The Washington Redskins, all but enveloped by screaming, dancing, crazy-in-love fans, returned home last night to a Super Bowl heroes' welcome that will culminate tomorrow in a victory parade up Pennsylvania Avenue, a rally at the District Building and a reception at the White House.
The team, returning from its 42-10 rout of the Denver Broncos in San Diego, landed at Dulles International Airport at 7:25 p.m. and quickly boarded three buses for Redskin Park in nearby Herndon. There, 2,000 die-hard, burgundy and gold-garbed Redskins lovers greeted the returning champs with banners proclaiming their devotion.
"We are fans forever and always," said Stephanie Buck, a Sterling resident who showed up at Redskin Park with her husband Ron, the couple's four young children and a video camera to record the team's arrival.
"The Washington Redskins represent everybody. They went to the Super Bowl, and they did it for us. They are our team. We love them," she said
As the buses pulled up to the throng, fans began to chant, "We want Doug! We want Doug!" Limping and grinning, Redskins quarterback Doug Williams stepped to the pavement, declaring, "Hey, man, this is great."
Williams, who was injured early in the game but returned to give a record-breaking performance that earned him most valuable player honors, also was packing a video camera, which he turned on the crowd and the media.
"Coming home to a crowd like this, it gives you a lot to think about," he said. "It's a great feeling. All I can say is, it's super."
That's the same adjective 24-year-old Darrell Jackson of Manassas had for Williams.
"He did it for the team and for the fans," Jackson said. "I felt up, proud of being black. Not for prejudiced reasons, but it just felt good."
Still smitten with the Redksins and undeterred by a broken ankle, former Bethesda resident Carol Thomas came all the way from Macon, Ga., where she has lived 14 years.
"If I had two bad legs, I'd still be here," she said.
Tomorrow's parade, with the Redskins riding in tourmobiles, is expected to get under way about 11 a.m., according to District government officials who are organizing the event.
The procession, including at least five bands, will form at Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW and march up the avenue to the District Building, where a rally is scheduled for 12:15 p.m.
Unlike the practically balmy temperatures of Super Bowl Sunday, however, weather forecasters say tomorrow's celebration could be a soggy one, with rain and temperatures in the 40s.
President Reagan, who watched the game Sunday with about 40 friends, has invited the team to a 2 p.m. congratulatory reception at the White House.
The president also directed Constance Horner, who heads the Office of Personnel Management, to encourage the granting of administrative leave to federal workers so that they may attend the victory parade.
District government workers will be excused from work between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to take part in the festivities.
After a night of nonstop partying that lasted into the wee hours for many, the town that loves football tried -- but not too hard -- to return to normal yesterday.
"I'm celebrating and I'll keep on celebrating, at least through Wednesday," said Jim Kinsey, 28, who got in his car with two buddies yesterday morning and criss-crossed the downtown area, honking his horn and waving a burgundy and gold "We're #1" glove from his window.
The three friends, who said they were "in between jobs," couldn't stop talking about and rejoicing in the team's stunning, come-from-behind win over the Broncos. And, like much of Washington, they didn't see why they should curb their enjoyment.
"There's only been one guy who said I was celebrating a bit too long, and he was about 85," said Kinsey, who let out another victory howl as he sped off down F Street NW.
One of the Redskins' biggest fans, D.C. Council member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), said the San Diego victory was especially sweet because the city has been hard-pressed lately for good news.
"Between drugs and murders and snow and everything else, I needed this," said Wilson, who confessed to having had a tension headache "from Thursday until halftime" because of Super Bowl stress.
"Sunday afternoon in the first quarter I just lost it," said Wilson, recalling the horror he felt as the team fell behind 10 points. "I went and threw up and came back, but I got awfully well at halftime."
Wilson said his muscles have been sore since the playoffs two weeks ago when "I felt like I played the whole game." They got another nervous workout Sunday. "I live and die with this team, I truly do," he said.
So do local and national merchandisers.
General Mills, the manufacturers of Wheaties, said 1 million boxes of the specially packaged "Breakfast of Champions" cereal should begin arriving in area supermarkets this week. They will carry pictures of the team and a tribute to its victory.
The company, according to spokesman Bill Shaffer, took 24,000 boxes of Wheaties -- more than 12 tons of flakes -- to the Super Bowl. Half of the packages featured the Redskins as champions while the other half celebrated a Broncos victory.
Only the Redskin boxes were distributed at the stadium.
"Midway through the fourth quarter, the Bronco boxes were trucked out of town with a police escort," said Shaffer, who said the contents would be donated to a food bank on behalf of the Denver team.
One fan, David Thompson of Upper Marlboro, returned from San Diego with two commemorative boxes. He said they were fast becoming collector's items and reported that he knew someone who had paid $28 for the souvenir.
Locally, Jerry Castelli, owner of the National Locker Room on Pennsylvania Avenue, said he expected to have his store stocked with new Redskins victory memorabilia by today. He started drafting his own inventory game plan after the playoffs.
Dominque's Restaurant put out a news release, advertising that it would be discounting everyone's dinner check last night by 32 percent in honor of the Redskins' 32-point margin of victory.
But Dave Bond, owner of the Wash Fair car wash in Springfield, went the other merchants one better.
He is promising a free "Hog Wash" tomorrow to anyone who pulls in wearing Redskin paraphernalia.
"I'm so caught up in it, and I'm going to pay the price," said Bond. "A bumper sticker, a hat, a button, that's all it takes as long as it's something with Redskins on it."
Restaurants yesterday reported that Redskin fans generally fell into two groups: those who showed up wearing the team colors and those who didn't show up at all.
"The diehard fans were either totally dressed or totally absent," said Paul Meagher, the bartender at the Hawk and Dove on Capitol Hill. "We think some of our regular customers celebrated a little too much last night."
D.C. police reported 20 arrests among the estimated 100,000 who spilled into the streets of Georgetown and elsewhere Sunday night after the team's triumph.
Most of those arrested were charged with disorderly conduct, though four persons were charged with robbery and two with assaulting police officers.
One man was shot in the leg in the 2900 block of M Street and was in stable condition at George Washington University Medical Center, police said.
And some Georgetown merchants said the windows of their shops were broken and thousands of dollars worth of goods stolen during the night's revelry.
Another football casualty was Joanne Baxter, a 23-year-old visitor from New Zealand.
She said she joined the throng at Wisconsin Avenue and M Street to get a firsthand look at an American tradition.
"Some guy who had climbed a street lamp fell on me and broke my ankle," said Baxter, who leaves for home Friday with a game souvenir she hadn't counted on.
Such injuries aside, the Redskins victory was taken to heart by almost everyone, as though each area fan had played in the Super Bowl personally.
"We very seldom get the chance to go crazy over anything," said Wilson. "This is one of the things you feel good about in Washington. I look forward to every Sunday, and I don't know what I'm going to do next Sunday."
Staff writers John Ward Anderson, Dana Priest and Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.