Dennis Little refers to it as his "Hail Mary."

"Instead of going to Boulder . . . I threw it all the way to the East Coast," says the Aspen, Colo., artist.

Actually, this pass is not quite complete.

Inspired by the Skins' uniforms in what must have been 1984's Super Bowl against the conquering Raiders ("I don't really follow football," he says), Little finished his 6-by-7-foot stained-glass Redskin "coat of arms" in 1986. For four years he displayed it in his home. But, he says, "It wasn't fair for it to be out in the Rocky Mountains. We're Broncos out here."

Little had a friend, Bruce Kescskemety, whose parents had relocated near Dumfries, Va. So Little and Kescskemety crated the 200-plus-pound piece, and Kescskemety drove for 37 hours to get it to Dumfries in time for last month's Bears game.

A small bribe ($10 to a guard) got the mural inside RFK Stadium. The idea was that someone -- the Redskins, a very ardent fan -- would make Little an offer. But though the thing got a lot of oohs and ahhs, there were no buyers, so Kescskemety carted it back to his parents' garage.

All of which left Little a bit like the Skins coming into this playoff weekend -- he still had a prayer.

-- E LIZABETH

D E V ITA