If “gladiators” are returning to Candlestick Park for a last hurrah, can Washington Redskins greats play once more at RFK Stadium? After all, it looks like the old Roman Colosseum.
The Legends of Candlestick Park on July 12 will pit former San Francisco 49ers stars against retired NFL standouts in a flag football game before the team moves to its new stadium this fall. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice’s “gladiators” face Dan Marino and James Lofton for charity.
Why couldn’t a legends game come to RFK Stadium? The Redskins and Cowboys greats of the 1970s and ’80s could face off once more before a crowd of 50,000. Scalpers would return for that one, too. The Cowboys won a similar 1989 charity game at Texas Stadium. It’s time for a rematch.
Maybe Sonny Jurgensen and the Over The Hill Gang’s days are done, though surely Pat Fischer is up for one more frothy-mouth hit and Chris Hanburger would clothesline someone. Ron McDole could be the “Dancing Bear” at halftime.
Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien could show off their Super Bowl-winning arms to Art Monk, Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark. Let Chris Cooley play, too. Watch Dexter Manley ring Danny White’s bell while Charles Mann and Darrell Green make plays. And certainly Mark Moseley can still kick a 50-yarder for coach Joe Gibbs.
“The players would do it if it was put together right,” said Moseley, now president of the Redskins Alumni Association. “We did a Redskins-Cowboys golf tournament a few years ago. It was huge. We raised $60,000. If you did something in Washington it would be big. We’d get a lot of guys who would come to it and play it.”
Redskins fans would fill RFK. All the team’s great modern memories remain in that stadium. Meanwhile, Landover has been nothing but a field of nightmares.
James Earl Jones predicted in “Field of Dreams,” “People will come, Ray. … They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it. It’s money they have and peace they lack. … The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.”
If the Redskins are considering building a new stadium at the RFK site in the next decade, a charity game is a good start toward gaining the neighborhood and political support the plan lacks. The team and the city need to promote the game, but not profit from it. Make it truly a charity event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for needy Washingtonians and everyone wins.
Give Redskins fans the chance to bounce once more in the stands. After all, nothing beats the good old days and going home.