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Joe Theismann Suffered a Gruesome Leg Injury, But Where is He Now?
Photo by Jeff Lewis/Invision for NFL/AP Images (left), AP Photo/P.Binks (right)

Joe Theismann suffered one of the all-time brutal injuries to end his NFL career. He’ll always be remembered for the gut-wrenching moment Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson sacked him during a Monday Night Football game.

However, that was not the end of the line for the former NFL quarterback. In addition to media work, Theismann has found success in a business almost as daunting as football: food.

Joe Theismann’s Career

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Theismann went to college at Notre Dame where he was the starting quarterback. It was here where his last name went from being pronounced “THEES-man” to “THIGHS-man” because the latter rhymed with “Heisman.” In the end, Theismann ended up finishing second in the Heisman voting to Jim Plunkett. Rhyming doesn’t solve everything.

He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, but instead signed with the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL. After three seasons in Canada (including two All-Star teams), Theismann joined the Washington Football Team.

As the quarterback in Washington, Theismann had a couple great years. In 1982, he made the Pro Bowl and led Washington to a Super Bowl win in a strike-shortened season. In 1983, he was not just a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro selectee, but also the league MVP.

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Then, in 1985, Theismann was sacked by Lawrence Taylor while running a flea flicker. Many quarterbacks were sacked by LT, but this one was a terrifying fluke. Theismann suffered a gruesome broken leg. We’re talking the kind of injury that gets talked about for years after. They made jokes on “The Simpsons” about how brutal it was.

Theismann never played another down.

That didn’t stop him from finding success.

Joe Theismann’s Restaurant

Theismann has done plenty of work in television, including being a former color commentator on “Sunday Night Football.” He was also a commentator on “American Gladiators” as well. Way before that, though, he got in the restaurant business.

In fact, back in 1975, he opened Theismann’s Restaurant.

Theismann’s is located on Diagonal Road in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, right by the King Street Metro station. Theismann’s name is on the restaurant, but he’s also paired with Alexandria Restaurant Partners to own it and run it. Back in 2019, they had an auction of some of their sports memorabilia so that they could replace it with a bunch of Theismann’s own memorabilia. It was also to fund a renovation that, among other things, increased the side of the sports bar.

The restaurant seems to serve all potential diners in Alexandria. They have a bar area with a happy hour where you can watch sports. The joint also has a dining room for a more sophisticated dining experience.

“Pleasing patrons since 1975, Theismann?s Restaurant and Bar is unique in character and difficult to categorize. It melds the diverse venues of fine dining, neighborhood gathering place and energetic sports viewing,” the restaurant’s website reads.

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Alright. Joe Theismann has a restaurant to go with his Super Bowl ring. The question is: Does Theismann’s have good food? What’s on the menu here?

Joe Theismann’s Restaurant Menu

Well, during brunch you can get a buttermilk malted waffle, which sounds super sweet. Maybe you’d prefer “Joe’s Breakfast,” which is admittedly pretty basic. It’s two eggs however you want them, bacon or sausage, crispy smashed garlic parmesan potatoes and marble rye toast. How is it “Joe’s Breakfast” if you can get eggs any style? Does Joe Theismann not have any egg preferences?

That being said, if you like smashed garlic parmesan potatoes and avocado you might enjoy yourself. They do have a burger on an onion brioche bun that sounds good. Most importantly, you can get a Bloody Mary. This is America, after all. Oh, and a mimosa bar!

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If you’re not brunching, though, they have a mix of pretty basic options but also some wild ones, like a Reuben fries appetizer. Otherwise though, they are offering beer cheese, hummus with pita (warm pita, to be specific) and mozzarella sticks with marinara.

They have fried chicken wings but who cares?

When it comes to sandwiches, they love themselves a potato bun and thick cut toast. They offer corned beef and buffalo chicken, but they also offer vegan chorizo tacos so there is one thing a vegan can eat here. The Louisiana oyster sandwich is a bit different, though.

You can make any of their salads a chicken salad for a little extra cash, and they have a champagne vinaigrette. We don’t know if at brunch you can get a mimosa vinaigrette.

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If we had to guess, the showcase item on the menu is “Joe’s All-American Burger.” It’s a burger, it has Theismann’s name in it and it’s “All-American.” And yet, it’s about the most generic burger you can find.

You can get a half rack or a full rack of BBQ baby back ribs or an aged filet mignon that costs, no joke, $44. It also comes with asparagus. There’s also something called “Joe’s Favorite Spirale & Chicken.” They have Joe’s name on many menu items, which makes sense. Weirdly, they don’t seem to have crab cakes on the menu, which is unusual for that area of the country.

As a player, Theismann had to deal with a severe injury. As a restaurateur, he had to deal with a pandemic, but they managed to make it through thanks to takeout. Personally, we might prefer just to head to the sports bar area for happy hour for a draft beer and sweet potato tots with pecans and green onions.

Or not. This isn’t sponsored content. You can eat a five-day-old piece of pizza over the sink for all we care. Not everybody is infatuated with a potato roll.

However, we are infatuated to see Joe Theismann doing well these days.

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Chris Morgan About the author:
Chris Morgan is a Michigan-based writer and a Detroit sports fan who has written about sports and pop culture for a variety of outlets, including a book about Mystery Science Theater 3000 and '90s Nickelodeon. He's happy to complain about the Lions with you anytime.
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