This is why it is imperative that the Washington Redskins win the Super Bowl on Sunday: Ollie North is rooting for them.
The colonel, who visited a Redskins practice last week, took sides because he has no doubt in his mind that a Washington loss would be a blow to the Free World.
This is the first time in the history of the National Football League that a "certified American hero" has declared himself for a Super Bowl team. Why, at this time, would Ollie pull the chain on the Denver Broncos? I didn't see him, but I talked to one of North's friends who claims to have spent many Sundays shredding NFL scores with the Marine hero. This is what he told me.
"Ollie feels we made a mistake by not stopping the Denver Broncos earlier in the season. Now Washington has to fight them on the shores of San Diego. If we don't, then everybody will be drinking Coors beer for the rest of their lives."
"It doesn't sound like Ollie trusts Denver," I said.
"It is not a question of trust. The policy of the president is to support Washington. If Washington is defeated by a small pony express town in the West this city will have lost its credibility."
"Does the National Security Council know that Ollie is working for the Redskins?"
"Those who need to know, know. There are people far up the line who are also rooting for the Redskins."
"The president of the United States?"
"He knows something but not everything. For example, he knows that there is a football game on Sunday, but Admiral Poindexter hasn't told him what teams are playing."
"If Reagan doesn't know about the Super Bowl, then who does?"
"Would you believe Vice President George Bush picked the Redskins over Denver?"
"He denies it."
"Bush denies everything. But he was at the conference when Ollie suggested Washington blitz Elway, the Broncos' quarterback, and the vice president gave the plan his blessing."
"Was that the meeting where Ollie tried to exchange 14 tons of arms for an Iranian field goal kicker?"
"That was the plan, but it backfired when the field goal kicker demanded a numbered bank account in Switzerland."
"Does Denver know about any of this?"
"It's been in the papers, but most of the Bronco players can't read."
"Some people say that the Super Bowl is only a game and it doesn't matter who wins."
"Those people have never lived in Washington. There are tremendous issues riding on the NFL championship. A Washington loss would mean an unbalanced budget, an increase in defense spending and a rise in the price of a first-class postage stamp. The Soviet Union wants the Denver Broncos to win so the nation's capital will be humiliated. For all we know it may be helping Denver right now. Why people can't see the danger of a Bronco win is something that Ollie will never understand."
"It doesn't matter," I said. "The fact that Ollie is supporting the Redskins should be inspiration enough to make them tear the Broncos limb from limb. It was the shot in the arm that Washington needed when the team was down."
"Ollie's that kind of guy. He has always believed that every American who enjoys living in a free country should stand up and say how much he loves the Washington Redskins. This is what Super Bowl football is all about."