There are any number of ways to contrast the NFL of a generation ago from today’s game—the size of the players, the money they make and the media’s breathless year-round saturation coverage...
But there may be no more revealing a data point, particularly to those who follow the Washington Redskins, than the legendary 5 O’Clock Club.
During the early 1980’s, members of the Redskins’ famous “hogs” offensive line and select others, including Hall of Fame members Russ Grimm and John Riggins, would gather after practice in an old equipment shed at Redskins Park to unwind, share camaraderie and throw back a few cold beers.
Thirty years later there is a certain warm innocence that resonates around that story, an endearing (if somewhat naïve) swashbuckling quality and “we’re good enough to get away with it” roguishness.
That is largely because they were good enough. The strong foundation provided by the hogs played a central role in helping head coach Joe Gibbs lead the Redskins on a magical 12-year run, winning three Super Bowls, losing another and laying claim to be mentioned among the NFL’s Mt. Rushmore of dynastic teams.
But there had to be more…didn’t there? Even on a winning team, could having a handful of key players hanging out in a shed after practice drinking beer be considered a good thing..?
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