Of the three Super Bowl Championships that the Washington Redskins won, the 1982 Championship is my favorite because no one other than the Redskins themselves, expected them to do anything. I believe the Redskins knew they were good. Joe Theisman knew he was a good quarterback and could play. John Riggins knew he was a good tailback who just needed an opportunity and be able to play the right position tailback not fullback. They knew they had a very good offensive line, if not the best in the NFL. They knew they had a good defense, giving up the fewest points in the league in 1982.
But no one else knew, because the Redskins were a collection of players, their main players that other teams had given up on or didn’t bother drafting. Like offensive tackle Joe Jacoby who will be in the Hall of Fame, offensive guard Russ Grimm who’s in the Hall of Fame by the way. Center Jeff Bostic was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles a big rival of the Redskins. So as a Redskin fan myself, it’s great that we took both QB Sonny Jurgenson and Jeff Bostic from the Eagles. And a lot of the other players were holdovers from the George Allen regime, the “Over the Hill Gang”.
People like OT George Starke, defensive tackle Dave Butz, kicker Mark Mosely who was the NFL MVP in 1982. But some of the Redskins key players were drafted after Bobby Beatherd became general manager in 1978 replacing George Allen and drafted some of the players, so the Redskins were starting to regroup in the late 1970s. With players like tight end Don Warren, linebacker Monte Coleman, LB Mell Kauffman, LB Rich Milot, LB Neal Olkewitz who the rest of the NFL probably thought was too small. But started for two Super Bowl Champions in Olkewitz’s case.
The 1982 Redskins were a collection of holdovers, free agents that no one else wanted or drafted and a group of players that were drafted before the Joe Gibbs era. And Joe Gibbs knew that he had a good team with the Hogs on the OL, QB Joe Theisman, TB John Riggins, WR Art Monk, WR Charlie Brown, one of the best defenses in the NFL. Not one of the most talented, but one of the best and that’s different. With defensive end Dexter Manley, DT Darryl Grant, DT Dave Butz, the LBs that I just mentioned. Vernon Dean and hard-hitting Mark Murphy in the secondary.
But the rest of the NFL didn’t know that the Redskins were a good team and nobody else respected them as NFC East Champions or the number one seed in the NFC. Which was perfect because the best time to strike is when your opponents aren’t ready for you. And the way to earn your respect is by winning, winning playoff games and winning championships. Which is exactly what the Redskins did in 1982, take out their disrespect against their opponents.
That’s what made the 1982 Redskins so special and I believe are still the best Redskins Super Bowl Champion. They were a collection of very good players that most people never heard of, all put into one championship package. Led by Joe Gibbs and his coaching staff the 1982 Redskins were so good that they could take it to the best defense in the NFL if you look at their talent in the Dallas Cowboys with their Doomsday Flex Defense. That probably had the best defensive line in the NFL with DE Ed Jones, the best DT in the NFL in Randy White, arguably the best DT of all-time, and DE Harvey Martin.
The Redskins ran the ball down the Cowboys Flex Defense throat with John Riggins and the Hogs and they ran it down Randy White’s throat with OG Russ Grimm smashing and blowing Randy White out-of-the-way play after play and it was great. That’s how good the 1982 Redskins were and I’m not sure a lot of people understand that.
Real World 51: Redskins Magic