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The Post's Shirley Povich

Shirley Povich Tribute

  The Redskins, Racism and Pearl Harbor

Compiled by Steve Fox
Washingtonpost.com Staff

To the delight of Washington Post readers, Shirley Povich spent a lot of time writing about the Redskins and the NFL. He has seen the Redskins play in all three of their homes — Griffith Stadium, RFK Stadium and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium — and rates the Cooke Stadium as the best.

Povich was at Griffith Stadium on Dec. 7, 1941, covering the game between the Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He was one of the few people in the press box—and the stadium—who knew the nation was at war.

He was also present to see the Redskins' racial line "broken" when Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown broke through Washington's defense. Povich was also present at many of the Redskins' lowest points, including a 73-0 loss to the Chicago Bears in the 1940 NFL championship game.

  • 'The Bears Happened'
    Dec. 9, 1940
    When the Redskins lost to the Chicago Bears, 73-0, in the 1940 NFL championship game, Povich had a simple reason for the debacle: The Bears happened to 'em.

  • This Morning With Shirley Povich
    Nov. 24, 1941
    In a game story Povich wrote about the then-brewing rivalry between the Redskins and New York Giants, Povich notes that Sammy Baugh did his part, but that "his one-man gang act wasn't enough."

  • This Morning With Shirley Povich
    Oct. 31, 1960
    Every now and then, Povich would turn to political commentary for a columns. In 1960, he took the Redskins to task for their segregation policies, writing that the legendary Jim Brown "fled the 25 yards like a man in an uncommon hurry and the Redskins' goal line, at least, became interracial."

  • This Morning With Shirley Povich
    Feb. 7, 1969
    When Vince Lombardi took over as executive vice president and coach of the Redskins one month after the inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon, Povich described the moment as, "Washington's greatest transfer of power since Jan. 20."

  • Even at Top, Lombardi Looked Up
    Sept. 4, 1970
    Povich mourned the day Vince Lombardi died, noting that with five NFL championships and two world championships in nine years of coaching the Green Bay Packers, no one man had more impact on the game.

  • Football's Unbroken, Unequaled Bronko
    Jan. 10, 1990
    Bronko Nagurski was a running back who did not like being tackled and made his tacklers pay the price, earning tributes such as the one from Red Grange: "When you tackle the Bronk, it's like an electric shock."

  • They Didn't Call Time in Big One
    Jan. 19, 1991
    When a debate ensued as to whether the NFL should play its playoff games and the Super Bowl during the Persian Gulf War, Povich argued in favor of playing, noting that the professional sports world continued even during World War II.

  • Grange's Appellation Was No Exaggeration
    Jan. 29, 1991
    The date was Oct. 18, 1924 and the University of Illinois and Red Grange were inaugurating a new stadium against the University of Michigan. On that memorable day, Povich recalls, Grange ran for four touchdowns and threw for another.

  • Crowd was Kept Unaware That War Had Begun
    Dec. 7, 1991
    On the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Povich recalled the three words sent to the Associated Press's man in the press box just prior to the start of the Redskins-Philadelphia Eagles game—"Keep it short." Meanwhile, the fans at Griffith Stadium were kept in the dark about the attack that plunged the United States into World War II.

  • The Birth of the Hype Was Ho-Hum Humble
    Jan. 26, 1996
    In 1967, football's major showcase was known as Superbowl One. Absent the hype that dominates today's Super Bowl, the best tickets available went for $12, compared to scalpers who were asking as much as $1,000 per ticket for Super Bowl XXX.

  • Third Stadium a Real Charm
    Sept. 13, 1997
    When Jack Kent Cooke Stadium opened, Povich wrote it was the best of the team's three stadiums, besting Griffith Stadium—a cozy, five-sided wooden structure—and RFK Stadium.

© Copyright 1997 washingtonpost.com

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