…when Joe Jacoby is not?
Blame the Super Bowl.
Russ Grimm, left guard of the greatest offensive line in pro football history, is in Canton, Ohio, today for his induction to the NFL Hall Of Fame. He deserves to be there. In fact a Hog should have gone into the Hall when Joe Gibbs and John Riggins went in.
They say Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowls with different quarterbacks as though that’s a big deal. Heck, he won three Super Bowls with different running backs. Gibbs won and lost a Super bowl with John Riggins. (The loss was Super Bowl 18, the only Super Bowl I personally attended. Still traumatized by that.)
But Gibbs always had The Hogs. The Hogs carried the Washington Redskins through the ‘Eighties. The Hogs should be in the Hall, individually and as a group. But why not the left guard of the group?
Joe Jacoby was the left tackle for the Redskin from the 1981 season through the 1993 season. It’s common knowledge that left tackle is the critical spot on the line. Media accounts at the time gave more love to Big Jake than to any other Hog. Even the Redskins call Jacoby the heart of The Hogs. You can look it up yourself on redskins.com right there under the post Joe Jacoby Was The Heart Of ‘The Hogs.’
Why Grimm before Jacoby? Because of the pernicious effect of the Super Bowl on Hall Of Fame voters. Grimm made the more recent Super Bowl appearance as co-head coach of the Arizona Cardinals; Super Bowl 43, when the Steelers and Cardinals drew up a thriller–Pittsburgh 27-23.
Jacoby was last seen in a Super Bowl nearly two decades ago.
Neither players, nor coaches nor general managers make up the college of HOF voters. Votes are cast by sports reporters and media types. You know, mostly guys who are overly influenced by players the public’s heard of.
That makes good business sense, I guess. Football fans will pay to go see the bust of already familiar players you’ve seen on ESPN. They usually aren’t offensive linemen, even when those linemen make key plays that lead to the winning score.
That’s why I’m so glad that Art Monk made the Hall Of Fame last year. Jerry Rice will be inducted to the Hall today. Rice was selected in his first year of eligibility. Rice more than anyone is responsible for Monk’s delayed selection.
Monk retired in 1995 as football’s leading receiver (940 receptions, 68 TDs). When he broke the season reception record (106) on 1985, Monk was always, always, referred to as “future Hall Of Famer Art Monk.”
Rice broke the mold over the course of his career, especially after the league tweaked the rules for passing friendliness in the ‘Nineties. One thousand career receptions, 1,000 yards in a season and Super Bowl appearances became Hall Of Fame benchmarks for wide receivers from then on. And Rice, whose career lasted nine seasons beyond Monk’s, was always, always referred to as a future Hall Of Famer.
Hall voters forgot Monk; or if they remembered, dismissed him as a generic possession receiver of no importance, like offensive linemen. With players like Chris Carter and Andre Reed eligible for the Hall, Monk might never have made it were he not selected in 2008. Monk faded in Rice’s shadow.
So give a cheer for Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Art Monk and all the players whose body of work should give them a leg up for getting into the Hall, but usually doesn’t. Here’s to the Hogs, whose legacy in Washington is now guarded by a group of cross-dressing men with pig noses.
Here’s to the Redskins and their fans. Hail.
Points After: Joe Bugel will introduce Grimm at the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Russ Grimm should have been selected to the Hall on his name alone. “Russ Grimm” sounds like a Marvel Cartoon hero. Only Johnny Blood is a better football name that Russ Grimm.
Grimm’s son, Cody, is a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Russ Grimm played 11 seasons for the Redskins, helped the team to four Super Bowls, was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins and the NFL 1980′s All Decade team. He worked the coaching staffs for the Steelers and Cardinals, but was not once invited to interview for the Redskins head coach job.
Matt Mosley who blogs on the NFC East for ESPN.com wonders about the best Beast players with potential to make the Hall. Joe Jacoby is mentioned.