Two decades ago, the Redskins were still in the midst of their last Super Bowl week. I promised to provide daily highlights. I failed.
But now I’m back, to tell you what was happening 20 years ago on Monday. Previous edition here.
One of the most popular topics that week was Mark Rypien, and a week ago Monday, the L.A. Times published a huge Rypien profile.
“I think he hit the lottery,” Joe Theismann said in the piece. “I’ve got to be honest with you, the kid went out and bought a Virginia lottery ticket, and ( Redskin owner Jack Kent) Cooke is going to wind up paying for it.”
“He isn’t a pretty athlete. He's kind of big and clumsy,” Joe Gibbs said in the piece. “He’s also kind of a genius. He has that great arm, he's tough, but the main thing is that he’s so bright.
“The thing I remember about Mark in the beginning, the very first scrimmage he was in, he really got rocked about five times and got right back up. So the first thing I remember about him was he was tough. Second thing is probably his smarts. The rest of it, you can kind of guess, but you never really know until you go out and play the games. You don't know how good a quarterback is going to be at this level.”
The Greatness of Gibbs
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote an homage to Joe Gibbs. It began like so:
Joe Gibbs needs an image. He doesn’t have Tom Landry's hat, Bill Walsh’s IQ, Jimmy Johnson’s hair, Don Shula’s jaw, Chuck Noll’s cold stare, Vince Lombardi’s fury, Mike Ditka’s machismo, Dan Reeves’ tie, Bill Parcells’ smirk, Jerry Glanville’s red neck, Art Shell’s presence, Buddy Ryan’s bluster, Paul Brown’s legacy, Sam Wyche’s quirks, or Marv Levy’s Harvard education.
Joe Gibbs is the best coach in the National Football League, except that no one seems to recognize it. Gibbs is slipping through history, relatively undetected for a coach who owns an astounding .694 winning percentage. So pass the secret on....
“When we go out there,”' Redskins center Jeff Bostic said, '”we can look at the other team in the eye, comfortable in the knowledge that we're better prepared because our coach has found something that gives us a tremendous advantage.”
Best coach in the National Football League. That’s a sentence.
Sharon Pratt Kelly’s Trip
Non-football related, but this impacts your 2012 life more than the Greatness of Gibbs. The Post reported all week on then-Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly’s trip to the game. Here was the story a week ago Monday:
Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly came under fire yesterday for accepting a free three-day trip to the Super Bowl from Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke at a time when the two are locked in negotiations over building a new stadium in the city.
Late yesterday, she changed her plans, accepting some of Cooke’s hospitality but promising to pay for it.
The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance and Ethics hand-delivered a letter to the mayor yesterday asking her to clarify her three-day trip to Minnesota with Cooke. Council members also criticized her plans as having the appearance of conflict of interest.
“Any concerns you have are misplaced,” the mayor said in a terse letter to Marianne Niles, director of the ethics office. “Please be assured that the Redskins organization will be reimbursed for reasonable value of the plane fare and the face value of the tickets they are providing.”
D.C. mayoral ethics stories have maintained their cache, even as Redskins Super Bowl stories have not.
In Praise of Millen
Tony Kornheiser wrote a sentimental column about Matt Millen being reduced to a barely-activated reserve entering the big game. It ended like so:
Nine seasons ago, when the Redskins were in their second Super Bowl under Gibbs, their opponents were the Raiders — the extremely notorious and unsurpassingly chirpy Raiders of Ted Hendricks, Lyle Alzado, John Matuszak and Matt Millen. During the week before the game, Russ Grimm was quoted as saying: “How bad do I want to win this game? I’d run over my mother to win.” Millen was so moved by the quote he said: “I’d run over Grimm's mother too.”
Yesterday, Grimm laughed when the exchange was recalled. He and Millen are both Pennsylvanians, both aging veterans, both big stars on what may be their last ride on the carousel.
“I feel for Matt, I really do. He’s made a lot of great plays for this team,” Grimm said. “I’m down to a role player myself. You can feel the changes. You find yourself trying to help the younger guys, point stuff out that you see from the sideline. But you love the game as much as ever, and you’d like to think you’ll do anything you can to help the team win.”
Grimm’s smile was as wise as a river and as old as the hills as he said: “Sometimes, it’s not playing.”
Sometimes, it’s not drafting wide receivers, too.
This game was back in the day when The Post would send 50 reporters to big events, so Style’s Henry Allen was filing stuff like this:
First of all, they are in Minnesota, the home of wretched moderation, and there isn’t even a winter to get them cranked up. The temperature is pushing 40, the only snow you see is a ragged rind of dirt along the highways, and Midwestern politeness and calm make you feel like you’re caught on one of those pneumatic things kids jump on at church carnivals, the psychic equivalent of a Moon Bounce.
On the other hand, it could be the absence of defensive end Dexter Manley, who raved and stampeded around the San Diego press conferences, along with every place else he ever went as a Redskin. In short, he never quite fit in.
“Dexter Manley keyed everything up,” said wide receiver Ricky Sanders.
“Dexter was very entertaining,” said offensive lineman Joe Jacoby.
Of course, earlier in the week, Manley had given a huge interview to Ed Werder, then of the Orlando Sentinel.
The quotes were, of course, amazing.
“I’m a con man, a manipulator, a liar and a cheat,” he said in the story. ”But I’m not a druggie. I used to be, but I’m not. It hurts to know the country thinks Dexter Manley is destitute on drugs. I busted my [ass] to get my pride and self respect back. I can’t believe I’m retired from football. What a price I have had to pay. I can’t do something I’ve been doing all my life, playing pro football. I don’t believe this has happened....
“I hope they win the Super Bowl,” he said of the Redskins. “But I have to get out of Washington. I don’t want to see them win the Super Bowl without me. I should be playing football. I can play the game. But I can’t live the life.”