Make it Washington 27, Dallas 17. Say Joe Theismann throws one touchdown pass to Joe Washington and finds Charlie Brown for two more, sending the Fun Bunch into suborbital flight. Mark Moseley kicks two from 40 yards. The Cowboys score first, Danny White going deep to Tony Hill, but Dexter Manley picks up a fumble by Tony Dorsett to start the Redskins on the way back. Film at 11.
This is one of those rare games that get the ol' ticker to ticking faster than you can count the ticks. The little men working down there in the pump room go on overtime. "Either he's carrying a piano upstairs or the Cowboys are coming to town," one little pumper said, wiping his brow.
Yes, the cursed Cowboys have darkened our doorstep again, and not a moment too soon. It is exquisitely right that the Redskins and Cowboys should meet with a championship at stake. Clearly the two best teams in the National Conference, they are the descendants of ancient feuders named Lilly and Staubach, Talbert and Kilmer.
So here we have skill. We have mythology. We have, for crying out loud, Richard Nixon calling somebody else tricky. (He warned Joe Gibbs, on a radio call-in show, to beware of "a trick play" that Tom Landry might use.)
What we have, most of all, is a bunch of fun about to happen at RFK Stadium, and for that we ought to thank, among others, the Fun Bunch. For unfortunates captive in Texas who don't know the Fun Bunch, here's an introduction to Redskin receivers Rick Walker, Charlie Brown, Clarence Harmon, Otis Wonsley, Don Warren, Alvin Garrett and Virgil Seay.
Any time one of them scores a touchdown, the rest come running from all directions to meet in the end zone, where they perform a rite of celebration so delightful, so child-like, that once you see it you want to have a picture of it, to prove to folks that however much money these guys make, they still are kids having fun.
Oh, maybe a lump of coal is harder than a sportswriter's heart. But not much else. We have heard too much drivel about togetherness and how much the players love each other. Long ago, our ears went closed at the sound of such words.
Yet, true confession time, these Redskins have convinced at least one set of ears that it's worth listening to such testimony right now. This convincing was started by the hallowed Hogs. They are young, new to success, and they share it. The convincing was finished by the Fun Bunch, not so much by what they said (although we'll get to that, too) as by the celebrations they've put on in the end zone the last two weeks.
First, the fellow scoring the touchdown waits for everybody to arrive.
They gather in a circle, all these kiddies in their football outfits.
They bring their arms up to chest level, crossing them at the wrists in a secret-clubhouse signal that means "togetherness" (according to Walker, "president" of the Bunch).
They do that arm-swinging bit twice.
Meanwhile, the RFK fans are loving it, cheering like mad.
Then the Fun Bunchers leap as high as they can for a communal sky-high high-five.
"It's something different," Brown said. "Like Butch Johnson (of Dallas) has the California Quake after his touchdowns. What I like about ours is that it's not an individual thing. It's a team thing. And all the fans get into it, too. It makes us want to score, that's for sure, so we can get everybody involved and get RFK going wild."
No California Quake, no Whiteshoes wiggle-waggle, none of this showboat-I-got-mine stuff. These Redskins were 0-5 early last season. They were 0-4 this preseason, after which a coal-hearted sportswriter (blush) said they were five years away from the Super Bowl. Joe Gibbs preaches a one-for-all attitude, anyway, but it is easier to sell that sermon to an 0-5 and 0-4 team than one (the Cowboys, for instance) so accustomed to success that a receiver (Butch Johnson, say) scoots away from his teammates for his silly Quake.
The Fun Bunch's roots are in team calisthenics. Those fellows stand in the same line. It fell to Walker last season to be the jokester there. "Chemistry," Walker said, "is important, and you gotta be loose, having fun, to have good chemistry."
Then when star receiver Art Monk was injured three weeks ago, President Walker called a meeting of the Fun Bunch before calisthenics the week of the first playoff game. Gotta take up the slack. Gotta do something extra to make up for Art being out. What can we do, guys?
Well, brains began to storm.
They'd always used that crossed-arm sign, like a signal you used to give to gain entry to the tree house. What they needed now, Walker thought, was a way to bring the Fun Bunch together while doing something positive for the entire team.
Thus was born the gather-round, secret-sign, sky-high high-five.
"It's an incentive to score," said Harmon.
"We wanted to set a tone for the playoffs," Brown said, "and it inspires the whole team."
"A team together is hard to beat, is what Coach Joe Gibbs says," Wonsley said, "and a team apart will always lose."
"It shows we have no individual superstars; we're just a team," Garrett said.
The oldest of these Fun Bunchers is Walker, 27, a six-year NFL veteran who has been places and seen things.
"The high-five thing, it's the most unselfish act I've ever been associated with in pro sports," he said. "When anybody scores, I feel like I scored. When Alvin Garrett scores, we feel like we're all part of it. We've rehearsed that play a hundred times in practice together. I've taken somebody out of the coverage. I've done my part to help Alvin Garrett, and Alvin Garrett did his part to help me."
Walker laughed. "Maybe it's me, but I get terribly excited about scoring a touchdown. I don't take it for granted. You score a touchdown in the NFL, you've earned it. Those guys on defense aren't falling down, aren't tripping. And we're scoring touchdowns. Then it's time to have fun all in a bunch."