The Blind Side

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Joe Theismann’s Injury Symbol Analysis

Joe Theismann’s Injury Symbol Icon

There aren’t many overt symbols in The Blind Side; however, one exception is the horrific injury that Joe Theismann sustains in a 1985 game with the New York Giants. During the game, Theismann, the star quarterback of the Washington Redskins, is tackled by a star linebacker for the Giants named Lawrence Taylor. Taylor is so big and so fast that he breaks Theismann’s leg, ending his career. As Lewis sees it, Theismann’s legendary injury is a symbol for the rethinking of the game of football that took place in the eighties and nineties. Around this time, coaches realized that they needed to do a better job of protecting their players from tackles like Lawrence Taylor—and, therefore, needed to spend more money on big left tackles who could protect the quarterbacks’ blind sides.

Joe Theismann’s Injury Quotes in The Blind Side

The The Blind Side quotes below all refer to the symbol of Joe Theismann’s Injury. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Generosity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the W. W. Norton & Company edition of The Blind Side published in 2007.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Four other players, including, oddly, the Redskins’ John Riggins, pile on. They’re good for dramatic effect but practically irrelevant. The damage is done by Taylor alone. One hundred and ninety-six pounds of quarterback come to rest beneath a thousand or so pounds of other things. Then Lawrence Taylor pops to his feet and begins to scream and wave and clutch his helmet with both hands, as if in agony.

Related Characters: Joe Theismann, Lawrence Taylor
Related Symbols: Joe Theismann’s Injury
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

At the beginning of The Blind Side, Lawrence Taylor, a talented pass rusher for the New York Giants, sacks legendary quarterback Joe Theismann (i.e., tackles Theismann before he can pass the ball). Taylor’s sack on Theismann has become one of the most famous—and infamous—moments in NFL history, since Taylor broke Theismann’s leg and ended his NFL career for good.

As the chapter goes on to show, Taylor’s sacking of Theismann proved influential because it made football insiders realize the enormous importance of the left tackle position. Previously, many football coaches and fans had thought of offensive linemen as interchangeable—but after Theismann, it became clear that some linemen were far more important than others. The left tackle has one of the most difficult jobs in football: protecting the quarterback from rushers like Lawrence Taylor. The discussion of the renewed emphasis on good left tackles in the eighties and nineties is important because it shows how NFL history paved the way for Michael Oher. Had it not been for Taylor’s sack of Theismann, there may never have been such a big demand for good left tackles, and Michael Oher may never have made it to the NFL.

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Joe Theismann’s Injury Symbol Timeline in The Blind Side

The timeline below shows where the symbol Joe Theismann’s Injury appears in The Blind Side. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Back Story
Left Tackle, Protection, and Shifting Strategy Theme Icon
Football Industry and Culture Theme Icon
The obvious question, following Theismann’s legendary injury, is: who was supposed to stop Lawrence Taylor from getting to Theismann? When interviewed later,... (full context)
Left Tackle, Protection, and Shifting Strategy Theme Icon
...Grimm. When Taylor tackled Theismann, there was a sound like a gunshot; the sound of Theismann’s right leg breaking . (full context)