President and Mrs. Reagan welcomed members of the Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins back home last night when the team's plane arrived at Dulles International Airport.
The Redskins' chartered DC-10 rolled to a stop on a Dulles runway at 6:41 p.m. and the presidential helicopter arrived 10 minutes later.
The Reagans (he wore a baseball-style cap in burgundy and gold, the team colors, and both wore Redskins buttons) shook hands with team owner Jack Kent Cooke and D. C. Mayor Marion Barry and then greeted each of the players, and many of their wives, as they got off the plane.
Redskins coach Joe Gibbs quoted Reagan as saying, "Congratulations, you really brought the city together," and players said he offered general congratulations. Reporters were not permitted close enough to hear the president's words. The president's helicopter left Dulles at 7:08.
The team emerged from the plane to cheers from about 75 airport workers who had gathered on the field. An airport fire truck was bedecked with a banner proclaiming: "WELCOME HOME WORLD CHAMPS." Fans were barred from the scene, which was about 100 yards from the Dulles terminal building. After the president's greeting, the Redskins boarded four buses for the trip to nearby Redskins Park, the team's practice and headquarters facility.
There, Gibbs hoisted the gleaming silver Vince Lombardi trophy toward a frenzied crowd of about 400 and shouted: "This is for all of you!"
Many in the crowd had stood in the cold for almost three hours awaiting the team's arrival. But it wasn't too cold to shout and scream as players walked from the buses, waving their arms in victory.
One of the Redskins' most avid fans wasn't screaming. Bobbi Simmons, a security guard at Redskins Park, was so hoarse from yelling in Pasadena yesterday that she could emit little more than a whisper. "We missed all the parties, the band out there couldn't even play 'Hail to the Redskins.' And we couldn't even get close to the players," said Simmons. "But it was worth it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing."
Simmons and her son caught the red-eye night flight from Pasadena to Washington, where one Redskin fan passenger was allowed to grab the stewardess's microphone and blurt out an impromptu rendition of "Hail to the Redskins."
The crowd, which began gathering about 5 p.m., was far less than the 5,000 fans Fairfax County Police said they expected. Police said they thought recommendations broadcast on radio stations that fans not flock to the Redskins' headquarters may have held down the turnout. "A lot of them are just waiting for the parade Wednesday," one police spokesman speculated.
But what the crowd lacked in size it made up in enthusiasm. Fans waved signs declaring "You Stayed the Course" and "John Riggins is God." A sheet lettered "Love Them Hogs" was draped over a county police car.
Susan Milto of Gaithersburg took leave from her job with the Montgomery County School Board to welcome back the team. "It's not near as cold as it was waiting 17 hours in line for the Redskins-Dallas tickets," said Milto. "We'd be out here even if they hadn't won the game."
Six of the most renowned Redskins were not on the plane. John Riggins stayed behind to attend a luncheon for the Super Bowl most valuable player (himself). Joe Theismann, Mark Moseley, Mike Nelms, Tony Peters and Charlie Brown left for Honolulu to compete in the Pro Bowl next Sunday.
The jubilation that accompanied the team's return was an echo of the joyous celebration that followed Sunday night's 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
The partying that clogged Georgetown Sunday night was over by about 3 a.m. At that point, the crowd that numbered as many as 25,000 had dwindled to about 200 die-hards and D.C. police, some wearing helmets and carrying sticks, began insisting that revelers stay on the sidewalks and out of the streets.
By morning rush hour, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, downtown and other areas that were filled the night before with shouting, beer-drenched celebrants in Redskins' colors and Indian garb were generally back to a clear, clean, work-a-day atmosphere, although confetti and some other signs of victory were plentiful.
"Hail to the Champs," said a banner that covered the front of the American Security Bank at Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street NW. Computerized receipts given customers at the Thomas W. Perry building supply store in Chevy Chase bore the more traditional: "Hail to the Redskins."
Some Georgetown residents tied burgundy and gold balloons to the handrail of their stately brick town house. And The Complement, a downtown leather goods store that doled out free aspirin for those who came in with super Super Bowl hangovers, placed a sign on the cash register that said "Riggins for President."
Area police departments reported that 26 persons were arrested Sunday night on such charges as disorderly conduct, destruction of property or assault. There were 13 arrests in Georgetown alone, according to Lt. Calvin J. Wilson.
D.C. police said that at least 40 persons were treated for injuries suffered in the crowds that surged through city streets, hugging, kissing, dancing, drinking, breaking bottles and setting off fireworks. Police said six store windows in the area of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street in Georgetown were broken and that at least five police cars were damaged.
Work crews from the Potomac Electric Power Co. spent the morning repairing three pedestrian walk signals and two traffic lights in Georgetown that were broken or damaged when people climbed them to get a better view of the roving party below.
Cleanup efforts in Georgetown began shortly after 6 a.m. when the city sent in two garbage trucks and another truck with a water-flushing device. Buford Harper, 64, a city street sweeper for seven years, said the streets were in the worst condition he could recall.
Green and brown bits of broken glass glittered in the early morning sun, Harper said, and beer bottles and plastic six-pack rings were strewn on steps, curbs and window ledges.
"It's just their way of letting off steam," Harper said of the fans' reaction, acknowledging that he too tipped a few beers in honor of the victory.
"It was amazing the job the city did cleaning this area up before rush hour," said John Laytham, owner of Clyde's restaurant at 3236 M St. NW.
While many government agencies and private firms reported no problems with absenteeism yesterday, lateness was another matter.
Washington maritime lawyer George Weiner said he walked "gingerly" into his office an hour and a half late after partying until about 1 a.m. in Georgetown. He didn't feel so bad, he said, when he found out his secretary hadn't shown up at all.
The secretary had called to say she was still trying to get back from the game in Pasadena, Weiner said, via a route that would take her by bus from Pasadena to Long Beach, where she would board a plane for Reno, take another plane from Reno to Cincinnati, and then a third to Newark, N.J., where she would board the final plane home to Dulles Airport.
"Lateness was the general rule around here," Weiner said. But the partners in his law firm, Schmeltzer Aptaker & Sheppard, didn't seem to mind; they threw a catered lunch for all the lawyers and secretaries in the firm's conference room in honor of the Redskins' win.
D.C. School Superintendent Floretta D. McKenzie started her regular Monday morning staff meeting on time, but when one female staff member straggled in late, the normally reserved superintendent quipped: "This must be a Redskinette."
At the federal Transportation Department's budget briefing yesterday, the lines on the briefing charts were drawn in burgundy and gold. Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis, who is stepping down from his post, told reporters he wanted to wear a "Love Them Hogs" T-shirt on his last day on the job, but that his press secretary told him that was not "dignified enough."
Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity (R) opened yesterday's meeting of the county supervisors wearing a burgundy and gold knit Redskins cap and proposed a resolution congratulating the team. A sign lettered "We're Number 1" hung from the desk of Supervisor Martha V. Pennino (D-Centreville), who seconded Herrity's resolution with several toots from a horn. The resolution passed.
But the Redskins were unable to win the unanimous congratulations of the Virginia Senate. Fairfax Sen. Joseph V. Gartlan Jr. (D) suggested that the Senate honor the Super Bowl champions, noting that the team is "a source of great pride and joy" to Virginians.
The proposition failed, apparently because the Northern Virginia senators--after playing the Redskins fight song on the Senate floor last week in a rare moment of jollity that some of their colleagues complained was undignified--refused to demand that the matter be put to a vote.