City Desk

Joe Jacoby Gets His College Degree Today, But Not in Theater!

"And, yes, and you can have a college degree..."

When I heard via the Louisville Courier-Journal that Joe Jacoby had gone back to school and was getting his sheepskin today, that's the sentence that popped into my head.

That's because whenever I hear anything about Jacoby, among the most beloved and successful Washington Redskins of all time and a cornerstone of the Hogs, "And yes, and..." pops into my head. No matter the subject.

For all that Jacoby accomplished on the field during a career that lasted from 1981-1993— four Super Bowl appearances (three wins), four Pro Bowls, two first-team All-Pro selections— if Redskins fans had to pick one Jacoby moment, it would be his opening lines in a legendarily awful 1983 TV commercial for Theater Vision, a local big screen television retailer famous for its low-budget advertising campaigns.

The ad, like all TheaterVision ads from the early 1980s, paired the biggest pro athletes in the area and the worst production values in Christendom. Jacoby, dressed in dark polyester shorts, white socks and tight yellow T-shirt and looking like he'd just walked off a practice field because he had just walked off a practice field, stammered his sales pitch to big screen customers: “And, yes, and you can have this set here—50-inch, four-foot-screen—for as little as $895.” (Tragically, all video of Jacoby's TheaterVision commercials has been removed from YouTube.)

I asked Jacoby about the commercials last winter, just after Theater Vision went out of business:

“It is amazing how the commercials live on,” says Jacoby, now an assistant coach at Shenandoah University. “I didn’t know what I was doing. You see what I was wearing? That’s because nobody told me what to wear. I just showed up in [shorts and a T-shirt], and they told me what to say and we started doing the commercial. My daughters get out a tape of that now and then to make fun of the old man. They can’t believe I ever had hair.”

The should-be-Hall of Fame tackle says he doesn’t remember how he ended up shilling for Bessell’s shop.

But he remembers what he got paid: “No money. Just a big-screen television,” Jacoby says.

Jacoby says he never even set up the TV in his townhouse. It was too big.

“Theater Vision got its money’s worth out of that ad,” he says. “People still tell me that that commercial was terrible. Yeah, it was terrible. But I guess it did its job, because it was memorable, too.”

Jacoby now coaches the offensive line at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.

He told the Courier-Journal this week that he decided to go back (through correspondence courses) to the University of Louisville, where in 1980 he left still 30 credits shy of a degree to pursue a pro football career, after years of feeling sort of phony telling his children and the student/athletes playing ball at Shenandoah U. about the importance of an education.

From the Courier piece:

“How could I keep saying that when I didn’t have my degree?” Jacoby asked.

That changes Friday night. Look for a 6-foot-7, 280-pound guy who’s 52 years old.

He’ll be walking on stage at the KFC Yum! Center to accept his bachelor of science degree in workforce leadership at the University of Louisville commencement.

So, congrats to Jacoby for setting a fine example. It'd be a better story if he studied theater on his return to campus, but still...

Now, all that's left for him is a stop in Canton. Because, let's be serious, it makes no sense at all that Joe Jacoby isn't in the Hall of Fame.

Or, rather: And, yes, and Joe Jacoby really should be in the Hall of Fame.

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  • The Ghost of Jack Kent Cooke

    And yes, Davey boy, you are sooo right about Jake and the glory days of the Redskins.

    This year's edition broke down like a 500 dollar claimer at some Podunk race track. But what do you expect from anything owned by Daniel M. Snyder?

  • Truth Hurts

    Ah yes, the memories. Jerry Bessell, Theater Vision, and Joe Jacoby ..... priceless.

    Jerry and his wife, Judy, watched over my 8 year old daughter last night while I rocked out at CP's holiday party. Jerry still has memoribilia from the Skins' glory days all throughout his home. A true fan and a good man.

  • Michelle Mattingly

    And yes, we were at the graduation tonight and along with my son, watched one of the best football players walk across the stage. It was great to see.
    We lived in DC in the early 80s and were huge fans of the hogs. After all these years I thought my husband and I were the only ones to remember that infamous commercial but I see now that we were mistaken. Him and Mark May in the tight gray shorts and T-shirts trying to sell TVs.
    I came across this site by accident as I was looking up Joe's stats and it made my day knowing that there are still those out there that remember the ad.

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