Speaking of money, as we will be, will Joe Theismann want a new deal with the Redskins? He signed a four-year contract before last season, possibly worth $1.4 million. Since then, there was a Super Bowl. And verified salary figures showed him only 17th highest paid among quarterbacks. Might Theismann figure, as some opportunists have, that a world championship after a spectacular season is reason to ask for big bucks piled high?
"I don't want to start over," Theismann said. "I'm not asking for anything. After all, it is obvious that I play for love of the game and not money."
This last was a wry reference to those published salary numbers, but in fact Theismann said he is content, if not satisfied, with the deal he made with Jack Kent Cooke. He won't try a holdup, partly because he knows the Redskins once refused to renegotiate with John Riggins, but mostly because, "I signed the contract, too."
"I'm better than quarterbacks making a lot more money," Theismann said yesterday. "Dan Fouts wants $1 million a year and I think every man is worth every cent he gets paid. But he's not that much better than me. A million dollars? I'm not making a third of that and I think I'm as good as anybody.
"Jim Plunkett won the Super Bowl and Oakland gave him a new contract. Joe Montana won the Super Bowl and San Francisco gave him a new contract. But I'm not asking for anything here. When I made the deal with Mr. Cooke, I was happy with it and I'll stick with it.
"Nobody took advantage of me. I just had no alternative. I was a slave. Mr. Cooke is a shrewd businessman and, under the circumstances, he made a good deal and so did I.
Here came the imp in Theismann, smiling.
"I would love it if Mr. Cooke called and said he's decided to give me a new contract. If he wants to call, I'll be glad to listen. I'll even mail him the 20 cents."
Along with other veterans, Theismann reported to Redskin Park yesterday for medical examinations. What happens if you ask Theismann where he's been since the Super Bowl is that it's easier to ask him where he hasn't been.
He has not spoken to the Sherpa Kiwanis Club on the summit of Mount Everest. Nor has he been to the Vatican to send the pope on a fly pattern. He avoided rural outbacks, such as Texas, and he was at Redskin Park only as a pit stop on his way to . . . "Where will you appear next?" someone said in an Ed McMahon, plug-your-show voice.
"I've been to the Academy Awards and the Kentucky Derby (Theismann begins). I've made one TV pilot--'America's Heroes, The Athlete Chronicles.' I'm working on an instructional football film for kids. I'm working on a movie, 'Cannonball II,' with Burt and a cast of thousands, that begins filming in June in Vegas and Hollywood.
"Since Feb. 14 (we pause here for a breath), I've made 45 appearances. Normal would be 15 or 20. I'm representing Kraft macaroni and cheese, Hutch sporting goods, Pro-Keds and, of course, Canon. And I did a commercial for Sports Illustrated that airs May 16.
"I'm going to take acting lessons this fall, I've got a poster coming out, I've redone my quarterbacking book now that I'm an authority. First time I did the book, I did it as a punt returner and kick holder. I was on the cover of Vogue's European edition with a little fashion layout inside.
"Appearances coming up? Sometimes I make two a day, such as on May 17 when I'll be in Atlantic City and Toronto and be home that night, thanks to a private plane I charter along the Eastern Seaboard, to be up at 4:30 the next morning for my radio show the next morning on WPGC, 95.5 FM and 1580 on your AM dial."
What happens if you ask Theismann if he enjoys all this is that you should ask and then stand back because here comes an avalanche of joy.
"I doubt if any man alive enjoyed winning a Super Bowl more than me. I enjoy it every day, like every day was the last day there'd ever be. If you work hard, you can double your salary in the offseason after winning a Super Bowl. I've never minded working hard. Moss can never grow under your feet if your feet don't touch the ground."
Theismann isn't worried that last year's success will spoil the Redskins this time.
"I let Joe Gibbs worry about those things. He'll be worrying about that from now on. I'm having too much fun to worry. What we have to, all of us, is forget about what happened last year. But we do have credence now that we can win."
As for Theismann, who will be 34 Sept. 9 and is coming off his best season, he thinks he can play until he's 40.
"I can play another six, seven years. Or I might not play another one year."
"If a big business opportunity came along, and if my love of the game wasn't what it is right now--well, maybe somebody could along with a monetary compensation offer I couldn't turn down."
But right now he's planning to play the rest of his Redskins contract.
"Yeah, three more years--until I'm 400 years old."
He exited laughing.