What did Billy Kilmer think of the Redskins on television Monday night?
"Second half, I went to sleep," he said.
It was the Giants' fault, Kilmer quickly added. "They were so bad. They just choked on Monday Night Football. Their coaches had made a big deal out of it. If they were going to win, they had to do it on defense -- and the defense was so bad."
So if anyone believes these rebuilding Redskins are putting America to sleep, if anyone thinks of the Redskins as Valium in cleats -- if anyone thinks these Redskins with their first-down-dive-into-the-line and third-down-pass-seven-yards offense are boring, bo-RING, BORING -- Billy Kilmer is not among their number.
"You can't deny that they've scored 27 points in all three games so far," said the old quarterback, who keeps in shape by lifting a heavy paycheck from the Redskins every other week ($250,000 for the season though the Redskins dropped him from the roster).
"That's better than they've done in the past," Kilmer said.
But, hey.These guys are boring, bo-RING, BORING. Nobody can go deep, nobody can break a long run, nobody terrorizes the opponents' quarterback. These Redskins are strangers in their hometown.
"With George Allen and Billy Kilmer and Ron McDole," said Charlie Brotman, the publicist/sage, "there was a mystique to the Redskins. It's the lying and cheating we're missing out on. Like somebody stealing a cookie out of the cookie jar. Nobody gets hurt, but it sure is exciting. That's gone. Nobody knows these new Redskins or what they're doing.
"They have no personality. When Pete Wysocki was new, he was thought of as a tank. He'd race down like crazy on those suicide squads. Howard Cosell would rave on about him, 'Did you see Wysocki that time?'
"The Redskins don't have that now. Nobody makes the fantastic, unbelieveable catch. Nobody blocks anybody into the seats. Even Joe Theismann has not won over everybody."
Kilmer disagrees with the idea these Redskins have no one capable of excitement.
"They have some pretty good personnel," he said. "They have John Riggins, they have two tackles who are All-Pro material (Terry Hermeling, George Starke), they have Jean Fugett, and Joe Theismann is playing well.
"Joe is letting things happen now. You have to work within the offense, and Joe is doing a good job of that."
What the Redskins are doing, Kilmer said, is the same thing the good Redskin teams of his day did.
"It looks like the Redskins are capitalizing on the other teams' mistakes and not making any of their own," he said. "That's the key to the Redskins so far, not making any mistakes."
But, hey. They ran this dive-into-the-line-on-first-down offense. It was 24-0, Billy. You were asleep by then. It was 24-0 and the people at RFK were still booing.
"It might be dull football," Kilmer said, "but it's winning football. And I don't give a darn if the people don't like it. They like to win, and that's what taking advantage of the other team's mistakes does for you."
At the Hawk and Dove, which is a saloon, Baseball Bill, who is a bartender, said his customers are excited about the new Redskins' enthusiasm. "Playing Houston the way they did (losing only in the last two minutes) was a shock to people who thought the Redskins were bad," Baseball reported. "Everybody is looking to this Sunday with the Cardinals to see how good the Skins really are."
But, Baseball, what was the mood of the fans at RFK on Monday night? Were they bored? Excited? You were there, Baseball, tell us how it was.
"It's pretty tough for me to say, the condition I was in," Baseball reported. "But let me say this: I can't stand Joe Theismann. He stinks. I don't cheer for an egotistic brat. You see that touchdown of his? The way he spiked the ball? It was like a high-school sophomore scoring the first touchdown of his life. Kilmer would've come up with his fist clenched, not spiking any ball."
Dee Starry is a Redskinmaniac, a mother of three who came to love Kilmer while watching TV during a hospital stay eight years ago. She has Kilmer's picture on her family-room wall.
"I'm more tickled with the new Redskins that I thought I'd be, with Billy gone and all," she said. "They really have a lot of enthusiasm -- and I don't boo Joe the way people used to boo Billy. You know who I like? That No. 47. What's his name? Ray Waddy. He really comes out and plays."
Are people in town still devoted to the Redskins even if George Allen isn't stealing from the cookie jar anymore?
"My friend in the row in front of me," Dee Starry said, "is still wearing his Indian headdress to the games. So I guess he figures they're good. And I have to yell, too, because whatever they are, they're still the Redskins."