The NFL lost an all-time great on Sunday, with the Washington Redskins announcing that longtime offensive line coach Joe Bugel, the man behind the franchise's famous "Hogs" line in the 1980s, has died at the age of 80.
"I am absolutely devastated by the news of Joe's passing," team owner Dan Snyder said. "Joe was a larger-than-life figure and a true legend of his profession. He exemplified what it meant to be a Redskin with his character and ability to connect with his players along with a work ethic that was unmatched."
Bugel had two stints as an NFL head coach, first with the Phoenix Cardinals (1990-1993) and then with the Oakland Raiders (1997), but he's best known for serving a combined 15 years in Washington. He first arrived 1981 as both the OL coach and offensive coordinator, then ascended to assistant head coach in 1983, staying in that post until 1989. Bugel returned to the Redskins in a similar role in 2004, joining Joe Gibbs' rebuilt staff as an offensive assistant and the head OL coach.
During Bugel's separate tenures with the team, the Redskins boasted some of the NFL's top OL production, first with the 1980s "Hogs" line that included four different Pro Bowlers (Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Mark May) and helped Washington appear in three different Super Bowls, two of which the team won. Washington went a combined 92-48 (and 11-3 in the postseason) during Bugel's first nine years running the Redskins' trenches, and scored a then-NFL record 541 points during his first year as assistant HC.
A two-way high school standout who was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Bugel got his start in coaching with Western Kentucky as a 1964 graduate assistant. He spent time with three other universities, including Ohio State, before breaking into the NFL with the Detroit Lions in 1975, then spent six years between the Lions and Houston Oilers before arriving in D.C. Bugel also spent four years as the San Diego Chargers' OL coach (1998-2001) before reuniting with Gibbs. He helped offensive tackle Chris Samuels earn four straight Pro Bowls during his final stint with the Redskins, while also overseeing a line that paved the way for five straight 1,000-yard rushers, including Clinton Portis.