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Hail To The Redskins For Life: Opinion: Phillip Hughes: Lets Get Redskins Legend Joe Jacoby in The Pro Football Hall of Fame
If you look at the Redskins of the 1980s and early 1990s, great teams with their share of great players, but not teams that had Hall of Fame players at every position. These were really good, if not great teams, that won three Super Bowls and four Conference Championships and played in five Conference Final’s, from 1982-91. You have to have great players to do that and the Redskins did in their leadership. But similar to the Green Bay Packers of the 1960s, Miami Dolphins of the 1970s, New England Patriots of the 2000s, they had some great players, but with a lot of very good players behind their stars. And great coaches on both sides of the ball.
Offensive tackle Joe Jacoby, was one of the Redskins great players. If you look at how the Redskins dominated the 1982 NFC Playoffs and then won that Super Bowl and manhandled the Dolphins up front on both sides of the ball, especially in the second half, Joe Jacoby, was dominating in that game and leading those charges. But go to the NFC Championship, before the Super Bowl and how the Redskins OL dominated Ed Jones and Randy White and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys defensive line, Big Jac, was consistently clearing his man out-of-the-way. And he and offensive guard Russ Grimm, who is already in the Hall of Fame, were leading those charges in that game. John Riggins and The Hogs, ran the ball down the throat of the Cowboys defense in that game.
Go to Super Bowl 22 against the Denver Broncos, again Timmy Smith, great game running the ball and Doug Williams with a career game throwing the ball. But the Broncos defense in a lot of those plays were barely in the picture, because Big Jac and The Hogs were consistently clearing them out-of-the-way. And opening up huge holes for Tim Smith and giving Doug Williams, five minutes each play to decide who to throw the ball to. And the 1991 Hogs, might be the Redskins best offensive line of all-time. I mean, when you’re towards the top of the league in scoring, passing and running and your quarterback is only sacked eight times all year, its hard to argue with that. Joe Jacoby, now playing guard for the Redskins next to Jim Lachey, was a big part of that as well.
Joe Jacoby, is one of the leaders of a team that wins two Super Bowls and three conference championships in the 1980s and is on the 1980s NFL All Decade team and plays in four Pro Bowls and arguably the anchor of the best offensive line of at least the 1980s. If that is not evidence that this great big offensive tackle, one of the first great big OT in the NFL, should be in the Hall of Fame, then a lot of great o-lineman, who are already in the Hall of Fame, perhaps shouldn’t be there. The Hall of Fame, was late on Art Monk, perhaps one of the top five all around receivers of all-time. They were late on Russ Grimm, perhaps the best guard of his era, who could also play tackle and center. They’re even later on Joe Jacoby, but his time will come, if not next year, certainly soon after that. Too great of a player to leave out.
I guess from the outside looking in, Kezar Stadium was a very attractive football stadium. With pretty sight lines, in a great part of San Francisco, with a pretty field. Not much different from lets say L.A. Memorial Coliseum, or perhaps Rose Bowl Stadium, but a little more than half the size of both of those historic stadiums. But RFK Stadium in Washington, has a great field, fans are on top of the action, with good sight lines, at least for football, but it looks like underground parking lot, once you go back to the concession stands and move away from the field. Kezar Stadium, not football palace, but certainly a stadium with a lot of character.
In the 1950s, the 49ers became winners and contenders at Kezar. Y.A. Tittle, perhaps one of the top ten quarterbacks of all-time, whose in the Hall of Fame, played for the 49ers at Kezar, not Candlestick Park. He was part of the 49ers Million Dollar Backfield. Tittle, along with running backs Joe Perry, Hugh McElhenny, and John Johnson. And RC Owens, great 49ers receiver, was also part of these very good 49er teams. That never seemed to be able to top the Chicago Bears, or Colts in the Western Conference to get to the NFL Championship. Dirty Harry, with Clint Eastwood, did a scene at Kezar.
Kezar Stadium, certainly not a football palace and the 49ers in the early 1970s certainly needed a better football stadium. To have the resources to contend in the NFL in the 1970s and beyond. Kezar, was certainly not Chicago’s Soldier Field, or Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, or even Los Angeles’s Memorial Coliseum, but it was a stadium with a lot of character. It was a true football stadium and not a cookie cutter that was made for both football and baseball in the 1970s. And had San Francisco and the 49ers bothered to renovate the stadium and invest in it, maybe the 49ers are still playing there today. And the Giants, are still playing at Candlestick Park when it was beautiful.
I have mixed feelings about Candlestick Park. Even as someone who has actually never been there. But heard a lot of things about the park both good and bad from people who are much familiar with it than me. As well as seeing a lot of NFL and MLB games played there on TV.
The good aspects about it I think are fairly clear. If you look at the original design of the park from 1960, when the San Francisco Giants moved in for baseball, it is a pretty attractive ballpark and it was baseball only, as far as sports. I’m thinking had the 49ers not have moved in there as well and they kept up with the maintenance of the park, perhaps put up a wall beyond the bleachers in the outfield to keep the wind out played more day games, this would’ve been a beautiful classic ballpark, that perhaps is still in business today like Dodger Stadium.
The 49ers moving into this park and expanding the capacity to over seventy-thousand seats, including 63-64 thousand for baseball, which is way too big because of all the nosebleed seats in the upper deck, as well as all of those cold even in the summer San Francisco night games, really ruined what once was a beautiful ballpark. But despite all the flaws of this stadium, this was one of the better stadiums both in the MLB and NFL as far as fan atmosphere and attendance. This was a very loud outdoor stadium for both football and baseball and the fans seemed to like it. At least when their teams were good. This was a great home field advantage for the 49ers. Who’ve had most of their success at Candlestick. With all of those Super Bowl championships and big regular season and playoff games there.
I’m thinking had, the 49ers just of stayed at Kezar Stadium, which was beautiful and football only. Sort of like the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, but about half the size, but renovated it made it up to date for the 1970s with skyboxes and everything else and Candlestick never became a multipurpose stadium, the Giants might still be at Candlestick and the 49ers might still be at Kezar today. Both clubs playing in two of the best looking stadiums in both MLB and the NFL. But no, one of the key terms of the 1970s is cookie cutter. Multipurpose artificial stadiums was the trend in the 1970s. And San Francisco went the same route. Even though all they had to do was renovate Kezar and keep up on the maintenance of both Kezar and Candlestick. Instead of making Candlestick look like a big hole, or dump that got made fun of.
A very interesting matchup of two pretty different, but pretty good teams in the 82 Falcons and Vikings. The Falcons of the late 1970s and early 1980s, were a power running football team. With a strong offensive line and very good running backs in William Andrews and Lynn Cain and added Gerald Riggs in 1982. That had a good strong-arm quarterback in Steve Bartkowski. Who could go deep to wide receivers Alfred Jackson and Alfred Jenkins. And on defense, they had what was called the Grits Blitz. Very similar to the Chicago Bears 46. But they did it out of a 3-4, but like the Bears would rush and blitz everyone on their defense.
The Vikings, no longer had their dominant Purple People Eater Defense. But they were solid on defense and still had a very good offense. That was now led by quarterback Tommy Kramer instead of Fran Tarkenton. That would throw the ball a lot and throw the ball to everyone with their possession passing Spread Offense. And then could run Ted Brown, Tony Galbreath and Darin Nelson out of the backfield. So this was a matchup of a power football team in the Falcons on both offense and defense. Against a more finesse but tough Vikings team, that could beat anyone in the NFL.
I think at least and I bet a lot of Vikings and Bears fan agree with this, but I believe this is one of the most under appreciated rivalries in the NFL. It is not the Bears-Packers rivalry, or the Vikings-Packers rivalry, but it is at least as good the Packers-Lions rivalry, which use to be a very good rivalry at least. I don’t know if there are two better teams that better represent the old NFC Central, or as ESPN’s Chris Berman called it the NFC Norris Division, play better than the Vikings and Bears. Both teams, are traditionally tough and physical on defense and come right at you on offense. And both teams love to play in cold weather and won a lot of big games in cold weather.
The 1985 Vikings, were a lot different from the traditional Vikings teams that we saw in the 1960s and 70s and the late 1980s. They no longer had the great defense or running game that they could count on. They were a pass first and almost pass all the time team. And the running game they got was from their passing game. And defenses having to respect their passing game a lot. Tommy Kramer, was a very good if not a Pro Bowl quarterback, but not the type of quarterback that could put his team on his back and lead them to championships on his own. He needed a good running game and defense to play their part as well. And the Vikings from 1983-86, missed the NFC Playoffs four straight seasons. Which never happened again until the 2000s. The Vikings missing the playoffs at least four straight seasons. And a big part of that was they no longer had that great defense and running game to complement their powerful passing game.
Teams like the 85 Vikings, played into the Bears 46 Defense perfectly. The Bears were always going after the quarterback with their defensive line and blitzes. And probably blitzed 90% of the time. And if they didn’t have a running game to have to worry about and giving up a big running play on a blitz, it meant they could blitz all the time and attack the quarterback every single play. Remember, the 85 Bears were 18-1 including playoffs and Super Bowl. The only team that beat them in 85 were the Dan Marino Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins had Dan Marino, but they also had a very good offensive line, that could pick up their own man and pick up blitzers on the same play. And they also had 4-5 really good and quick receivers. And could spread the Bears out on defense. And had enough of a running game to keep defenses honest. The Vikings, weren’t that good of a football team.
Going into this game, it is no wonder why CBS Sports had their top broadcast duo of Pat Summerall and John Madden call this game. Great matchup at least on paper with perhaps the two best teams in the NFC in 1985. The history of the two great franchises and the members of both clubs that worked with the other team, or was from Chicago or Texas, or played there. Like Mike Ditka, who was a long time assistant coach under Tom Landry in Dallas. And then of course of how dominant the Bears were in 85, 10-0 at this point going up against a Cowboys team that was still very good, at least as far as talent. That dominated the NFC and NFL in the 1970s and was still one of the better teams in the league at this point.
But when you don’t protect your quarterback, you don’t protect your punter and get punts blocked and turn the ball over the way the Cowboys did in the second quarter that led to 17 points and 24-0 halftime Bears lead, horrible things happen to you. The student’s teams beat the hell out of the teacher’s team in this game. The Bears played on completely taking your offense out of the game. And beating the hell out of your quarterback and runners with their 46 Defense. That dared teams to throw deep against them. And if your receivers didn’t get open quickly and your quarterback didn’t get rid of the ball quickly, horrible things happened to you. Huge sacks and turnovers. That Bears the offense could score from and many times that season the Bears defense did the scoring.
It was already pretty clear that Cowboys at this point in the 1980s had started stagnating, if not in decline. With the San Francisco 49ers, Redskins, Bears and New York Giants already taking steps up to becoming the new powers in the NFC. And they all had great games against each other in that decade. But this 44-0 ass kicking by the Bears in 1985 was sort of that tipping point and perhaps final nail. That the Cowboys not only were not the main power in the NFC, but several teams had passed them. And the Cowboys were no longer a team that was expected to go to the Super Bowl or even NFC Championship. But a team that making the NFC Playoffs, or winning the NFC East was a good year for them. When in the 1970s and early eighties that was expected of them.
A great week 15 matchup even though it was an inter-conference matchup between the Bears and Jets. The Bears were 15-1 in the 1985 regular season and the Jets were 11-5. The Jets, Los Angeles Raiders and perhaps the Cleveland Browns were the top three underachievers of the NFL in the 1980s, at least in the AFC. You could argue that even though the Bears won Super Bowl 20 and won an NFC Championship and played in three NFC Finals in the 1980s, they or the Raiders were the biggest underachievers of that decade.
Because as dominate as the Raiders were in 1985 they almost looked mediocre at least in comparison for the rest of that decade. The Raiders won two Supers Bowls in the 1980s. But continued to have great talent throughout that decade and yet were barely a playoff team after they won Super Bowl 18 in 84. But the Jets were just as good talent wise as the Raiders and Bears on both offense and defense from 81-82, until 86. And only played in one conference championship. When they lost to an inferior Miami Dolphins team in 1982. This was a great matchup on paper, but a battle of underachievers, in the Bears-Jets.