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Joe Jacoby is once again in the hunt for a spot in Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. His “modern” eligibility for induction expired in 2018, but he’s back on the ballot as a “Senior”. Will this finally be the year that this wrong gets righted?

Jacoby is one of 25 semi-finalists in the Senior category. The committee will narrow that number down to 12 by July 27th. By August 16th, that number will be crunched down to the three that will make this year’s Class.

Joe not being in the Hall has been the bane of some Washington fans existence for quite some time. It is hard to imagine what it feels like to Jacoby himself. An original member of “The Hogs” – the inspiration for this website – he is easily the most revered offensive tackle to ever don the burgundy and gold. That puts him ahead of the likes of Chris Samuels, Trent Williams, and even Jim Lachey. All four were great tackles during their tenure. Ask the fans though – and it’s a virtual landslide in Joe’s favor.

To put it simply, The Hogs were the most notorious offensive line in NFL history. Very few other units commanded both the attention and the adoration that The Hogs did. And for good reason. They dominated their opponents for over a decade. Joe was the anchor of that unit for the entire duration.

It Nearly Didn’t Happen

Many-to-most have probably heard the story before, but it bears mentioning regardless. Jacoby was never even drafted.

If it weren’t for a misunderstanding on Joe Gibbs part, his career really might never have happened. A big kid out of Louisville walked into Gibbs’ office in 1981 looking for an opportunity and ultimately got it. But only because Gibbs thought he was a defensive tackle.

Washington had EIGHTEEN offensive linemen at camp that year – including Mark May whom they drafted in the first round to play left tackle.

It has been said that Gibbs would originally be a little sore with the late great Joe Bugel for not correcting Gibbs’ thinking that Joe played on the defensive side. But Buges clearly had a soft spot for Jacoby. He visited him following his senior season at Louisville and gave him a few pointers on what would better his chances. Which Joe took advantage of. He came in to camp in great shape, and having gained some speed.

The rest as they say, was history

What a history it ended up being.

For Washington, 1000-yard rushers and 3000-yard passers were the norm behind The Hogs. Joe could protect the quarterback’s blind-side against the best pass rushers, but he could also lead runs around the right end. Or the left end.

He was big. He was strong.

Look up a picture of the most famous play n Washington history – the Riggo Run in Super Bowl XVII – and guess who’s leading the way? Joe.

In his thirteen seasons in Washington, they won three Super Bowls and won five division titles. He made four straight Pro Bowls, was a two-time All Pro, and was named to the NFL’s 1980’s All-Decade Team.

He was also probably the only player in history that could handle Lawrence Taylor.

L.T.

Taylor might be the greatest football player in the history of the NFL. The linebacker has always had very flattering things to say about Jacoby.

He even said that he had been forced to create a move just for Big Joe. He called it, “Geritol.”

Taylor would try to “look like an old man,” running up to him. The Giants legend couldn’t overwhelm J.J. physically, so he tried to lull him into making a mistake. Taylor would come off the ball “at a trot” to try and lure Jacoby into putting his hands up before he reached him. If Jacoby did, Taylor would try to knock away Jacoby’s hands before he latched on. Said L.T.: “A burst of violence and then I was off to the races.”

But Taylor has frequently stated that nobody handled him one-on-one like Jacoby did. That the lineman always gave him trouble, because “he was so big, and so quick and so long.”

When asked specifically about Jacoby being inducted, L.T. said:

“We had such great battles. For a bigger guy, he was able to move, so although I was more athletic, he could really hold his own. The HOGS were all excellent players, but certainly Joe and Russ were the anchors of that line. To do it, for as long as he did, on such a high level, it’s a surprise to me that he’s not in Canton already.”

What Others Said

Hall of Fame Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs had this to say about Jacoby:

“I really feel in my heart that this guy belongs in the Hall of Fame. He was one of our mainstays in one of the best offensive lines to ever play. Joe went to four Super Bowls. He’s a leader. He meant a lot to our football team. He played one of the hardest positions in football – left tackle – and he played against some of the best people in football. Now I’m hoping that this guy has all the credentials and everything that it takes to be in the Hall of Fame.”

Teammate and friend – and the only Hog in the Hall – Russ Grimm had this to say:

“The man played left tackle in a right-handed stance… unheard of in today’s game, but still had the quickness and strength to dominate the position. Durability, toughness and the heart of a champion. Loved playing beside him, trusted him as a friend and will always be like a brother. He deserves to be in the Hall.”

Former foe, Hall of Famer, and Dallas Cowboy great Randy White said of Jacoby:

“The Redskins had a heck of an offensive line, but Grimm and Jacoby were the anchors. I think Joe should be in the Hall of Fame. If I had a vote, I’d vote for him.”

There are plenty more quotes from former players, but most carry about the same sentiment – he was a great player, and it’s an absolute joke that he isn’t in the Hall already.

Versatility

Not only was Jacoby dominant, he managed to be so from both the left and right tackle positions over his career. He even moved inside to right guard in 1992. Versatile.

When Lachey came over from the Raiders, Joe moved to right tackle. It was odd to see at first, but it was there there that he won his third ring. And what a force they would soon become.

It can bring a grown Redskin fan to tears – Lachey and Jacoby as bookends. Oh how incredible that unit was. The 1991 Washington Redskins Offensive Line was quite probably the greatest offensive line in NFL history.

Mark Rypien barely washed his jersey that year, as he was sacked just seven times.

It’s impossible to quantify with any certainty, but that offensive line takes a backseat to NO offensive line in NFL History.

That should matter to the electors. More than it appears to.

Enough Excuses Already

At 63-years old, it’d be great for Joe to finally be enshrined. Despite all of his NFL successes, it has to eat away at him just a little bit.

He’s more than deserving.

He’s waited too long already.

For some reason, Jacoby seems to be one of the select few who the Hall of Fame committee expect to be the absolute greatest to ever live – to get in. The truth is that there are many offensive linemen already in the Hall who can’t possibly boast of a more formidable career.

Boselli Comparison

Tony Boselli got inducted last year. Great offensive tackle, who starred for the Jacksonville Jaguars for seven years. Well, six years. He only played 3 games in his seventh season.

He had five Pro Bowls, and three All Pro seasons – technically one better than Jacoby in each regard, and in about half the seasons.

Absolutely great player.

Whose team never won a thing. *needle scratches off the turntable*

Absolutely ZERO disrespect intended for Boselli.

He played in six playoff games and managed a respectable 3-3 record. Made an AFC Championship game, but lost to a Drew Bledsoe led Patriots team.

Jacoby played in 21 playoff games. He won 16 of them, and only lost 5.

Jacoby has three Super Bowl wins, and played in a fourth Super Bowl as well.

At some point, shouldn’t the electors for the Hall recognize that playing in meaningful games SHOULD count for more than a few games’ statistics?

The Hook

Jacoby started 148 times for Washington, and played in 170 games total.

From the kid who never even got drafted, to the man that anchored the greatest line in history from virtually the moment he started as a rookie.

It’s the kind of story that you would think the Hall of Fame would want to glorify. From rags to riches and blah blah blah.

Truth is that it’s a bloody good story. About a man who defied the odds and carved out one of the most iconic offensive line careers that has ever been put down.

The time has come to end the charade.

For the love of all that is football.

We beg of you.

Put Joe in the Hall.

 

 

 

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