Mark Moseley found a green floral wreath awaiting him above his locker after he returned from kicking the extra point with 21 seconds to play that gave the National Football Conference All-Stars a 20-19 victory over their AFC counterparts today at Aloha Stadium. Somehow it seemed significant.
On the worst kicking day of his career, the NFL player of the year still managed to come through when it counted the most for the embattled NFC team. In the pocketbook.
And don't make light of this fact:
The NFL, by doubling the pot for today's game, left no doubt that both teams would be in there trying until the last seconds. By his kick, which flew straight through the uprights, Moseley assured his teammates of taking home $10,000 each, compared to $5,000 for the very angry losers.
Moseley, a key component of Washington's Super Bowl champion team, got his chance when Danny White of Dallas hit Green Bay's John Jefferson with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left to tie the score.
A smile played across Moseley's face as he looked at the floral arrangement. He had no idea who his benefactor was. But he knew it could have had a very different significance if he had missed. Like a funeral arrangement.
"I picked a (great) day to be off," said Moseley. "There's no doubt it was the worst game I've ever had. I have never missed so many."
Moseley missed field goals of 27, 48 and 49 yards and had one of 33 yards blocked while making two. But he wasn't making any excuses after the game.
"I didn't realize how tired I really was until the fourth quarter," said Moseley, who also was kicking off for the first time all season. "The heat really got to me. There are no excuses. You have to make those field goals. Maybe next year I will."
Moseley, who had kicked a 41-yarder with 3:54 left in the fourth quarter to pull the NFC to within 19-13, got his chance when White, who split time with Joe Theismann of the Redskins, rallied the NFC on a 65-yard drive in nine plays, ending with the pass to Jefferson.
Jefferson had set up the touchdown with a leaping 14-yard grab on the play before, on fourth down. Moseley then kicked the point for the winning margin.
Moseley's first miss had been a chip shot from 27 yards and it came following an opening drive sparked by Theismann's passing. Theismann connected twice with Green Bay's James Lofton for seven and 16 yards and once to Dallas' Tony Dorsett for 16. However, Theismann's third-down pass to Lofton in the end zone was batted down and Moseley pushed the field goal to the right.
The AFC then cranked up to go ahead, 9-0, on a 34-yard pass play from San Diego's Dan Fouts to Wesley Walker of the New York Jets and a safety when Theismann was tackled in the end zone by Kansas City's Art Still.
The NFC cut it to 9-7 on a three-yard run by Atlanta's William Andrews following a 38-yard pass-interference call on a Theismann throw intended for Lofton.
Moseley made it 10-9 on a 35-yard field goal before San Diego's Rolf Benirschke put the AFC ahead, 12-10, just before the half on a 29-yard field goal.
Theismann completed passes of 23 and 14 yards to set up a 48-yard field goal try by Moseley in the third quarter, but it, too, was wide right. Fouts then directed the AFC on a 69-yard touchdown march climaxed by Marcus Allen's one-yard run. Moseley's subsequent 41-yard field goal put the NFC in position to win.
White said the touchdown pass to Jefferson came on a play devised in the huddle.
"We kind of played sandlot football at the end," said White. "We devised the play in the huddle on coverages they were playing. It took about a minute to call the play because I had to tell everybody where to go. We got to call only one play, not two. Fortunately, it worked."
Theismann, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 102 yards, said he hasn't called his own plays since 1977. "I was like a kid in a candy store," he said. "I looked round and I had Charlie Brown to throw to and Jefferson and Dwight Clark, James Lofton and Jimmie Giles. Then I see Dorsett, Billy Sims and I said, 'Gee whiz, what do I do?' It was great. A lasting experience. I could stand playing in a few more of these games."
Tony Peters of the Redskins played a solid game at defensive back. He even found it nice to be surrounded by Cowboys, for a change. "It was good to get to know the Dallas guys," said Peters, who had three unassisted tackles and one assist. "I especially liked Danny White. He made me $5,000 richer."
However, there was one unhappy Redskins player, receiver Brown, who felt he was kind of a loser. "I was upset that I didn't play more . . . A player of my ability should have played more. I didn't like it and I'm sure the fans in Washington won't stand for it . . ."
The NFL has extended its Pro Bowl contract with the Aloha Bowl through 1987, adding two years to the present agreement.