Redskins 1991: Welcome to Minnesota
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Super Bowl XXVI was to be played in the Metrodome on Jan. 26, 1992. The Redskins arrived in Minneapolis six days earlier.
Cooke: It was so damn cold. Jesus, it was cold.
Mann: Who in the heck plays a Super Bowl game in Minnesota? We got there and it’s freezing cold. I mean, guys went out ice fishing.
Coleman: It was all great until we started to drive out there on that ice. And we’ve got this big truck we’re in. In Arkansas, people fall through ice all the time, and we’re going to drive a truck? We was like, “Hold up, Chip, are you sure we’re going to be safe?” He assured us we were going to be. Got the drill thing and able to drill holes. We didn’t catch anything — we didn’t get a bite — but it was a great experience.
Lohmiller, native of Woodbury, Minn.: All the guys came over to my house and relaxed and played cards and got away from everything. … Had food and just hung out and got away from everybody and relaxed and went back to the hotel that night.
Ervins: The only time I did go out, pretty much everybody went to Prince’s club. It was a lot of folks there.
The team practiced at the Minnesota Vikings’ facility and hit the field for the first time on the Wednesday before the Super Bowl.
Mitchell: If you would’ve been at our practice, you would’ve sworn we were playing a game.
Gibbs: I’d never seen such violent hits in a practice. John Madden was there with the TV group, and he couldn’t believe it. I cut practice short 30 minutes that day. I had to. If we kept goin’, we were going to kill somebody.
Lachey: On Thursday, Matt Millen and I were talking about getting in a fight … and the next thing you know, we’re on the ground. We talked about this as something to do, and it turned into a good battle. We were kind of waiting for the troops to pull us apart, but they didn’t.
So we were out there whaling into each other. Gibbs said he thought we were fooling around, but then it turned into a fight. He was like, “What the hell are you guys doing?” Well, he didn’t say “hell.” But that’s the intensity the players wanted. It wasn’t something the coaches talked about, but the players talked about it.
Jeff Bostic, center: I went to Joe after Thursday’s practice and said, “Joe, you gotta get us out of pads on Friday.” He said, “Why?” I said, “Because someone’s going to get hurt.” He said, “You think practices are too physical?” I said, “Are you watching the tape? This team is ready to play right now. We don’t need to be beating on each other.”
Mitchell: Joe Gibbs had to tell everybody to slow down. Guys were getting more and more pissed off because Buffalo was in the papers talking about who was going to be the MVP off their team, calling the Hogs fat. The Hogs started going harder in practice, so the defense would have to go harder. And I remember Ryp got his ankle sprained.
Collins: You could have heard a pin drop out there.
Mitchell: Joe called us together and said, “Look, we’re teammates. We can’t kill each other. We’ll get them on Sunday. We’ll get ’em.”
Rypien: It would have taken something surgical for me not to play.
The electricity stretched from Minneapolis to the District, and by January, the whole town was on the bandwagon with Kornheiser, who actually drove a decorated R.V. to Minneapolis. The road trip took three days, two nights — 1,150 miles in all. They’d purchased the movie “Misery” for the VCR.
Kornheiser: If I could do something idiosyncratic and write it, people said, “Do it.” Then they’d say afterward, do it this year or that year. But no, we never really did it again. I got the sense that it captured a certain spirit of a certain amount of the fans and the players. I would have loved to have hammered them, and I did hammer them – for not winning 100-0. But God, they were good. … It was the most fun of anything I ever did in all my years at The Post.
Casserly: The night before the Super Bowl, I’ll never forget Joe’s talk to the team. He got up there and told the players, “I wish I could be in your shoes. I was never good enough to play in league. I wish I could change places with you.” That’s a hell of a statement for a guy who’s a Hall of Fame coach. That really resonated with the players. The other thing he did, he showed a video — there was a coach with the Bills who’d done a TV interview making fun of the Hogs. Joe said, “I want to show you this.”
Lachey: Coach Gibbs was good at that, finding a newspaper clipping or whatever to put up on the bulletin board to motivate you.
Among other things, Chuck Dickerson, the Bills’ defensive line coach, called Jacoby “a Neanderthal” and said he “slobbers a lot, he probably kicks dogs in his neighborhood.” Of Lachey, he said, “The thing we’ve noticed about him more than anything from watching the tapes of them is that he has bad breath.”
Jacoby: That’s part of the territory when you carry a name. We knew what we had to do.
Lachey: Just, really? You want to do this a night before the game?
Bostic: I don’t know what this guy was thinking, but when you have the talent and chemistry that we had, you don't throw gasoline on the fire. … Joe showed it to us Saturday evening at our last team meeting. And we were ready to play right then.
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NEXT: CHAPTER 6 — GAME TIME
MORE ON THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF SUPER BOWL XXVI: The 1991-92 season in pictures VIDEO: ‘We were special’ POLL: When will the Redskins win another championship? DISCUSSION: Former beat reporter Richard Justice PHOTOS: Washington Post pages from the 1991-92 season Share your photos from 1991-92