Yesterday, with Halloween coming up, I was going through a drawer here in Redskins Park on a completely unrelated — and, frankly, boring — errand when I came across a press packet for something called Coca-Cola Monsters of the Gridiron.
Monsters of the Gridiron was an ad campaign from 1993 that involved 29 players being elaborately made over into mildly entertaining pseudo-horror characters. There were prizes, TV ads and radio spots, giant cardboard displays (like the one pictured to the right), and a call-in game.
I remember none of it.
(There’s a reason for the odd number of players: it’s one from each of the 28 teams at the time, plus then-Cowboys defensive lineman Tony Casillas — as “Conde [Count] Casillas” — doing the Spanish-language version of the ad; he’s listed on the Coca-Cola News Release Fact Sheet as “Hispanic player/monster,” as compared to “National player/monster” Randall “Rocket Man” Cunningham. 1993 suddenly seems like a VERY long time ago.)
The Redskins representative for this promotion — which, according to the press release, “combines America’s number one sport with the country’s most popular soft drink in an effort that is sure leave football fans ‘trance-fixed’ to their favorite games,” a phrase that is almost completely meaningless — was none other than offensive tackle and original Hog Joe Jacoby.
Jacoby was in his last year in the league at the time, the final act to what would in any just world have been a Hall of Fame career, so “undergoing several hours of extensive make-up and costuming” — again, per the press release — to look like a football-playing Frankenstein, complete with enormous square football helmet, probably seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea.
The press release breathlessly assures us that the monstrous alter-ego “accentuates each player’s most notorious personality traits.”
For example, Cunningham was “Rocket Man” because was an incredibly gifted scrambler. Ronnie Lott was “Rattler,” presumably because his legendary hits left opponents “rattled”. I guess Tom Rathman’s dominant personality trait was sheer lunacy, because his alter-ego was “Psycho”. Craig “Iron Head” Heyward was “Iron Head” because his nickname was “Iron Head”. And so on.
So I guess Jacoby was notorious for being a stiff, shambling monster of a man with an outsized square head. Nice.
Somehow, that’s not quite as awesome as “Rocket Man,” but it’s still vastly better than Steelers QB Neil O’Donnell, whose “Night Raider” moniker sounds just a little questionable in hindsight.
More pictures, and a full list of players and their nicknames, below.
Here’s Jacoby, after that extensive makeover. (Click to enlarge.)
Here’s L.A. Rams linebacker Shane Conlan as “Conlan the Barbarian,” the late Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs as “Attack Cat,” and Jacoby.
Tags: 1993, halloween, joe jacoby, JoeJacoby, old school, OldSchool, washington redskins, WashingtonRedskins
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