flanker.
“We had the two ends, but after I got to playing, they started setting me out as a flanker. That was when that position first developed.”
Second, in terms of the Cleveland Browns, Jones significantly contributed as both a runner and a receiver for the Browns.
During his eight seasons with Cleveland from 1948 to 1955, Jones rushed for 1,910 yards and 20 touchdowns on 454 rushing attempts and caught 171 passes for 2,874 yards (16.8 average yards per reception) and 20 touchdowns.
While Jones does not get the recognition of other receivers, such as Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie, who caught passes from Otto Graham, Jones was also an important player in the Browns offense when led by Graham.
Jones has had a role in every NFL championship won by the Browns – as a player in 1950, 1954, and 1955, and as a coach in 1964.
For both his individual performance and role in team success, Dub Jones deserves recognition as a key player and coach in Cleveland Browns history.