Harry Jacobs – A 10-Year Man

autographed 1965 topps harry jacobs

When recalling the great Buffalo Bills defenses of the mid-1960s, there are a number of big names that come to mind.  Tom Sestak, Ron McDole, Paul Maguire, George Saimes, Butch Byrd, and many others.  One that has a tendency to get overlooked, unfortunately, is linebacker Harry Jacobs.

Harry Jacobs was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 11th round of the 1959 NFL Draft, but was released during training camp.  Opportunity came knocking shortly after, however, in the form of a brand new professional league.  The Boston Patriots picked up the 6’1″ middle linebacker, and thus started a career in which Jacobs played in the very first, and final AFL games for his teams.  He is one of just 20 men to have played all 10 AFL seasons.

After three seasons in Boston, Harry Jacobs was sold to the Buffalo Bills where he joined Mike Stratton and John Tracey to make up perhaps the AFL’s greatest linebacking trio.  He won two championships with the Bills, spending seven seasons in Buffalo.  Jacobs played his final season with the New Orleans Saints, and retired from the game having played 11 professional seasons.

Today Harry Jacobs is 79 years old, and battling Alzheimer’s.  A recent article details Jacobs career and the challenges he faces today.

Former Bradley and AFL football player battles Alzheimer’s with a zest for life

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

3 Responses to Harry Jacobs – A 10-Year Man

  1. afl says:

    Nice read on Harry Jacobs who, despite his limitations presents a decency be sorely lacking today’s sports world as society at large, for the most part. His uplifting persona reminds this AFL fan of the NFL’s Bart Starr, who likewise exuded the same type of decency though like Jacobs, Starr’s life had its share of troubles too. In a modern day zoo of ‘hey look at me everybody!’ self-aggrandizement/self-promotion, ‘refreshing’ is the descript comes to mind the Jacobs article.

  2. Eddie Arminio says:

    There should be a television documentary of the men who played all ten years of the AFL’s existence, it would be a great take.

  3. […] and so I absolutely did not want to miss out on this opportunity.  As I have written previously, Harry Jacobs played all 10 seasons of the AFL, was a two-time AFL champion, and along with John Tracey and Mike Stratton, set a record by playing […]

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