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Why you still love Bugel and the Hogs



I've always been a sucker for nostalgia, so I'll keep beating this Joe Bugel drum for another day. As Jamie Mottram noted while discussing the glory years, Bugel "was probably the organization's last true connection to that era, and it's not getting any easier to say goodbye."

A massive part of the nostalgia, of course, is because the Redskins were winning like crazy back when Bugel was Boss Hog and most of my readers were young and impressionable. But I'll bet you'd be nostalgic over those years even if the team had stunk, simply for that reason: you were young and impressionable. I had a ball reading old Fred Smerlas stories in regards to Jim Haslett this week, even though the Bills of my early youth were as imposing as a pudding cup. But it was my dang youth, and everything was awesome back then.

And thus, here's Jeff Bostic, on Mike Wise's show Wednesday, talking about the Hogs' first Super Bowl year.

"We started off 2-0, and then we were on strike for almost 60 days," Bostic recalled. "But we stayed together during this, because you know, birds of a feather flock together. We were all broke. I mean, Jacoby, Grimm, myself, we were all broke. You want me to tell you the salaries of our offensive line that won the Super Bowl in '82? Now understand, 50 percent of the pay was cut because we were on strike for 67 days. Jacoby was making $46,000. Grimm was making $55,000. I was making $50,000. Mark May was making $60,000, and I think George Starke was making $110 [thousand]. Now, that's what the new guys are getting paid per snap. This is what they get for offseason training. It's amazing what happens in the building now. Wonder which team won more."

Is it ridiculous to suggest that the current Redskins would win more games if they got paid blogger rates? Sure it is. Peyton Manning isn't exactly hurting for cash. But it's awesome, anyhow.

(Speaking of such issues, Skins aren't raising general admission ticket prices for the fifth year in a row. That's something, anyhow. Would help the 1982 offensive linemen of the world.)

Bugel kept flashing his Super Bowl ring at the crowd on Wednesday; I asked George Starke for an explanation.

"You've got to remind people what it's all about," Starke told me. "Because today, guys make a lot of money, and so if it's just about the money--which it is, for some guys--you're not gonna be a good team. It's about the ring. To do that, you have to play at a different level. It's not just about the money. That's what he was saying...."

"I mean, we were a close group," Starke continued. "It's not like that today. Guys are separate today. Which is why I think it's difficult to put together a good team today, because guys are all over the place. We actually hung out together."

I guess the 2007 Patriots were sort of a good team, regardless of whether they hung out together, but whatever. I get his point. The Hogs had a presence, and their lovability level was off the chart, and 30 years later, they still have a presence and they're still lovable. And as fans, or observers, we sort of want to revel in those days, because of the winning, and because of the the lack of glitz, and because we were kids without jobs and mortgages back then. Same goes for chocolate milk. Same goes for NFC East talk.

"I can still hear hear the fans at RFK chanting We Want Dallas," Bostic told Wise. "Dallas was taking care of their business on the other side, and the stars aligned. And Dallas thought they were God's gift to football, and thought the NFC East was theirs, and world championships only came to Texas. And we came out and did a number on them in the NFC Championship Game.

"People probably would like to see football like you saw the Arizona-Green Bay [playoff] game, which is not really football," Starke said. "That's kind of silliness, because there's no defense. You know, there's no running. If you want to win in the NFC East, that's how you've got to play. You've got to be able to run the ball. A team like Arizona wouldn't make it in the NFC East."

Is this really true? Philadelphia hasn't been a running team for ages. You hear talk about the cold weather in NFC East cities, but D.C. is hardly cold compared to Buffalo or Cincinnati or Cleveland or Pittsburgh or Green Bay or any number of non-NFC East teams. Dallas isn't cold at all. And you only have six divisional games, in any case. Do you need to still play smashmouth football to win in the NFC East? Eh, who cares, because it's too much fun to hear Bugel say things like this.

"I'll tell you what, when you talk about the NFC East, this is blue-collar territory," he said on Wednesday. "Like I tell them, when you're flying to Philadelphia or New York, you're flying over prisons, you're flying over tough neighborhoods--people want to see tough football. Redskins, Giants, Cowboys, Eagles, those are tough opponents. This team was built to play blue-collar football, to line up and knock you back off the football. Baltimore is that right now. This part of the country [likes] a certain kind of football."

And things like this: "We tried our dead-level best, believe me. We laid it on the line. Nobody surrendered."

And things like this: "We have guys in here that can knock you back off the football over and over and over. You don't have to throw the ball. Right now, in this division, you have to have tough guys. It's blue-collar, knock the snot right out of your head--that's the type of football player you have to have here."

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 14, 2010; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

Not to knock Bostic's story, and while it's crazy how little pro athletes got paid back in the day, you have to also adjust for inflation. None of those guys were making less than $100K a year in 1982, when you adjust for inflation. So how broke could they really have been for just two months?

But I get the point...Many of today's players make upwards of 100x what these guys made. Same with the other professional leagues. Wonder what the reason is. TV?

Posted by: Barno1 | January 14, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Hmm...I think if you had half your annual wages cut (these guys get paid during the season only) you'd be pretty broke. Oh I know, if you make more money you're better at saving it right? Maybe you are, maybe you're not.

Posted by: CByrd1 | January 14, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Actually Barno, Salaried wages have not been increasing with inflation since 1982, everything else has by not wages.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 14, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

FYI if you add up what all these guys made and double it for what a full season would have been you still could get them all paid for less than Rock Cartwright's salary.

For the record I do think Athletes get paid too much to play a game.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 14, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

As much as I love Bugel and the Hogs, I think it is good that he is leaving. For the past 6 years or so the Skins have needed to upgrade their offensive line personnel to have two deep at each position. In that time they did not draft anyone of note, and now you see the results. Bugel relied on the older guys too much, and each year he talked about how much he liked the guys he had.

However each year, around mid season, his favored guys would get injured and the guys who stepped in were not in the same class, so we lost games when it counted. No quarterback can be good when he is throwing from the prone position, flat on his back.

There is no way to know what was said behind the scenes, but he should have been waving the red flag to management, so that he could get new blood.

I think with a new set of eyes and ears, with no sense of loyalty to the existing players, I am hoping that the rebuilding can start. It will take several years to put together a first class offensive line, and the Skins will not be a consistent playoff contender until they do.

Posted by: mandelm2001 | January 14, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

As much as I loved the Hogs, older players always talk about how little they made and how today's players aren't as hungry as they are. I bet if you go back to 1982, players like Ron McDole, Chris Hanburger, Mike Bass, and other members of the "Over The Hill Gang" were talking about how good the 82 Skins had it.

Posted by: nicefellow31 | January 14, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

As much as I love Bugel and the Hogs, I think it is good that he is leaving. For the past 6 years or so the Skins have needed to upgrade their offensive line personnel to have two deep at each position. In that time they did not draft anyone of note, and now you see the results. Bugel relied on the older guys too much, and each year he talked about how much he liked the guys he had.

However each year, around mid season, his favored guys would get injured and the guys who stepped in were not in the same class, so we lost games when it counted. No quarterback can be good when he is throwing from the prone position, flat on his back.

There is no way to know what was said behind the scenes, but he should have been waving the red flag to management, so that he could get new blood.

I think with a new set of eyes and ears, with no sense of loyalty to the existing players, I am hoping that the rebuilding can start. It will take several years to put together a first class offensive line, and the Skins will not be a consistent playoff contender until they do.

Posted by: mandelm2001 | January 14, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Last I looked Joe Bugel didn't draft players. He just did an amazing job with the scraps he was tossed.

Posted by: rjohnson66 | January 14, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"'That's kind of silliness, because there's no defense. You know, there's no running. If you want to win in the NFC East, that's how you've got to play. You've got to be able to run the ball. A team like Arizona wouldn't make it in the NFC East.'

Is this really true?"


Well, seeing as how Arizona in fact DIDN'T make it in the NFC East, it's an easy argument to make.

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | January 15, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

DAN:

Excellent to see the Hogs Poster alive and well. After they won the Superbowl, my father conceived and produced the Hogs poster from start to finish.

My younger brother and I (we were 15 and 12) and were there that afternoon with him in the pig farm you see here. It was (then) Northern Virginia farm country.

Five minutes into the shoot, we discovered the tuxedo guy forgot half the bowties, so we improvised as best we could. Doc Walker immediately took the seat; we and the others waited for the 800lb hog to cooperate and the picture was made. That year, it appeared in SI and Life Magazine as pictures of the year.

I forwarded the photo to my dad this morning, who's still in Washington. What a day that was for a young boy. My brother and I will never forget it.

Thanks for pulling it up.

-K. Reed

Posted by: kenreed1 | January 15, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey Bostic, I'll gladly take your $50,000 salary... and that's in today's dollars.

Don't cry too hard, big fella. Wouldn't want to damage your Mercedes' leather trim.

I don't begrudge rich people, but the whining is too much. I'm sorry.

Posted by: drischord | January 18, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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