One Team, One Town
One of Washington's most popular television news anchors, WRC's Jim Vance, went on the air one cold, winter night in early 1988 with a wish. "The Redskins play for the NFC championship against the Minnesota Vikings at RFK Stadium in two days, and I want them to win," Vance said.
"I want them to win not so much because I like them as a team which I do but rather because of what it does for this region. It brings us together: black, white, young, old, rich, poor. When the Redskins beat the Cowboys to win the NFC five years ago, I remember people coming out of their homes and hugging each other, horns blaring, singing 'Hail to the Redskins.'
"Nothing brings this place together like the Washington Redskins. So I hope they beat the Vikings and go to the Super Bowl and win that, too. If that makes me a homer, that's okay. Because no city in the country needs the unity, even for one night, like we do."
Vance got his wish that weekend the Redskins defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 17-10, when Darrell Green knocked down a pass in the game's final minute to preserve the victory and propel them to the Super Bowl, where they also routed the Denver Broncos.
To many outsiders and some people who live in the nation's capital, the Washington area lacks the character and soul of cities like Philadelphia or Cleveland, Baltimore or Detroit, Boston or Chicago. They see the town as a bunch of formless federal office buildings, museums, shrines, monuments and suburbs populated by bureaucrats, lobbyists and lawyers.
Of course, every local municipality in the Washington area has an elected leader, but, let's face it, the big dog in our town lives in the White House. And like many of us, he comes from somewhere else, and he stays eight years, tops. Rarely does he go local. He's national and international, as are so many of our institutions the Congress, the Supreme Court, the State Department.
So, many folks here desperately seek a common ground: schools, town government, the subway, NBA Wizards, NHL Capitals, Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Smithsonian, beltway, malls (shopping and D.C. sightseeing venue), university life, soccer.
But perhaps the thickest glue is the Washington Redskins. As Vance noted, the Redskins bring people here together, and, to the pleasure of The Washington Post, people love to read about the Redskins. Some of the best stories and photographs that have appeared in our newspaper have dealt with the Redskins.
Over the years, writers such as Shirley Povich, the late Dave Brady, Leonard Shapiro, Richard Justice, Ken Denlinger, Christine Brennan, William Gildea, Paul Attner, Gary Pomerantz, Tom Friend, David Sell, David Kindred, Thomas Boswell, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon have brought the games to life with their words.
At the same time, the great Richard Darcey set a standard of fabulous photography that successors Rich Lipski, John McDonnell and Joel Richardson have so often matched.
On the special occasion of the Redskins' 60th anniversary in Washington and of their first season in the new Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, many of these people, plus Anthony Cotton and Tom Heath, have put their talents to work again on this fascinating history of the team.
The book also benefited greatly from the work of others at The Washington Post. Martie Zad, a former Assistant Managing Editor/Sports, applied his extensive knowledge and eagle eye to the manuscript and contributed to the trivia quizzes. Elissa Leibowitz not only coordinated the project but also researched photos, copyedited and proofread, indexed and helped in other ways. And Gene Wang pulled together statistics and other questions for the trivia quizzes.
We hope that you enjoy the results.