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The Mastermind Behind Some Of Washington's Best Defenses, Richie Petitbon Up For Hall Of Fame Again

Posted Sep 14, 2017

The Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday released the 108 Modern-Era nominees for the Class of 2018, including former Redskins player and coach Richie Petitbon.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday released the 108 Modern-Era nominees for the Class of 2018, including former Redskins player and coach Richie Petitbon. Among the other nominees were Redskins greats Joe Jacoby and Brian Mitchell.

This is Petitbon’s fifth consecutive year being named a nominee for the Hall of Fame, but he has not yet been named a finalist.

Petitbon, who played for the Redskins in the final two years of his career, made his mark on the franchise as a defensive coordinator in the 1980s and early 1990s. Serving as coordinator for 12 seasons, Petitbon was the defensive mind behind the franchise’s three Super Bowls in 1982, 1987 and 1991 and led a top 10 defense in six of those seasons.

Petitbon spent the entirety of his coaching career with the Redskins and nearly all of it under legendary head coach Joe Gibbs. His finest years as defensive coordinator came in 1982 and 1991, which both ended in Super Bowl titles.

In a strike-shortened 1982 season, the Redskins allowed the fewest points and the fourth fewest yards of any team in the NFL despite having just one defensive Pro Bowler.

The 1991 team allowed the second fewest points and the third fewest yards en route to Petitbon’s third Super Bowl win in 10 seasons.

Following the initial retirement of Joe Gibbs in 1992, Petitbon spent one season as head coach of the Redskins before giving way to Norv Turner in 1994.

As a player, Petitbon spent 14 seasons in the NFL as a defensive back for the Bears, Rams and Redskins. The meat of his career took place in Chicago, where he played 10 seasons and was elected to four Pro Bowls and one First-Team All-Pro, making himself known as one of the more dynamic defensive backs in the league. He won one championship as a player in 1963 as a member of the Bears.

The New Orleans native later moved on to the Redskins in 1971 after two seasons in Los Angeles with the Rams. Petitbon found most of his snaps with the Redskins at strong safety, where he was the starter in 13 games in 1971. He spent the final year of his playing career with the Redskins in 1972, but returned to the franchise shortly after in 1978 as a secondary coach.

The list of nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and later 15 finalists in January. The final list of inductees will be decided on Feb. 13, 2018. 

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