Lost in the shuffle of yesterday afternoon was the celebration of former Redskins head coach Jack Pardee’s 76th birthday. Pardee was one of the famous “Ram-skins,” brought to Washington to be part of head coach George Allen’s “Over the Hill Gang.”
During the final two years of his playing career, he started 17 games for the Redskins at outside linebacker and tallied 5 interceptions, one fumble recovery, and a touchdown on defense.
After his playing days were over, he returned to the gridiron on the sidelines, accepting a job in the Nation’s Capital as the head coach of the World Football League’s Washington Ambassadors. The team would later move to Norfolk and retain the name, before moving to Florida and becoming the Blazers. After one championship season, he was hired as the Chicago Bears head coach, before returning to the lead the Redskins in 1978.
Pardee might be best remembered for being the head coach of the team directly before Joe Gibbs, but he deserves credit for assembling players that would contribute to Gibbs’s championships.
Two rookies drafted under Pardee were reciever Art Monk and Monte Coleman. You may have heard of them.
Pardee was one of eight Redskins coaches listed on a recent list of the Top-50 NFL coaches of all time. Pardee came in at No. 50 on the list, despite never going to or winning a championship.
Three particularly interesting notes on Pardee as a player and coach:
1. He was an All-American at linebacker and fullback for Bear Bryant’s Texas A&M Aggies. He left the school the year before they won the national championship in 1957, but blocked at fullback for Heisman trophy winner John David Crow.
2. Following his 1964 All-Pro season, he was forced to sit out a season the 1965 season to battle malignant melanoma skin cancer. After receiving chemo treatments, he was given a clean bill of health and continued playing for another seven years.
3. Pardee is actually the mystery Rams linebacker in the iconic photo of Redskins running back Bobby Mitchell. Look familiar?