This is a 21 part fictionalized story about my beloved football team's quest for the mythical Super Bowl Three-peat.
The Washington Redskins are my thing.
They are my favorite team to write about, to be around, the team I made the least fun of. I’ve even designed my own database system of all the players, a database the Washington Tribune wants to buy from me for posterity. Someday. In fact, someday I want to write a decent history of the Redskins -- there has never been a good one -- but that would be when I’m too old to give one shit about what anybody thought or said.
I could name every all-pro as far back as Cliff Battles, and even the linemen. It wasn’t enough for me to know all the quarterbacks, I could name all the back-ups. Who else but me could tell you that the famous quarterback, “Slingin’” Sammy Baugh, was the first player to intercept 30 passes in a ‘Skins uniform. I could name Ray Flaherty’s backfield back in ‘42 -- Baugh, Farkas, and Hare. No one remembers Cece Hare. If you wanted to bet me that Charlie Taylor was the only Redskins to catch 15 touchdown passes in a season, you would lose. Nobody caught more than 12, which was shared by Taylor in ‘66 and Jerry Smith in ‘67.
Why the Redskins?
I much preferred the Redskins over any of the pros playing for Washington. Redskin players were more cooperative, entertaining, and intelligent than your average Bullets or Caps. I’m sure you could trace my zeal back to growing up in Virginia where people would routinely reject Jesus after another loss, even though Sonny Jergenson managed to hit every receiver on the field.
In any case, I was continually on the road and fully absorbed with the Washington Redskins all through the fall and winter seasons. While the naive thickwits at the Washington Post were doing pieces on the origin of the facemask, a Canadian goalie, or a Georgetown prospect, I was off doing columns on things that mattered more than the nation’s economy, games that had an affect on every questions everyone would be asking in every mailrooms, cubicles, and law offices in DC.
When John Riggins finally landed from his back-to-back Super Bowl high to tell me that he’s decided to stay for another year, I immediately drove over to Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke and Coach Joe Gibbs to ask for an exclusive backstage/VIP/locker-room pass to all Redskins games. Jack had read and enjoyed my articles for many years and I’ve been around Joe long enough for him to comfortably swear in front of me that I was fairly confident of what their answers would be.
All Jack did was make a few phone calls and Joe basically showed me where in the locker room I can put my things. So why did I do this? Why would I want to exclusively cover a team that is probably so overly confident, so maniacally egotistical, and arrogantly full of themselves? A simple answer would be: they’re not any of those things.
Three Straight Super Bowl Wins
For as many years I’ve watched, read, and spoken to the players about the Packers, Dolphins, and the Steelers winning back-to-back Super Bowls and never making a third appearance, there’s been only one common denominator: the odds. Yes. That’s it.
Once a top seeded team is in the playoffs, they’re no longer playing against the average NFL team. They are playing against one of the other 3 best teams in their conference -- they get the bye, so 2 teams have been eliminated. We’ll give them a 75% chance of winning their first game, a 65% chance of winning their second game (you could reverse this if you have a tougher Divisional Round opponent for whatever reason), and a 55% chance to win the Super Bowl -- neutral field, no home field advantage. Using these numbers, if you are the best team in the NFL, you have a 26.8% chance of winning the Super Bowl -- some years this will be a bit low, other years maybe a bit high. Now let’s ignore all of the things that are going to work against you in staying the best team; injuries, retirements, free agency, other teams drafting better, etc. Let’s say that you remain the best team for two more years. Your chance of winning 3 consecutive Super Bowls would be 1.93%. This is a once every 50 year event. Again, this assumes that you remain the best team in the NFL for all three years, which is very unlikely. Until now.
In just a little over a decade, the back-to-back Super Bowl Champions, Washington Redskins, have a chance for the improbable, or should I say it, the inevitable. With not one single top-tier player leaving the team, not one single player going out to write his own biography or how-to book, and not one single player starting his own restaurant, creating his own enterprise to distract him from being a great player on the field, I predict the Washington Redskins are destined to be the first team to win three straight Super Bowls.
But this entire logic began when John Riggins whispered to me, as we hunted for quail in King George County, Virginia, that he was staying for another year.
And as I write this prologue knowing that my editors will surely turn everything I type into some kind of mush, this is still my story. My little piece of history. My dedication to the greatest team, greatest players, and greatest coach I’ve ever shared a sprayed bottle of champagne with.
This is my tale of perfection.
Senior sports writer, The Washington Tribune
Chapter 1: Game 1
- My Tale of Perfection - II
The Redskins football dominance and quest for their third straight Super Bowl Championship came on the third play of the day: wide receiver Art Monk ran like a ghost ship on a simple post pattern down the right sideline.