Owner Berl Bernhard watched from a box at Veterans Stadium. Team President Jim Gould stayed in Washington and watched on a 50-inch television screen. Their points of view differed but both men were in perfect agreement about the Federals' 34-3 loss to the Stars in Philadelphia Sunday.
"We have to get our act together," Bernhard said.
"They ran circles around us," Gould said. "We looked pathetic."
The Federals have lost four of their five games. While Bernhard and Gould can point to a cushion of 19,000 season tickets sold and a city that has a history of patience and loyalty to the Redskins, both know that the Federals cannot afford to continue losing over the long run.
"A day like (Sunday) could hurt us," said Bernhard. "It all depends on whether people take the view that we're making progress or backsliding. We have the obligation to show that we are making every effort to get better. That's our burden.
"If we didn't try to improve, the fans would just say, 'That's a dogeared operation.' But for years the Redskins lost a lot of games and the fans stuck with them and you know what happened. I believe in my gut that by the end of the season people are going to look at us and say we had problems in the beginning but we stuck it out, improved and became winners."
Gould said he's "not that excited about being on national television until we improve and get (quarterback Mike) Hohensee and (running back Craig) James back from injuries.
"We played well in two games, the win against Michigan and the game with Boston. The other three games we were terrible and they were on national or regional television. That hasn't hurt us yet, but it could."
Bernhard and Gould said they expect a crowd of 30,000 Monday night when the Federals play the Arizona Wranglers at RFK. They plan a halftime show with fireworks and are hoping for clear weather, something they did not have in two previous home games.
"We're assuming 30,000 people will be there because it's a happening," said Gould. "We're promoting this thing regardless of winning or losing. If we were in any city other than Washington, a day like Sunday would affect us dramatically. We promote this planning for the worst."
Bernhard said the Federals profit by the great interest in professional football generated by the Redskins. But the news that Jack Kent Cooke may soon control the subletting of the stadium has not overjoyed the USFL team.
Attorney Stuart J. Long, a member of the Armory Board, met with Gould, General Manager Dick Myers and Federals general counsel Howell Begle yesterday to discuss possible modifications of the team's lease.
"We don't know how far along Cooke is with the Armory Board," said Bernhard. "But the bottom line for us in any case is that we have a valid lease that protects our dates, whether or not a baseball team comes in or not."
"We told (Long) that we wouldn't stand in anybody's way, but we don't want to be a tenant that gets pushed around," Begle said.
As they have each Monday for the past five weeks, the Federals said they would be seeking new players. Gould said they would be looking at more running backs, offensive linemen and linebackers. Myers said a trade would be made for a defensive player this week.
No one realizes more than Gould that the pattern of losing a game and then promising improvements can get tiresome. Gould's reputation in the league has been as an aggressive, sometimes impatient executive--a sprinter. The past five weeks have been humbling.
"We all have to learn some patience, I guess," Gould said.
Herschel Walker, in his best performance of the season, ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns in Tempe, Ariz., as the New Jersey Generals won their first USFL game, beating the Arizona Wranglers, 35-21, Sunday night.
Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner out of Georgia who had just 261 yards in the Generals' first four games, gained 100 yards for the first time as a pro on 33 carries.
His 19-yard scoring run midway through the third quarter erased a 14-13 halftime deficit and put New Jersey (1-4) ahead for good. Arizona (2-3) lost its second straight.