September 25, 2004
Dallas at Washington conjures up different memories in different people. I have attended about three dozen of their encounters at RFK Stadium and at FedEx Field and there are plenty of images and sounds etched into my mind.
My thoughts, however, always go back to 1967, October 8 to be exact. I was 12 and I’d take a moderate interest in football. My dad, who had acquired season tickets that summer, asked me if I wanted to go see the Redskins play. Sure, why not, even though I’d be missing seeing my Boston Red Sox play in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
For the first time I settled into what would become “my” seat at what was then DC Stadium—Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated the following summer and the stadium was named in his memory prior to the next season—in Section 219, Row 12, Seat 8. The only thing I remember vividly at that point was that someone with a transistor radio was keeping us folks in that end zone, the left one as you watch on TV, apprised of the score of the World Series game by recording each inning’s score on a cardboard square and using masking tape to post it on the wall behind his seat. This was more low-tech than the scoreboard at Fenway Park itself.
After kickoff, I paid scant attention to the progress of the baseball game. I was focused on what was happening on the grass field in front of me. Now, I’m not going to pretend that I recall what happened in the game in any detail. I got that in the course of doing research for my book The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games.
Washington led 7-0 at the half on Ray McDonald’s one-yard touchdowns run. Dallas scored a touchdown and a field goal to take a 10-7 lead late into the fourth quarter. The Redskins took a 14-10 lead on an eight-yard TD pass from Sonny Jurgensen to Charley Taylor with 1:10 left to play. Those were two of the, I think, eight Hall of Famers who were either playing or coaching in this game—Krause, Huff, Taylor, Jurgensen, Mitchell and Graham (HOF player, not as a coach) for Washington, Landry and Lily for Dallas (I may be missing a Cowboy, I’m not sure).
Now we’re getting to the point where my memories become much more vivid. The crowd noise was loud and getting louder as Dallas faced a fourth down with just seconds left (my further research indicates that it was fourth and four at the Washington 36 with about 15 seconds left). Don Meredith, future Monday night football color man, dropped back and threw a pass intended for Dan Reeves, the future Broncos, Giants, and Falcons coach. The instant that the ball left Meredith’s hand, the crowd fell instantly silent. The phenomenon was due to the fact that Reeves was so wide open at the Washington 10 that the only hope for the Redskins to win the game was for Reeves to drop the ball and the crowd was holding its collective breath in hopes that it would happen. It did not and the only sound left to make was a disappointed exhale as Reeves trotted in for the winning TD.
So my Dad, myself and some 50,000 other Redskins fans filed out of the Redskins’ home stadium in silence. This was in keeping with a tradition of disappointing losses for the Redskins, who hadn’t played in a playoff game for, at that time, 22 years. Still, I was hooked and begged my father to take me to games whenever there was a spare ticket. Interest had turned into fascination which eventually turned into obsession.
September 24, 2004
Just a short addition to the blog today, it’s the wife’s birthday and I’m to be available to wait on her hand and foot all day.
It’s really amazing how people can take something and read into it what they want. When I wrote my “Get a Grip” rant yesterday, I made sure to emphasize that I was speaking of getting too high in the good moments as well as getting too low in the bad moments. Virtually every mention of overacting to a negative was matched with one of getting too joyous over positive developments.
I read my rant on the air on the Redskins Review (Sports Radio 910 in Richmond) and posted it here and I was amazed at the reaction. Despite the attempt at balance, many people saw it as a call to shut off any questioning of what Gibbs and the organization do. One said that I was saying that all Redskins fans should be “Stepford” fans. Now, I haven’t seen the movie, but from what I’ve gathered a Stepford wife is obedient and submissive. Nowhere in the blog entry was did I suggest that critical comments about the team were inappropriate or out of bounds in any way, nor did I at any point say that fans were in any way obligated to praise the organization to the hilt when things went well.
I guess that if I’d posted the piece after a big win, I would have been accused of being a wet blanket, throwing cold water on a huge, pivotal accomplishment. So, I’m not going to worry about it.
Make Eddie Do It
My quick take on how to beat the Cowboys is to make Eddie George beat you. Go with seven in the box, even six, and cover deep. Even given the Redskins’ weak DL and injuries at LB, Eddie still won’t move the chains. Let Vinnie drop short ones to Meshawn and to Witten all day. Eventually he’ll throw some picks.
Tandler’s Redskins Blog 9/23-24
Tandler’s Redskins Blog 9/22
Tandler’s Redskins Blog 9/21