They played and lost a Super Bowl game to the Miami Dolphins 10 years ago, and for many Redskins on that 1972 team, the memories linger. Washington Post staff writers Leonard Shapiro, George Solomon and Ken Denlinger asked a number of players from that team to reflect on their Super Bowl week.
Sonny Jurgensen (then quarterback, now TV sportscaster): I was on crutches at the time, (with a torn Achilles' tendon) and being at the Super Bowl site was the most disappointing time of my whole career.
Before the game, I remember Don Shula walking up to me on the sideline and saying, "It's a shame you're not playing, it would have made it a better game." What a nice thing for a man to say. They stuck me up in a box by myself. I had no contact with Billy (Kilmer) or the players . . . Maybe I could have jabbed somebody with my crutches. I just felt isolated--nothing I could do or say. I think that was by design.
Jim Snowden (then offensive tackle, now in construction business): Everybody was so uptight. It was all new to us. Everything was on a time clock and there was no time you could relax. I was on injured reserve, but I came out with the team. Early in the week, I got caught breaking curfew. We jumped out a second-story motel room. I wasn't alone. Other players were out, too. Yeah, Larry Brown was right behind me. We stayed out the whole night. I was the only one they singled out. George fined me $1,200. I'm still thinking about suing him to get it back.
Then I was told to go home . . . But the players stuck up for me. Len Hauss and Charley Taylor went to George and told him if it's gonna go down that way, we won't practice. So I stayed. It was so ridiculous because I couldn't even play.
Larry Brown (then running back, now executive with Xerox): Snowden said what? Oh, I have no comment on that.
. . . There was a lot of activity the entire week. Some people were nervous in the circus-type environment. When I do think about the game, I go back to thinking about what would have happened if Sonny Jurgensen was available. I don't want to take anything away from Billy, but if Sonny was available for relief that day the Dolphins would not have been able to concentrate so much on defending against me.
What their defensive line did to shut us down was hit our offensive linemen, hold their position and stay in their lanes. They knew I liked cutting back and they felt this was the way to stop me (Brown had 72 yards in 22 carries). If I was offering advice, it would be play the week and game like you would any other during the season.
Mike Bragg (then punter, now punter with Washington Federals): If we'd been playing at home, we wouldn't have had curfews, but we had one there. I think George was a little overwhelmed by the press, too. I also remember representatives of shoe companies constantly coming by to get you to wear their shoes. I could have worn a new shoe for $500, probably more if I'd held out. But I wasn't going to change my kicking shoe at that point. Tickets were also crazy. Each player got 15. I remember being at Redskin Park before we left for L.A. and a guy who said he was a ticket scalper offering us double the face value for each of our tickets. The price went up when we got to California. A lot of money was made that week.
Bob Brunet (then a running back, now restaurant owner): I was reading the book "Semi-Tough" while we were out there and I remember that as much as anything, especially the name of a country tune one of the characters wrote. It was called, "I'm Just a Bug on the Windshield of Life." That's a pretty good description of me at the Super Bowl.
I just remember Jon Jaqua and I walking on the field before the game, just like we always did, trying to get up for it. We couldn't do it. The game was just a void for me. I just felt totally flat out there, and I couldn't understand what was going on. It was a very helpless feeling.
Chris Hanburger (then a linebacker, now a car dealer): If nothing had been said about the hype, we would have been better off. I never felt it. Just before we played the game, everybody was complaining about all the distractions. I felt that the biggest distraction was telling us about the distractions.
Len Hauss (then a center, now a bank loan officer): On balance, 10 years later, it's not as important today as it was back then. Hey, I get up and go to work at 7:30 every morning, just like everybody else.
I remember it being a circus out there, and we were the little kids going for the first time in our lives. Thousands of writers, ticket sellers, scalpers, people coming out of the woodwork. Of course George was telling us this was the biggest game of our lives and I remember thinking, "Wait a minute. That's what you said last week, and the week before that."
We had curfew and the Dolphins didn't. They were treated like men. We were not. At 10:30, we'd be just finishing up our little ice cream sodas and getting ready to leave, and they were just coming in to get their ice cream sodas. During the game we did some things, and they did some things, but we never made adjustments. I don't know why. I just remember we didn't block very well. We had a lot of guys just kinda looking around.
Ron McDole (then a defensive end, now furniture manufacturer): I remember being introduced before the game and being so hyper, but in the game we couldn't get anything done. It was a dull, boring football game. We sorta wallowed around and got nothing accomplished.
Rusty Tillman (then linebacker, now assistant coach with Seattle Seahawks): The hotel we were staying at was a real hot spot. It was the first place we ever stayed where we had a rule that you couldn't go into the hotel bar. It was hooker heaven. A lot of distractions. It was my third year and I was kind of in awe of it all. I never broke a curfew. I stayed in my room. Mo Pottios once told me that if you were a marginal player and George caught you after curfew, you'd get fired or traded. If he needed you, you would play. I wasn't taking any chances.
Ray Schoenke (then offensive tackle/guard, now insurance executive): It was a zoo all week, with lots of distractions. George Allen was very nervous the whole time there. There was enormous pressure and he couldn't handle it. They locked us up the first few days, but finally let us have a little movement.
Winning the NFC was such a high, and because we beat Dallas we believed we were better than Miami. An air of overconfidence crept in. But once we hit L.A., the whole thing went to the winds. During the game, Miami had three guys laying for Larry Brown on every play. It was panicksville. We never adjusted.