Russ Grimm and the Hogs of lore paved the way for Washington Redskins greatness
Saturday, August 7, 2010; 11:57 PM
Imagine in today's techno-obsessed NFL, where microchip-implanted footballs are now being considered to ensure down and distance, if a group of men walked purposefully to the line of scrimmage with nothing but their sneers. Then, instead of a false snap count or some other subterfuge to throw off the defense, they told the men across the line what play they were going to run.
And they ran that play, over and over, a virtual Groundhog Day, nine or 11 straight times, depending which former player has the best memory - in a game as inconsequential as, oh, the NFC championship.
With journeys to Canton, Ohio, being chronicled, with bronzed busts being unveiled at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, that kill-the-clock drive that crumbled the Cowboys' morale should be remembered as the real beginning, when Russ Grimm and his Washington Redskins teammates bumped helmets and moved masses of angry, physical men, who finally no longer wanted to push back.
"We're getting ready to ice the game," Joe Theismann remembered that day against Dallas at RFK Stadium, Jan. 22, 1983. "We're linin' up. And Russ and Randy White [the Cowboys' Hall of Fame defensive tackle] had been at it all day. I mean this is a war. This is a physical, UFC, battle royal.
"So all of a sudden I get in the huddle and I call '60 Outside.' And Russ looks at me and he says, 'No.' "
Which made Theismann do a double-take.
"I said, 'What do you mean no? Joe [Gibbs] wants to run 60 Outside.'
"He says, 'I want to run '50 Gut' right at Randy.'
"Well now I gotta make an executive decision, you know, I'm middle management."
They ran the play Grimm, not Gibbs, wanted. White was run over and the Redskins gained four yards. Theismann looked back toward Joe Gibbs, two weeks before he guided the franchise to their first of three Super Bowls. The coach wanted his play run.
"Joe signals in 60 Outside," Theismann said.