Jaworski remains a Philadelphia icon.
Q&A: Ron Jaworski
ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Ron Jaworski, a former NFL quarterback, played 15 seasons in the league (1974-1989) for the Eagles, Rams, Dolphins and Chiefs. He famously led the Eagles to Super Bowl XV in 1980, the same year he won the UPI Player of the Year award.
SI.com:How would you characterize your era of football?
Jaworski:The late '70s was when we saw the beginning of the evolution into how the game is played right now. During the early-to-mid-'70s, there was a lot of 11-guys-on-offense, 11-guys-on-defense, and those guys always stayed on the field. Then, in the late '70s you began to see situational players — positions like nickel back, dime coverages, and pass rushers replacing bulky run-stoppers. Also, offenses would put three or four wide receivers on the field, and you would also see receiving backs. The game began to expand in the late '70s.
SI.com:Who was the best player of your era?
Jaworski:Walter Payton. There are very few guys I would stand on the sidelines and watch when the other team's offense was on the field, but Payton was one of them. He was just an amazing talent.
SI.com:We know today's NFL players are better athletes, but what was better about the game during your era?
Jaworski:The athletes today are just incredible. They are bigger, stronger, faster, smarter and they are much better prepared to enter the pro game right now. I don't want to sound like an old guy with sour grapes, but I think what is different is the disenchantment that some players have with their place in the game today, as well as with the city they are in or the offense they are playing in. I think guys in the '70s and '80s accepted that this was their city, their team, and that it was where they would play their career. Now everyone is always looking for the next situation rather than enjoying the one they are in.
SI.com:Which players from your era would be a star in today's game?
Jaworski:Payton, Dan Fouts, Joe Theismann, Terry Bradshaw, guys like that clearly would have done well in today's game. And someone like Charlie Joiner may have been even more impressive in today's throw-ball game.
SI.com:Was there a defender whom you feared?
Jaworski:I don't like to say “fear,” but two guys I really respected and that we always had to account for were Randy White and Lawrence Taylor. Those two jump to my mind. They were tremendous football players and you had to know where they were on the field at all times. I would break the huddle and look for Taylor. We had to do things to disrupt him because he was always trying to disrupt our offense.
SI.com:What was the best team of your era?
Jaworski:I don't think there is any question that it was the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's not to take anything away from the 49ers or the Cowboys, but those Steelers teams were just so complete. You could not find a weakness. Usually, there is one Achilles heel in an offense or defense or the pass rush, but the Steelers could win any way they wanted to. They played great defense, they ran the football, they threw the football, they created turnovers and then they did not turn the football over. They were the most complete team of my era.
SI.com:Who is the one guy from any era of the NFL you wish you could have played with?
Jaworski:Jerry Rice, because of the grace with which he played the game, the competitive juices that he had. As a quarterback, he's a guy I would have loved to play with.
SI.com:Would guys in your era have ever Tweeted during a game?
Jaworski:None (laughs). They would have been run out of the locker room.
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