Jack Lambert (football player)

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Jack Lambert
Position (s):
Jersey number (s):
born July 8, 1952 in Mantua , Ohio
Career information
Active : 1974 - 1984
NFL Draft : 1974 / Round: 2 / Pick: 46
College : Kent State University
Career statistics
Tackles     1,479 (1,045 solo)
Sacks     23.5 (unofficial)
Interceptions     28
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com
Career highlights and awards
Pro Football Hall of Fame

John Harold "Jack" Lambert (born July 8, 1952 in Mantua , Ohio , USA ) is a former American football player . He played as a linebacker in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers .

High school / college

Lambert attended Crestwood High School. He played there as a quarterback , later moved to the position of middle linebacker in college , after he had played in the position of a defensive end in the first year at Kent State University . Back in high school, he lost four incisors from his upper jaw in a basketball game to an elbow check. The four missing teeth later became his trademark.

Lambert was a player in the Kent State Golden Flashes, the college football team, which celebrated its greatest success as a player in 1972. Since the team was able to win the Mid-American Conference , the team managed to move into the Tangerine Bowl . There you had to admit defeat to the University of Tampa team with 21:18. In this game, Lambert noticed the NFL scouts , who were supposed to be watching his teammate Gerald Tinker and two opponents.

Profile career

Lambert was drawn in 46th place by the Steelers in the second round of the 1974 draft . Lambert's commitment also met with criticism. With a height of 190 cm and a body weight of 98 kg, he was considered too light and too small for a defender. It turned out that he made up for this alleged shortcoming with speed, agility and tenacity.

1974 brought numerous commitments for the Steelers, which later turned out to be a stroke of luck. In addition to Lambert, the wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth , as well as the center Mike Webster could be committed. Numerous other members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame , such as running back Franco Harris and quarterback Terry Bradshaw , already played for the Pittsburgh team . The Steelers became one of the game-defining teams of the 1970s.

Lambert replaced Henry Davis , who ended his career in 1973 , at the Steelers . Already in his first year the Steelers managed to get into the Super Bowl under coach Chuck Noll , which they could also win 16: 6 against the Minnesota Vikings . Lambert developed in defense alongside Joe Greene to one of the top performers. Since numerous exceptional players and later members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, such as cornerback Mel Blount or linebacker Jack Ham, played in the defense of the Steelers and this was therefore difficult to overcome, the Pittsburgh press gave it the nickname: Steel Curtain (curtain made of steel). Especially in the 1976 season , the defense lived up to its nickname. Due to the failure of Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann due to injuries, four of the first five games in the regular season were lost. The team found itself together without their coach in a meeting in which Lambert asked his teammates to be more willing to perform and demanded that all further games must be won if they wanted to move into the play-offs . The team was then able to put this demand into practice - all nine subsequent games were won. The Steelers' defense allowed only two touchdowns , eight of the 11 regular players were then elected to the Pro Bowl .

The first title in 1974 was followed by further championship wins. The Super Bowl X was won against the Dallas Cowboys with 21:17, who could be defeated again in Super Bowl XIII with 35:31. A year later, in Super Bowl XIV , the Los Angeles Rams were defeated by 31:19.

Lambert had to retire in 1984 due to a toe injury. He was able to achieve 23.5 sacks (the number is unofficial because no statistics were recorded until 1982), including the first sack quarterback John Elway had to endure at the beginning of his career with the Denver Broncos in the first game of the season in 1983 .


Lambert received numerous honors. He is a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team , the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team , the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team and, since 1990, the Pro Football Hall of Fame . He was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1974 and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1976 . He played nine times in the Pro Bowl , the season final game of the best players in a game round. He was voted All-Pro eight times .

In honor of Lambert, the Touchdown Club of Columbus annually awards the Jack Lambert Trophy to the best college football linebacker.


Lambert is married and has four children. He lives in Worthington , Pennsylvania , is a volunteer game warden and trains youngsters in baseball and basketball .

Web links


  • Jens Plassmann: NFL - American Football. The game, the stars, the stories (= Rororo 9445 rororo Sport ). Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-499-19445-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. List of the best-known nicknames in the NFL ( Memento of the original from December 14, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. NFL webpage  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.nfl.com