It’s only fitting that Donnie Jones would make it to his first Super Bowl as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
After all, the veteran punter is an Eagle Scout.
Before he became the best punter in Eagles’ history — averaging a franchise-record 45.4 yards per punt — Jones became an Eagle Scout. He was a member of Troop 278 in Baton Rouge, La., part of the Istrouma Area Council.
Jones earned Scouting’s highest honor June 4, 1998, according to the BSA’s Eagle Scout database.
I checked with the Philadelphia Eagles, and while they weren’t able to grant an interview at this time, a team representative further confirmed that Jones is an Eagle Scout.
Going the distance
Jones, 37, is in his 14th NFL season. He has played for five different NFL teams: Seattle, Miami, St. Louis, Houston and now Philadelphia.
This is his first Super Bowl, meaning he’s finally getting the chance to shine on the biggest stage in sports.
“I look back at the sacrifices I’ve made, different cities I’ve lived in, moving my wife and kids around, countless hours of preparation and practice, and finally it’s all paying off,” Jones told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I couldn’t be happier about the opportunity.”
Like all punters, he’s an underrated part of the team. If you see No. 8 leave the sidelines to punt or serve as holder for field goal tries, it’s because the Eagles’ offense has sputtered.
Even in an often-overlooked role, Jones has impressed. His goal is to pin the opponents deep inside their own half of the field. When he succeeds, the other team has to traverse more of the field to score.
In the playoffs so far, Jones has done just that. Five of his six punts have been downed inside the 20.
Already a champion
A Super Bowl win on Sunday wouldn’t be Jones’ first major football title.
As punter for Louisiana State University, Jones won the 2003 college football championship game. He was a critical part of that game’s final play when, with nine seconds remaining and a 21-14 lead over Oklahoma, Jones took the snap and prepared to punt the ball.
OU thought its best chance to win was to block the punt, so the team devoted all its players to that effort. Once that failed, the Sooners couldn’t stop the final seconds from ticking off the clock as Jones’ punt rolled down the field.
Jones watched his punt roll down the field as the game ended.
That final play, seen below, inspired Jones to write a book, Nine Seconds to a Championship.
Other Eagle Scouts with Super Bowl ties
Jones was the only Eagle Scout we found on either Super Bowl LII roster. (If you know of one we missed, leave a comment below and we’ll check it out.)
See a list of other Eagle Scouts with Super Bowl ties here.
Hat tip: Thanks to the BSA’s Ryan Larson and Scott Olson for the research help.
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