The only team in the National Football League with its own fight song won't have its band at the Super Bowl to play it.
Trumpeters sounding the cavalry charge, maybe. But no Redskins band.
"What can I say?" said a spokesman at Redskin Park. "You're talking about nearly 150 people, and it's just not possible."
It is true, he said, that team owner Jack Kent Cooke has chartered a United Airlines DC10, which holds 359 persons, but those seats will be filled by other members of the team organization and some dignitaries, including Mayor Marion Barry, and D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy.
These will not include your piccolo player who tweedles "Hail to the Redskins" from the wind-chilled bandstand at RFK Stadium. Those tuba artists who oompahed "California Here We Come," won't.
Also left on the runway will be the Redskin Men's Chorus, that balding choir in the maroon blazers that warbles "Mr. Touchdown" on the field during breaks while Roger Staubach sells Rolaids.
On the other hand, Cooke is taking everybody else in the Redskin organization, including the people in the stadium ticket booth, the secretaries in the office, and the guys who cut the grass out at Redskin Park.
And all 49 Redskinettes.
"Actually, it never occurred to us that we might go," said Sam Shreiber, leader of the Redskin Show Orchestra for 17 years. "I mean they didn't take us last time. You know what I mean? I guess it's policy."
Once, Shreiber said, he paid his own way to Los Angeles for a game against the Rams and got to lead the Rams band in a chorus of "Hail to the Redskins." Washington won. "Whadda thrill!" he said, "You know?"
Shreiber said the Redskins musical tribe is actually three separate entities: the 16-piece orchestra, the 12-man chorus it accompanies and the 110-piece marching band. The orchestra is composed of paid professional musicians. The chorus and marching band--like the Redskinettes--receive only their costumes and a pair of season tickets per member.
"But the Redskins probably spend more on music than any team in the league," said Shreiber. "Some of those places don't even have a band. They use some high school kids. Get 'em for free."
Shreiber said there will be some sort of band at the Super Bowl. The director, he said, called him up to get the sheet music for "Hail to the Redskins" sent to the coast in time.
But it won't be the same. Betty Johnson, choreographer for the Redskinettes, says the team dancers--who will leave Friday on Cooke's DC10--have been told they'll have to do their routines to taped music played through the Rose Bowl public address system.
"We'd love to have our own band," she said, "but I don't think there's much room on the field. We can only have 15 Redskinettes on the sideline at a time."
Shreiber says he understands all that, but he was wistful at the thought of the trip.
"You say he's got a great big jet with 300-some seats? Wow! We'd go in a minute," he said. "I guess, you know, they have more important people they're taking. But what a season anyway! You know what I mean?"