Joe Jacoby deserves his spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but for now he’ll have to wait another year to reach Canton.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday announced the inductees for the Class of 2018, and Jacoby was not among the names called in his 20th year of eligibility. Jacoby will now move to senior nominee status in his pursuit for his rightful place among the best players in NFL history.
The Seniors Committee is comprised of nine members of the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee who consider players whose careers ended at least 25 years ago.
Jacoby embodied some of the Washington Redskins’ greatest years in franchise history. He was big and tough and put the team first, helping the Redskins appear in four Super Bowls over a 10-year span, winning three of their appearances. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that in Washington’s three Super Bowl victories there was a different starting quarterback today.
Despite being undrafted out of Louisville, Jacoby spent a total of 13 seasons with the Redskins, appearing in 170 career regular season games with 148 starts. Additionally, Jacoby played in 21 postseason games, the most in franchise history.
He was named a two-time first-team All-Pro and was selected to four straight Pro Bowls from 1983-86.
For most of his time in Washington, Jacoby was the anchor of the Redskins’ famed “Hogs” offensive line that paved the way for so many memorable moments.
“It was a very special group, a very special time,” Jacoby said. “When you look back on it, it was so special because you see the way things have gone with the Redskins since those years. The players and coaches that went through there – we may not see each other on a day-to-day basis anymore, but when we do get together we re-live some of the great times we had when we were playing.”
Jacoby’s presence on the field helped subdue some of the league’s best pass rushers including division rivals Randy White of the Dallas Cowboys, Reggie White of the Philadelphia Eagles and Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants.
All three were later named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“They used to run what we called an OT counter. They were tough. He would come like a truck hit me,” said Randy White. “Most of the time those big guys were a little soft but Joe was solid as a rock. I’d have to give it everything I could to smash into him. He was one of the greatest to ever play the game.”
Jacoby’s career past his college career looked bleak at first, despite his success at Louisville. He was not among the 332 players selected in the NFL Draft, and when he first arrived in Washington after signing as a college free agent, Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs thought he was better suited to play defense.
“I must have spent 20 minutes telling him about the great chance he had to make the team as a defensive tackle,” Gibbs recalled of a conversation he had in 1981. “He never said a word to me, never corrected me. We already had so many offensive line prospects. I walked out of my office and yelled for Joe Bugel.
“I said, ‘For cripes sake, Joe, why do we need another offensive lineman? You’ve got 18 of them already. We can’t coach that many. If we’ve signed him, can we get out of it?’”
Jacoby, however, would go on to prove he was the right man to anchor the greatest offensive line the NFL has ever seen.
“He was Tony Boselli before Tony Boselli. He was Anthony Munoz before Anthony Munoz. Joe Jacoby deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, he earned the right to be there,” said former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, the 1983 NFL MVP. “And, oh, by the way, just as a little FYI, the night I got hurt, Jake wasn’t on the field. I’m sure I wouldn’t be standing here on a short leg if he was.”