Another day, another anniversary, this time it is a major one in Redskins history. Twenty years ago tonight, QB Joe Theismann’s (nee Theezman) career ended on the turf at RFK Stadium when Giants LB Lawrence Taylor broke his leg in two places. Theismann’s brutal injury is one of the memorable in the annals of pro football. He was wheeled off the field to a roaring RFK ovation.
Len Shapiro has an excellent article in today’s Post about the injury, but what is left unsaid is the reaction in Washington. Nothing illustrates how big the Redskins were in this town more than this particular moment in time. If you think the Redskins hype is too much now, it cannot hold a candle to what it was back in the 1980s when for all intents and purposes, the Skins were the only game in town. Back then, the hype was generated by the media, not by the team like it is now, and the public ate it up and asked for more. For days afterward Theismann was the lead story on every newscast with broadcasts live from his hospital bed. It was probably the biggest story of 1985 in Washington.
Theismann says the injury changed his whole outlook on life. He says, presumably with a straight face, that before he was “all about Joe Theismann.” His “me, me, me” attitude probably kept him from ever being loved by Redskins fans and possibly even his teammates. I have yet to hear one former Redskin ever say anything nice about him because he is barely talked about at all. Despite the lack of affection, Theismann was a leader and competitor who had the respect of his teammates and fans.
Retconned from Metroblogging DC