Lee Roy Jordan (1941- ) was a star a linebacker for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL), despite his relatively small size. Jordan was named an All-American at Alabama in 1963, earned All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1961 and 1962, and was voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the 1963 Orange Bowl. In the NFL, Jordan was selected All-Pro twice and played in five Pro Bowls and three Super Bowls.
Born April 27, 1941, near Excel in Monroe County, Jordan was the fourth of five sons born to Walter and Cleo Jordan. He grew up picking cotton and tending cattle on the family farm. During this formative period, Jordan developed a strong work ethic upon which he would later rely to succeed on the football field. At Excel High School, he played both football and basketball. Late in his junior season, Alabama coaches, impressed with his aggressive style and toughness, began to recruit Jordan. Auburn University offered but later withdrew a scholarship, and so Jordan signed with Alabama.
Jordan arrived on the Alabama campus in 1959. Because freshmen at this time were not eligible to play on the varsity team, Jordan did not begin playing for the Crimson Tide until 1960. During the three years that Jordan played (1960-1962), Alabama lost just two games, posting a record of 29-2-2. He led a defense in 1961 and 1962 that allowed a total of just 25 and 39 points, respectively. The 1961 team went undefeated and was the consensus National Champion. In 1962, Jordan's senior season, Alabama finished 10-1 and was ranked fifth in the nation. Jordan's best performance as a collegian came in the 1963 Orange Bowl, his last game. Playing in front of a crowd that included Pres. John F. Kennedy, Jordan earned MVP honors by making 30 tackles and leading the Tide to a 17-0 victory over the University of Oklahoma. Crimson Tide coach Paul "Bear" Bryant said Jordan was one of the finest players he ever coached.
Jordan was the sixth pick overall in the 1963 NFL draft. The Dallas Cowboys offered Jordan a signing bonus of $17,500 and a new automobile to lure him away from the Boston Patriots of the recently formed American Football League. From 1963 to 1976, Jordan was a key member of the famed "Doomsday Defense" of the Dallas Cowboys, setting a team record of 1,236 career tackles and 154 consecutive starts. He played on teams that won five conference championships, eight divisional championships, and one Super Bowl, a 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI. Jordan earned All-Pro honors twice and selection to five Pro-Bowl teams. He became the seventh Cowboy inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1989.
Upon retiring in 1976, Jordan initially remained in Dallas, where he and his wife Biddie raised their three sons; the couple
was married in 1964. Jordan operates several businesses in the Dallas area, including the Lee Roy Jordan Lumber Company. He
currently resides in Baldwin County near Point Clear, Alabama. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
Scott, Richard. Legends of Alabama Football. Champaign, Ill.: Sports Publishing, 2004.
Taylor, Jean-Jacques. Game of My Life: Dallas Cowboys. Champaign, Ill.: Sports Publishing, 2006.
Herbert J. "Jim" Lewis
Published January 12, 2009
Last updated August 18, 2010