Following the news of former Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel's death at the age of 80 on Sunday, many have shared stories and praise for the man he was on and off the field. Among them was legendary head coach Joe Gibbs, who Bugel worked with from 1981-89 and 2004-07.
“Joe had an incredible passion for the game of football," Gibbs said in a statement. "He came to work every day with such great excitement and his players had tremendous respect for him. The strength of our coaching staff on both sides of the ball was a key reason we had so much success. Bugel was such a big part of that and his impact was felt not only by those Redskins’ teams, but truly across the entire League. I will miss his friendship and I will always cherish our late-night arguments putting together the game plan each week. Pat and I will be praying for his wife Brenda, his girls, and their entire family."
A touching message, there was one portion of Gibbs' statement that deserved a little more explaining: the late-night spouts over the game plan.
On the latest Redskins Talk Podcast, former Washington offensive lineman Joe Jacoby, a founding member of the "Hogs" offensive line that dominated for the Redskins, shared insight into what those arguments consisted of.
“He goes, ‘There’s many nights we’re putting the game plan together that Joe and I,’ him and Buges, would be close to fisticuffs because of their disagreement with the gameplan and stuff," Jacoby said when recalling a story Gibbs told him. “Buges did have that passion about the game. How he thought, seen it, how it should play out and relayed that all to coach Gibbs."
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Those moments didn't just happen behind closed doors late at night, either. According to Jacoby, who says he owes his career to Bugel, it was easy to hear the OL coach voicing his opinions on what was happening on the field every Sunday. It was in those moments where one could see just how differently the two Joe's carried themselves at times.
"Joe [Bugel] was fiery and everything on the sidelines, he’d be yelling at Joe [Gibbs] what to run and stuff like that," Jacoby said. “Them on the sidelines, and Coach Gibbs and how stoic he was and not showing his emotions and stuff. Well, Buges was the total opposite.”
Despite their differences, the heated back-and-forths were not a full display of their relationship. The two coaches were great friends who shared a passion for the game like no one else. Bugel was a coach who would do anything to see his players succeed, and Gibbs was the same way. However, they had different personalities, as Gibbs was quieter while Bugel was always ready to add in his two cents.
“I think they both had the same passion, just how they displayed it was a lot different," Jacoby said.
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The tone may have been different, but the passion was always there. That's what made the arguments worth it. Gibbs and Bugel weren't yelling at each other out of spite, but rather as a way to try and get the best out of one another and the team. They have two Super Bowl victories together to show for it.
As for who would have won if those arguments went from "close" to fisticuffs to actual fisticuffs, Jacoby will remain as he did when he was near the arguments during his playing days: impartial.
“I’m going with a draw.”
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