There were no Super Bowl predictions yesterday from owner Jack Kent Cooke, just a message about winning that he sent loud and clear to his Redskin employes and to his frequent critic, Ed Garvey of the NFL Players Association.
We have but one object and that is to win," proclaimed Cooke near the end of the annual Redskin Welcome Home Luncheon at the Washington Sheraton. "There is not a man in the Redskin organization who wants to win more than I do, not one. Winning is the ticket, it is pure joy, winning is ecstasy and there is no worthy substitute."
Cooke then referred to the claim by Garvey, who was sitting nearby on the podium, that NFL owners are making so much money they don't care about winning.
"There is a crazy rumor going around that owners don't give a damn about winning because they are too bloody busy counting their shekels.
"I can tell you the rumor is full of bilge, bunkum and hogwash. I want to win, I want to win badly. And I can tell you I hardly have been kept busy counting the shekels coming in because of the Redskins.
"So don't believe any of that absolutely bloody nonsense that you might hear."
But when it came to the Redskins and winning this season, Cooke was much less specific.
After admitting he made an "an absolutely calamitous mistake" last year with his Super Bowel prediction, he said he thought Washington would have a "good year. But notice, I'm not saying a great year, because we are rebuilding with youth. It will bear fruit in time to come."
This was the first Welcome Home Luncheon since Cooke fired Jack Pardee, hired Joe Gibbs, then sat back and watched Gibbs and General Manager Bobby Beathard remake the team. For the majority of those in attendence yesterday, this was their first chance to see all the new people up close and meet them personally.
Those fans saved their loudest applause for fullback John Riggins, back after a year's absence over a contract dispute.
There was also another very familiar figure in attendance, Edward Bennett Williams, the team president who has become a figurehead since Cooke decided to take over day-to-day direction of the organization.
Williams, always the oratorical highlight of this function, was in top form, especially when discussing his relationship with Cooke, who is the club's chairman of the board.
Williams said this was his 17th luncheon as president of the Redskins. In that time, he has survived "five presidents of the United States, six vice presidents, six head coaches, seven general managers. But I've never survived the chairman of the board.
"Being president of the Redskins is really a microcosm of life. With the passage of time, you experience a diminution of power."
As the crowd laughed and applauded, Williams continued:
"I have now become a ceremonial appendage. It is now my sole function to introduce the chairman of the board at these homecoming functions."
Williams said he often is asked how he has adjusted to his new duties.
"I've adjusted completely," he said. "I've adjusted splendidly. Every night I sleep like a baby. I sleep for an hour and I cry for an hour."
Then he introduced Cooke.
"We want to reach beyond the ultimate," Cooke said about the Redskin future. "And the ultimate is 16 wins, no defeats and not a bloody point scored against the Redskins.
"This year, we have to settle for less."
Cooke said he, Gibbs and Beathard already have sat down and reviewed the schedule to decide on a probable record for the season. He wouldn't say what the final prediction was, but later said the club would rely on a "lightning air attack and a defense as tough as a $1 steak."
Earlier in the luncheon, Mayor Marion Barry said that he wanted to make a wager with the mayor of Dallas about the season-opening game against the Cowboys, because "this team is going to beat the hell out of them this year." He asked the players not to let him down, because "this city doesn't have a lot of money and we can't afford to lose any of it."
When it came time for Gibbs to speak, he immediately commented on the bet.
"We don't need any bets; we don't need any threats," he said with a big smile. "We don't want to wake Dallas up. Just leave them lying there."
Gibbs said he would like to predict how good the Redskins will be this year, "but I don't have any idea. It's as big a mystery to me as it is to you."
The Redskin Alumni Association, which runs the luncheon, honored Lemar Parrish as the club's most valuable player in 1980. Parrish accepted the award, then brought the rest of the Redskin secondary -- Joe Lavender, Tony Peters and Mark Murphy -- to the microphone for applause.
The association presented a check for $11,400 to the Special Olympics. The money was earned at its annual golf tournament.
The Redskins practiced before going to the luncheon. Gibbs again wasn't pleased with what he saw. The offense continues to be sluggish, even against the second-team defense. At one point, he admonished the offensive players, warning them to get better to avoid embarrassing themselves.
Defensive end Coy Bacon was pulled out of a drill by Torgy Torgeson, the defensive line coach. Torgeson followed Bacon into the locker room, they talked briefly and Bacon returned a few minutes later. . . Receiver Virgil Seay has made some impressive catches this week in his bid to hold onto a roster spot.