By John Turney
In his first season with the San Diego Chargers (1972), early in the season, Deacon Jones wore his first name (nickname actually) on his nameplate. It was against the NFL uniform rules and the Chargers were told to change it. It was cool-looking for a while.
|Ray Jones, First Initial in Back|
|Deacon Jones, First Initial in Front|
Here is a 1972 anomaly, Dave Costa going out on the field with no name on back. With Bob Babich with his normal last name on back and just ahead of him is Deacon Jones with his first name on back, this game has to be the only one with that trio of NOBs ever—assuming it was the only game Costa played sans a nameplate.
In the preseason of 1973, Deacon Jones became "Jones, D" sans the period.
But in the regular season however, it returned to "D. Jones"
Uniwatch.com has noted the Chargers went to the first initial in back for a time in the mid-1970s
However, in 1977 with Joe Washington joining the club they stacked the names on back for him and Rush Washington. We can only guess it was because of the length of the name "Washington" but we don't know that for certain. Joe Washington's NOB is a tight fit, but Big Rue's broad shoulders give plenty of room.
Eventually, the Chargers went to the first initial in front but Billy Ray Smith got the privilege of getting his middle initial in front as well—