Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel celebrated his 76th birthday on Thursday.
Now, I'm not sure about you, but this occasion shouldn't pass without at least some recognition for what Bugel created, the most popular nickname for a group of players that has transcended time and remained part of today's lexicon.
"The Hogs" started as a group of offensive linemen and then became something of a mindset, the ideal to which every other mix of linemen in the Redskins' future would aspire to.
A quick history lesson on how The Hogs were named.
"It was a really hot day in Carlisle, [Penn.], everybody was soaking wet," Bugel told Mike Richman in 2013 about the nickname's origins. "Joe [Gibbs] said [for] everybody to get to their areas so I said, 'Ok you hogs, let's go.' Well it caught on fire. Everyone started calling them hogs. The best thing about that is when you get a nickname, there's no jealousy on a football team. So the guys loved it
"They are short guys with big bellies," Bugel said. "I started to say to the whole line at practice, 'Okay you hogs, let's go down in the bullpen and hit those sleds.' Some guys might have resented it, but these guys loved it."
It is later described that Bugel bought his O-linemen shirts, white, burgundy and gold pullovers with the image of a fierce pig in between goal posts. Each of them had to wear the shirt every week, and if they forgot, they were fined five dollars.
"Don Laster (a rookie tackle) wanted to buy a shirt but we wouldn't sell him one," Bugel said. "This is an exclusive group. You only get in on a majority vote. Riggo wanted in since this summer but they are tough. They kept saying no but on Monday, at the team meeting, we gave him a shirt. He stood up and put it on immediately and the whole place went wild."
Back to his Richman interview:
"I called them in and said hey, if you have a nickname, you've got to back it up, because every team that comes in here is going to try to knock our helmets off. And I'll tell you, they got better and better and better. To this day they're notorious. They're probably the most popular offensive line to ever play in the NFL."