We’ve had some tight battles in the “By the (Jersey) Numbers” series, and it doesn’t get much tighter than the match-up we have at #54.
In fact, by Pro Football Reference’s “Approximate Value” system, it’s an exact tie.
Unfairly or not, Bob Kuziel is probably remembered as the bridge between two legendary Redskins centers: Len Hauss (who, in my opinion, got robbed at #56) and Jeff Bostic. Kuziel was a good, solid player, but not a Pro Bowler like either Hauss or Bostic. His teams also didn’t match the level of success that Bostic’s did.
Then, there’s Kurt Gouveia. Gouveia got drafted out of BYU in 1986 after being a part of their excellent teams in 1983, 1984, and 1985, with the ‘84 team finishing undefeated and winning a national championship. An injury caused him to miss what would have been his rookie year, but he was a situational contributor in 1987, playing in all 11 non-strike games and recording 27 tackles as Washington went on to win Super Bowl XXII.
His role expanded over the next several years, particularly on passing downs. By the time 1990 rolled around, Gouveia was starting about half the time (dependent upon the opponent’s offensive scheme). That year, he recorded 76 tackles, a sack, and a fumble return for a touchdown.
Gouveia was even more important in 1991.
Although his regular-season numbers were down a bit from the year before, Gouveia was a major factor in the Redskins’ postseason run.
Gouveia intercepted a pass in each of Washington’s three postseason games, including a 38-yard return against the Lions in the NFC Championship Game, and a 23-yard return against the Bills in Super Bowl XXVI, both of which set up scores. Gouveia’s play helped the Redskins to another world championship.
Gouveia was the full-time starter at middle linebacker in 1992 and 1993, recording a total of 340 tackles over that span. In 1995, Gouveia moved on to Philadelphia for a season, then played three years in San Diego.
He found his way back to Washington in time for the 1999 season, his last in the NFL. Although Gouveia played very little, it’s at least worth noting that the Redskins did win the NFC East that year.
Gouveia played 130 games for the Redskins, although he technically started only 41. He recorded 573 tackles over that nine-year span, collecting a pair of Super Bowl rings in the process.
For the contributions he made to championship teams, I give Gouveia a slight edge at #54, as he takes his place among the Redskins’ all-timers.
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Who is the greatest #54 in Redskins history?
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