FIRST OFF, WHAT IS FIFTY GUT?

Well, the term '50 Gut' is a play call. It was when Joe Gibbs and the Redskins deployed a more prehistoric brand of football. There was no RGIII and the read-option. The concept of fooling defensive personnel and trying to beat your opponent to the edge would have been lost on these guys. When the Skins John Riggins in the backfield and the Hogs blocking up front, all these newfangled ideals were unnecessary .

But to be more specific, 50 Gut was a state of mind for the Redskins during those glory years. Their mantra. The essence of the Hogs. It represented the idea that no matter what defenses offered in resistance over the course of the game, the Redskins WOULD move the ball down the field at your expense. Their toughness and resolve to cut through their opponent with this play was undeniable. 

The quintessential example of 50 Gut can be summed up by legendary Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. The former NFL MVP retold one of the most infamous occurrences of that play call to the Washington Post on the day Russ Grimm became the first, and only, member of the Hogs to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  

"We're getting ready to ice the game," Joe Theismann remembered that day against Dallas at RFK Stadium, Jan. 22, 1983. "We're linin' up. And Russ and Randy White [the Cowboys' Hall of Fame defensive tackle] had been at it all day. I mean this is a war. This is a physical, UFC, battle royal.

"So all of a sudden I get in the huddle and I call '60 Outside.' And Russ looks at me and he says, 'No.' "

Which made Theismann do a double-take.

"I said, 'What do you mean no? Joe [Gibbs] wants to run 60 Outside.'

"He says, 'I want to run '50 Gut' right at Randy.'

"Well now I gotta make an executive decision, you know, I'm middle management."

They ran the play Grimm, not Gibbs, wanted. White was run over and the Redskins gained four yards. Theismann looked back toward Joe Gibbs, two weeks before he guided the franchise to their first of three Super Bowls. The coach wanted his play run.

"Joe signals in 60 Outside," Theismann said.

"I step in the huddle. I go, 'Spread right, short motion, 60 Outside.'

"Russ goes: 'Didn't you hear me? No!'

"I said, 'Okay, fine.' We run 50 Gut again."

And White goes to the ground again. First down.

"Next play, I don't even look at the sidelines anymore," Theismann said. "We ran like 11 consecutive 50 Guts. It was just Russ Grimm against Randy White and we were going to absolutely pummel him to the ground. When I think of Russ Grimm and all the memories, this was his moment."

-Mike Wise, Washington Post, August 7, 2010


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