Monday, July 11, 2022


In your fantasy world, Washington Commanders fans — and your fantasy world has got to be much better than the real world you have been sentenced to — would you give up sitting at Ghost Town Field for one Commanders game to instead be sitting in Tom Benson Stadium in Canton watching Joe Jacoby be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Would you give up two games? Three? How about a whole season? Would you give up a whole season of sitting in Ghost Town Field watching Commanders games to instead be watching one of the anchors of the greatest era in franchise history put on maybe the biggest gold jacket they ever had tailored, standing by a bust of his likeness, the face that Randy White and defensive linemen had to stare down when Sundays were a holiday in Washington?

I mean, come on, how much are you going to enjoy one season of this football team, even if they are competitive? How much have you enjoyed the ones you sat through before, even the accidental postseason visits?

Then how much would you enjoy that day in Canton, wearing your Redskins’ No. 66 jersey, wiping the tears from your eyes as the memories washed over you, sitting there with your son or daughter to give them a snapshot of what crumbling RFK Stadium was like in the glory years?

This is a no-brainer, right? It’s like trading Dan Snyder as the owner for … well, anybody.

Too bad reality doesn’t offer those choices. It would be nice for Washington football fans to have a way to make sure their legendary offensive tackle finally gets his due.

Maybe this is the year that at least this one wrong is righted.

We begin another season of the dance of Joe Jacoby and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Last week they announced the 54 seniors, coaches and contributors named as semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. Jacoby, as he has been before, is on the list of eligible seniors.

So is Mike Shanahan, who maybe saw his Hall of Fame chances disappear down the sewer at Ashburn after his four tumultuous seasons as the Redskins’ head coach (are there any other kind of season for Snyder’s team?).

The list of former players up for selection is filled with worthy candidates: running back Roger Craig; cornerback Lester Hayes; receiver and returner Billy “White Shoes” Johnson; quarterback Ken Anderson; linebackers Randy Gradishar, Maxie Baughan, Clay Matthews Jr., Tommy Nobis and Chuck Howley; receivers Otis Taylor, Sterling Sharpe, Mark Clayton and Stanley Morgan; end LaVern Dilweg; offensive linemen Chris Hinton, Bob Kuechenberg; George Kunz, Mike Kenn and Jacoby; defensive linemen Joe Klecko and Jim Marshall; cornerbacks Eddie Meador, Ken Riley and Everson Walls, and two-way player Cecil Isbell.

All fine men. None of them meant as much to their franchises as Joe Jacoby did to the Redskins. None of them were the championship identity of their organization.

The Hogs are just that — the championship identity of the Washington Redskins and their three Super Bowls titles. Quarterbacks, running backs, linebackers, cornerbacks came and went during that time. The core of the Hogs — Jacoby, Russ Grimm and Jeff Bostic — were the constant on the field.

Grimm, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010, was a standout at the position of guard — four-time All-Pro, four Pro Bowls and a member of the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team. Jacoby was a standout at offensive tackle — three-time All-Pro, four Pro Bowls and named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team.

But wait, what am I telling you this for? You already know Jacoby should be in Canton. It’s those Hall of Fame voters who go behind closed doors to argue who knows what that haven’t gotten that yet.

This year may be different. This list will be cut down to 12 senior players by July 27. Then the seniors committee will meet on Aug. 16 to further reduce the list to three senior finalists this year, instead of the one per ballot previously. It doesn’t mean voters will pick all three when the ballots are counted. But they will have the opportunity to vote for more than simply one senior member.

It’s hard to imagine Jacoby not being one of those three senior finalists on this year’s ballot. Then it is time to right the wrong that was done for years when Jacoby was passed over on the modern era ballot.

If that happens, you can go to the Commanders game next season, when Jacoby is presented his ring. Hopefully, the team will spell his name right.

In the real world, the Commanders, in announcing their campaign this season — the 90th anniversary of the franchise — to vote on 10 former players to expand their greatest players list from 80 to 90, misspelled several names, such as Joe Lavender and several others. Whoever makes the case for Jacoby in February should perhaps first read a disclaimer for like the one coach Ron Rivera reads every time another Snyder embarrassment surfaces — hey, don’t blame Joe. He wasn’t there for the diseased years.

No, Joe Jacoby was there for the glory years. He’s a big part of why they were glorious.

Hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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