Redskins had beer drinking shed under Joe Gibbs

Ben Krimmel
December 21, 2018 - 3:33 pm
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Under Joe Gibbs, the Redskins had a clubhouse at the team facility used for drinking and hanging out.

NFL columnist Bob Glauber details the shenanigans of the glory days Redskins in a new book "Guts and Genius: The Story of Three Unlikely Coaches Who Came to Dominate The NFL in the ’80s."

Washington's group, known as the 5 o’clock club, served as a place for players, coaches, and members of the training staff to gather and enjoy a drink and hangout. When Gibbs arrived as Redskins head coach in 1981, regular members included: running back John Riggins, defensive tackle Dave Butz, and several members of The Hogs: Jeff Bostic, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, and Mark May, Glauber writes.

“We had officers and everything,” Jacoby said, per an excerpt published by Deadspin. “I was sergeant at arms. Riggins was ‘El Presidente.’ It wasn’t a democracy, though. We did have some coups.”

This was definetly a different era of the NFL.

The players did their share of drinking in the 5 o'clock club, but Jacoby explains it wasn't only about the beer.

"It was more like a release thing," Jacoby said. "If you had a bad day at practice, you’d come in there and do all your cussing and complaining, and it stayed there. It was a way to get it off your chest and go home. It was almost like a counseling center.”

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However, not every player was allowed to join the tomfoolery that would take place in an old wooden storage shed. 

“One time we hear a knock on the door and Joe Theismann opens the door and we just lambasted him. ‘Go drink some tea or wine,’” Butz said. “We knew he was a wine drinker. If you’re not drinking beer, we didn’t want you and you could not come in.”

Theismann was fine with this: "That was reserved for John (Riggins) and the linemen, and that was fine. I respected that."

"That was their space, and I was fine with it. Our guys could drink," Theismann said.

One player who, rather infamously, liked a drink was Riggins. 

Bostic recounts Riggins asking for a ride for the next morning during a meeting. The center asked why?

“John Boy’s going to be drinking tonight,” Riggins told him. “John Boy doesn’t drink and drive.”

A lesson everyone should take to heart.

(Read the adapted excerpt at Deadspin.)

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