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Has it really been forty years? Four decades ago, something began to grow in the swamps of Virginia. It’s difficult to remember what times were like back then.

Ronald Reagan was president.

People’s phones still had cords attached to them.

There was a war in the Falkland Islands.

Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat.

Robert Jarvik invented the world’s first artificial heart.

And perhaps most importantly – at least to this particular article – The Hogs were born.

All of the pieces were actually together in 1981. But Joe Bugel didn’t utter the infamous phrase that got it all started, until 1982.

Working with his line, a ‘chunky’ bunch, and wanting them to hit the blocking sheds, Buges said:

“Okay, you Hogs, let’s get running down there.”

That’s when The Hogs were officially born. That’s when the real magic began.

Three Little Piggies

Most of the parts of the whole were brand spanking new. Three of the little piggies were in just their second year.

Mark May and Russ Grimm were both drafted out of Pittsburgh in 1981, in the first and third round respectively. May was the 20th overall pick, and came off two straight seasons at Pitt where he hadn’t allowed a single sack.

Washington wanted Grimm so badly, that they traded the 1982 first and second round picks to get him.

The biggest of the three little piggies, was just some walk-on named Joe Jacoby.

He had played for Louisville, but went undrafted. So it is also just a shade more than forty years ago, that Jacoby and Joe Gibbs had what has now become a shining moment in Washington football lore.

Jacoby walked into Gibbs’ office and impressed him enough to get a kick at the can. But Gibbs thought Jacoby was a defensive tackle, and would not have even given Big Jake the opportunity had he known he was an offensive lineman.

Other Piggies

The rest of what would become the cast and crew were already in Washington.

Jeff Bostic had come over from the Philadelphia Eagles in 1980. He was signed as a long snapper and had been playing at guard in Philly. However, Charley Casserly had seen Bostic in college and thought him a better center. So when Bostic came to Washington, he was given the opportunity to earn the starting center job. By the end of the 1981 training camp, Bostic had done just that.

Tight End Don Warren had been drafted in the fourth round in 1979, so it was only his third pro training camp.

Doc Walker had come over from the Cincinnati Bengals in 1980, so it was just his second camp in D.C.

What must all those little piggies have looked like, to the big piggy that was already there?

George Starke had been drafted a full decade before the 1981 training camp. He was a grizzled veteran by that time, who had clawed his way into an NFL line-up, and forged a long career at tackle. The man who would soon become known as the Head Hog, must have felt like the big brother who was expected to look after his younger, less refined siblings.

Of course, that responsibility also fell into the hands of the Boss Hog. Buges was not only the offensive line coach, but the assistant head coach. Categorically he was Gibbs’ right-hand man. Bugel was one of the most revered line coaches in football history.

But surely even he must have thought that he had some work ahead of him, with so much fresh pork in the sty.


Eighteen Piggies

There were EIGHTEEN offensive linemen at training camp in 1981.

Joe Gibbs was apparently not too happy with Bugel about sneaking Jacoby into a spot. There were so many linemen to work into drills. It’s even said that Gibbs thought about getting rid of Jacoby early on.

It’s hard to imagine how differently this entire tale would have shaken out, if the biggest piggie of all was not involved. Just how different would Washington’s fortunes had been, were it not for that hiccup?

Nevertheless, it came to pass.

And forty years ago, some of the greatest players that the Washington franchise has ever seen, took the field in the burgundy and gold and began an epic journey.

A journey filled with success and trophies.

The Hogs were like no others.

It’s been forty years and yet, their name is still synonymous with both passion and success.

Hail to The Hogs.

Hogs 40th Anniversary

Author’s Note:

I will be posting a #FlashbackFriday about The Hogs, every week during the 2022 season. To both honor the men, and to try and inspire a new generation of Washington fans who know not what they missed. Follow me on Twitter and never miss a moment.

If one of The Hogs happens to read this and would like to drop me a quote or anecdote, I’d love to hear from them. <hint hint!>


You can read even more about The Hogs in my exclusive Hogs Section.

Grimm Gets ‘Bust’ed

Joe Jacoby

RIP Joe Bugel

Categories Posted In | Washington Commanders | Washington History |