Jason “Coffee” Jones, a former Arena Football League player and broadcaster, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at the age of 41. The cause of death has not been officially announced, but some sources have speculated that it was related to a heart condition. Jones was a beloved figure in the AFL community, as well as a devoted father and friend to many.
A Passionate Player and Advocate for the AFL
Jones was born on September 4, 1981, in South Central Los Angeles. He played college football at Idaho, where he was a two-way lineman. He joined the AFL in 2007 and played for five different teams, including the Philadelphia Soul, the Arizona Rattlers, and the Orlando Predators. He appeared in two ArenaBowls (XXVI and XXVII) and was known for his size, strength, and charisma on the field.
Jones was also a passionate advocate for the AFL, which folded in 2019 after 32 years of operation. He was involved in various efforts to revive the league and promote the game to new audiences. He was close with former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, who owned a stake in the Soul and helped bring the team back to the AFL in 2011. Jones served as Jaworski’s business manager since 2020.
A Talented Broadcaster and Analyst for Multiple Sports
After his playing career ended, Jones transitioned into a broadcasting career that spanned multiple sports and levels. He was an analyst for the Ivy League on ESPN, covering football games for the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton. He also called games for BFA Sports, a local broadcasting company that covered high school and college sports in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Jones was most notably the announcer and color analyst for the Atlantic City Blackjacks, an AFL expansion team that played its only season in 2019. He called games on 97.3 ESPN alongside Nick Kosko, who praised Jones as a perfect broadcast partner and a tremendous ambassador for arena football.
Jones also had a knack for covering basketball, especially Camden High School’s powerhouse program. He called several games for the Panthers, including their historic win over Roselle Catholic in 2020 that ended their 20-year state title drought.
A Devoted Father and Friend to Many
Jones was more than just a football player and broadcaster. He was also a devoted father to his son, Jason Jr., who he often brought to games and events. He was also a loyal friend to many people in the sports world and beyond. He was known for his warm personality, infectious smile, and generous spirit.
Many of his friends and colleagues expressed their condolences and tributes on social media following his death. Jaworski said that Jones’ impact on his life and “the lives of those around you will never be forgotten.” Kosko said that Jones “was like family to us and we are gonna miss him terribly.” Doug Stasuk, the president of BFA Sports, said that his “heart aches” and his “mind is numb” over losing Jones.
Jones’ death is a huge loss for the AFL community and the South Jersey sports scene. He will be remembered as a passionate player, a talented broadcaster, and a loving father and friend.