My mom likes to tell me about the Joe Theismann break. It feels like it’s one of those “where were you when JFK was shot” moments but for sports in the older generation. Everyone remembers when they saw the replay of what happened to his leg. They remember LT getting up and frantically calling for a doctor and looking stunned. The Theismann injury is a piece of morbid football lore to be passed down through generations. The freaky coincidental Alex Smith break from a few years back was basically just an excuse to talk about it again. My mom always mentions how she was pretty shocked watching Taylor freak out. It freaks me out that too this day, if you watch a clip on youtube and listen very carefully…you can hear it.

In it’s own sad way, the last snap of his career might be Joe Theismann’s most enduring legacy. The guy had a great career. He led the Skins to two consecutive Super Bowls and pulled off the win in one of them. He played for 12 good seasons and is in many ways possibly the greatest QB Washington has ever had (outside Sammy Baugh). He was the league MVP in 1983 as well as an all-pro once and a pro-bowler twice. He didn’t stick around long enough to accumulate the numbers to reach the Hall of Fame, but only because he decided to leave his legacy on the field in pieces during a routine Monday Night Football game.

I wonder where the moment would rank on a list of all-time NFL memorable moments. It is arguably the best-known sports injury of all time. I think the only one that could challenge and win is the Dale Earnhardt Crash. There have been worse injuries. There have been more recent horrific injuries that still make me cringe. But has any sports injury had the enduring timelessness of the Theismann break? It happened 3 years before I was born and I’ve known about it for pretty much my entire life. Even people who don’t know football have possibly heard about it. Part of that power is through the popularity of football mixed with the celebrity reputation of the player who caused it. A player who to this day is still horrified by it and won’t watch it.

Apparently Joe Theismann agrees with me about his legacy. Read the last paragraph of this piece about LT’s side of the story. I guess somebody has to have the injury legacy. Luckily for Joe it only resulted in a finished career and not anything worse.

Keep protesting! The changes are still small but a difference is still being made. We just have to keep it up!