Long after his coaches and players were deep into their celebration of the Redskins' victory in Super Bowl XVII, Joe Gibbs still was at the Rose Bowl Sunday night, trying to find his wife Pat.

"I lost her," Gibbs said today, laughing about the episode. "I thought she was going to wait for me, but when she saw everyone get on team and staff buses, she panicked and got on one, too. I didn't know it. I came out of the locker room and couldn't find her. I searched everywhere in the Rose Bowl for her.

"During the week, they had told me something about a Super Bowl celebration party after the game, but you know me, I'm in a cloud thinking about the game, and I couldn't remember where the party was. I didn't know what was going on. But that is where she was."

Gibbs said he asked the police to help him locate Pat, and was ready to file a missing person's report. The two finally made connections around 2 a.m. this morning.

"One of the happiest days of our lives and this happened," said Gibbs, smiling. "I ate my celebration meal in Bob's Big Boy. People were looking at me, saying, 'What is he doing here, after winning a game like that?' "

Gibbs said he really didn't enjoy Super Bowl week that much, because of the tension and demands surrounding the game. "But now I'm going to settle down and have a fun time."

Charlie Brown said his fourth-period touchdown reception "was the kind of catch Raymond Berry used to make." Brown said he thought he could be "one of the best wide receivers in this league . . . I think I can do what they can do even better, but I shouldn't say that."

Sixteen Redskins become free agents Tuesday, including Mark Murphy, John Riggins and Tony Peters. Washington already has sent all of them the appropriate qualifying offer to retain their rights . . . Gibbs said the Redskins still realize they have to continue a "common sense" building program, and could use the draft to help any number of positions . . . Riggins wound up gaining 42 percent of the Redskins' playoff yardage by running 51 percent of their playoff plays. His season total, including playoffs, was 1,163 yards in 12 games (he sat one out). That is an unofficial one-season career high, topping his 1979 total of 1,153 yards. He gained 610 yards in four playoff games, and 553 yards in eight regular-season games.

While most Redskins returned home on the team charter today, five went on to Honululu and the Pro Bowl: Joe Theismann, Mike Nelms, Peters, Mark Moseley and Brown.