The group of Washington Redskins fans known as the “Hogettes” are hanging up their pig snouts and dresses after three decades.
The fans, who wore floppy hats, wigs, gowns and fake noses at games, are retiring after 30 years in character, founder Michael Torbert announced today on the group’s website. They said they will still root for the National Football League team and continue efforts that have helped raise more than $100 million for local charities.
Torbert said it was a “new era” for the Redskins, who won the National Football Conference East title this season for the first time since 1999.
“It has been an honor being a part of the greatest 12th Man fans in the NFL,” Torbert said in the statement. “We will forever be Redskins fans.”
The Hogettes name comes from the Redskins’ “Hogs” offensive line of the 1980s and early 1990s. The group formed in 1983 when the members started wearing the dresses to entertain patients at local children’s hospitals, according to their website.
The group’s first game in dress was on Nov. 27, 1983, a 28-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, and the group kept the tradition through this year, both in the stands and during philanthropic endeavors.
“Funny looks and clowning around by these professional men has brought many a smile to a lot of people across the Washington, D.C., community and other NFL cities around the country,” according to the group’s website.
Joe Jacoby, a member of the Hogs offensive line, called the group’s longevity “amazing.”
“They took it to the next step, and the things they were able to do for children’s charities that they were involved with, it was just outstanding,” Jacoby, 53, said in an interview, according to the Washington Post. “I salute them.”
Today’s announcement comes two months after Ed Anzalone, known by New York Jets fans as “Fireman Ed,” announced that he would no longer attend the team’s games in character. Anzalone said in a guest column for the Metro New York newspaper that his decision was fueled in part because “confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common.”