SAN DIEGO, JAN. 29 -- In a rare appearance together the other day, Denver Broncos Coach Dan Reeves and Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs sat side by side -- same wire-rim glasses, same gray suit, same hairdo -- and fantasized about Sunday's Super Bowl.
Reeves: "We'll be waiting for a screen pass right before the half."
Gibbs: "You won't get it."
So, apparently, "Rocket Screen," is no longer a part of the Redskins game plan, not after what happened in Super Bowl XVIII when that errant screen pass landed in Jack Squirek's lap.
Squirek, a Los Angeles Raiders linebacker, intercepted quarterback Joe Theismann's lob, pranced into the end zone with time running out in the first half, and the Raiders led, 21-3. In the second half, defensive tackle Dave Butz remembers praying for the game to end, hoping the Raiders wouldn't drop a pass, so the clock would keep running.
The final was 38-9, and Dexter Manley remembers: "Afterward, it was like a hurricane blew through the hotel. Seemed like everybody was mad. Trash in the hotel was laying around. Hotel rooms were smashed. I remember saying, 'When did the hurricane come through?'
"That's the way I remember it. Everyone got up early that next morning, and it was like someone had been really ticked off. It was like Black Monday."
To avoid a repeat performance, the 16 current Redskins who lived through that game are telling the young guys to watch out.
"I'm counting on our 16 players, myself and our coaches to portray that horrible feeling to everyone else on our team," Gibbs said today.
The Broncos were thrashed by the New York Giants, 39-20, in last year's Super Bowl, and that's still in their minds.
"It seems the last two weeks, the attitude has been one of, 'We've still got a job to do,' " Reeves said today. "We're not satisfied with just being here. We want to try to win this thing and avoid the disappointment of the previous year."
Check Out Those Moves
Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke arrived Thursday. Of course, his entourage needed hotel rooms at the Redskins headquarters, so the Redskins' injured reserve players (kicker Jess Atkinson, tackle Dan McQuaid and so on) are across the street at the Bahia Hotel. The Bahia isn't as nice, and some have taken to calling it, "The Bates Motel." . . .
The Redskins aren't ones to break routine, so they will be served donuts before their practice Saturday. The donuts are just one of several rituals. The team will play volleyball Saturday morning, using a goal post as the net, and have hamburgers and ice cream sundaes Saturday night . . .
Gibbs, explaining his final preparations for Sunday's game, said he will hold a staff meeting and ask each assistant coach to write down what he would call on the first 1st and 10 sitution of the game, the first second and long situation and so on. Gibbs takes each suggestion and then comes up with the plays he feels are best . . .
Gibbs on what he and defensive end Dexter Manley talked about when Manley walked out of the media session Thursday: "He thought people probably were trying to bait him into saying something, probably trying to set him up. I told him to go in there and say that, if he felt it." . . .
Reeves said the Broncos will hold a players' chapel service 4 1/2 hours before the game. The Redskins-Broncos service Saturday night is more for Denver players' family and friends, Reeves said, although some players might show up.
Gibbs said the Redskins will have only the one service Saturday night, and he expects any players who want to go to attend with the Broncos. Because the service is open to the public, a huge crowd is expected.
Staff writer Christine Brennan contributed to this report.