Quarterback Bob Holly spent his first two years in the National Football League with the Washington Redskins. Yesterday, he tried to have his most significant input on the outcome of any Redskins game in which he has been involved by trying to pass along Washington's visual offensive signals to his current team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Like most other things the Eagles tried in their 20-0 loss at RFK Stadium, Holly's efforts had little impact.
In his two years with Washington, Holly, a Princeton graduate, threw only two passes. After being released during the 1984 preseason, he was picked up by the Eagles. Again he found himself listed as third string.
Yesterday, Holly was more than a sideline observer. Wearing a headset to communicate with coaches sitting above, Holly was trying to steal signals for plays being relayed by Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs' staff to quarterback Joe Theismann.
"We were just trying to give them something to think about," Holly said of his duties. He added that he made more than an occasional gesture.
"They changed some things, but they were making a real good attempt to conceal most of it," Holly said. "They were trying to screen me when they were sending in the signals."
Gibbs said he was well aware of Holly's presence.
"You never want anybody stealing your signals at any time," Gibbs said. "We knew what he was going to be doing, but we took extra precautions today. We had two people switching off giving the signals (as usual), and we changed most of them."
Gibbs would not say if anything slipped by, but in answer to the question, said that the Eagles' pass defense "was pretty impressive." He went on to say he almost hoped Eagles did "steal" a signal.
"Because we changed everything, under the circumstances, if they picked up something that was wrong, it could have been disastrous for them," Gibbs said.
Gibbs did not want to comment on whether the Eagles were being ethical. "You better go ask them about ethics," he said. "They were the ones trying to do it."
Holly said he did not expect to be a major factor in the game's outcome.
"You are not going to win any football games that way," Holly said. "Obviously, it didn't work too well today."