WHY THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS HATE THE DALLAS COWBOYS

If you think you love the Cowboys, you don’t love them nearly as such as Washington hates them.

December 16, 1979. Texas Stadium, Dallas, Texas. It’s midway through the fourth quarter. The Washington Redskins cling to a 27-21 lead over the Dallas Cowboys. Back in Washington, D.C., the streets are deserted. Surely there is not a single pair of human eyes in the city that aren’t riveted to a television screen. An audible pulse pounds through the city.

Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann hands off to fullback John Riggins, who begins to sweep right. There’s no daylight; the play is contained by the Cowboys defense. Then suddenly, inexplicably, Riggins is through, in the clear, racing down the right sideline. Sixty-six yards later he dances into the end zone. The Redskins bench bounces in a frenzy. The District of Columbia lets out a joyous war whoop. The sweet scent of victory fills living rooms from Alexandria to Bethesda. 34-21. Redskins.

With 2:20 left in the game, Roger Staubach fires a 26-yard pass to halfback Ron Springs who bangs over the goal line. 34-28. The pulse quickens in D.C. With 39 seconds left, Staubach loops a seven-yard pass into the corner of the end zone. Tony Hill races under it and gathers it into his arms. 34-34. Rafael Septien boots the extra point and kicks the air out of the nation’s capital. Seconds later, Joe Theismann screams desperately for a last timeout, a last chance at a field goal; but the officials say that time has run out. Cowboys 35, Redskins 34. The horror. The horror.

In the wake of this incomprehensible disaster that eliminated the Redskins from the play-offs, there was little to do in Washington, D.C., but fume and wait-and hate. The Dallas Cowboys, the hated Cowboys, had done it again. And this was the worst of all. “This,” said Redskins coach Jack Pardee, “was the most disappointing loss I’ve ever had as a player or a coach.” Washington Mayor Marion Barry, having lost a civic wager, bit his lip and mailed off a cherry tree to Dallas Mayor Bob Folsom. And David Broder, esteemed political columnist for the The Washington Post, moaned in print: “The Cowboys beat us one of two ways every year-implausibly or unfairly. Sometimes both.”

But elsewhere on the Post editorial page was an editorial, a picking up of the shattered pieces. “There,” it read, “were the Redskins, on the last day of the season, fighting the vaunted Cowboys-the New York Yankees of professional football-for a division championship. They didn’t belong on the same field, the experts still said, making the Cowboys 9’/2-point favorites. In this city, conversation took a holiday. People who don’t know the difference between a safety blitz and a post pattern found themselves cheering and clapping. Here in a city of strangers, people who come from someplace else and so often return to it, in this beleaguered city where even the team is a transplant, it was great for a whole Sunday afternoon to have everybody rooting for the Washington Redskins. . . To Dallas: A simpie message-congratulations, but watt ’til next year.”



IT’S NEXT YEAR NOW. NINE MONTHS LATER. The Washington wounds have healed, but scars still show. On Monday night. September 8. in front of the ABC cameras, the Cowboys will trot into RFK Stadium to open the regular season. And the Redskins faithful will drool. It will be Revenge Night in Washington, DC.

As a city, Washington has known its fair share of bitter days. It’s been dealt some powerful shots, not all of them cheap. It’s been called a Fifties sort of town, where no one has to worry about life’s uncertainties, nestled as they are in the bureaucracy; a power-crazed town, where it was once said of Chuck Colson that he’d walk over his own grandmother if he had to: a social-climbing town where hostesses claim that war and peace are decided over their hors d’oeuvres.

And in sports, Washington has been betrayed, battered, and beaten. Calvin Griffith and Bob Short, those Benedict Arnolds of baseball, each took a turn at moving out the Washington Senators, the last time to. of all places, Dallas. Texas. Vince Lombardi came to Washington and died. And boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, of neighboring Palmer Park. Maryland, had no sooner been claimed by Washington as its own than he went out and lost his title to Roberto Duran.

The only thing that uniformly matters in Washington, from the tapped-out corners of Anacostia to the lush suburban playgrounds of Potomac and Middleburg, is the Redskins. A cit\ that rarely cheers as one-congressmen and gas station attendants. Georgetown socialites and lowly government workers. Democrats and Republicans, the poverty-stricken and Presidents of the United States- is united for the Redskins.

Against the Dallas Cowboys. Washington hates’ the Dallas Cowboys.

It’s not just the division rivalry-sure the Cowbo\s have to be taken more seriously than. say. the New York Giants. And it’s not simply that the Cowboys are good. It’s that the\ seem to be above the battle. It’s the shift into the shotgun and then a cute double reverse to avoid the grimy doings at the line of scrimmage. It’s a preoccupation with excessive display, like picking up 30 yards at a clip and not even getting their uniforms mussed- Those beautiful uniforms. Those beautiful cheerleaders. Those beautiful computers. No less than 25 books written about the Dallas Cowboys. Two movies made about them. America’s Team.

Disgusting, say the Redskins. We hate them, say the fans.



THE ANTI-DALLAS COWBOYS SENTIMENTS in Washington were born even before the Cowboys franchise was. But in 1960. the late Redskins owner George Preston Marshall finally lost his battle to keep Clint Murchison and the Cowboys out of the NFL. Before the Cowboys, the Redskins were the one and only team in the South. Marshall had dreamed of a gigantic Southern TV football network all his own: though he had never bothered to consider who would have watched his hapless crew-the Redskins were lousy.

In fact, the Redskins weren’t much better than the expansion Cowboys: in their first two visits to the Cotton Bowl, the ’Skins were tied: the first tie was the only game the Cowboys didn’t lose in their entire inaugural season. The two scrapped to avoid last place. Then, in 1962, the Cowboys trounced the Redskins 38-10-in Washington-and the early flames were fanned. During the mid-Sixties, Sonny Jurgensen kept the Redskins competitive, but the Cowboys improved steadily. By 1968, the Cowboys were dominating; they beat Washington six straight times, topped with a 34-0 skunking in 1970.

Enter George Allen. Redskins president Edward Bennett Williams had had enough of losing to the Cowboys and sought a savior: he felt he’d found him in George Allen, whom he hired from the Los Angeles Rams, bestowing upon him a long and lucrative seven-year contract beginning in 1971. Allen would replace coach Bill Austin. There was a sense of excitement in Washington about Allen, but it was mixed with skepticism. After all. just a few years earlier, the flamboyant Williams had hired the legendary Vince Lombardi to save the ’Skins: Lombardi had coached one season and died.

But George Allen blew into town full of life, and full of promises. “The future is now,” George trumpeted, indicating there would be no lengthy rebuilding process: he sought sudden success. He quickly backed up his proclamations with a major trade, acquiring seven players from the Rams in one big deal, trading away a bucketful of future draft choices. These “Ramskins,” as the press quickly dubbed them, included linemen Diron Talbert and John Wilbur and linebacker Jack Pardee, all immediate starters. In a much quieter deal, Allen picked up a quarterback named Bill Kilmer from New Orleans in exchange for an unknown linebacker and a fourth-round draft choice.

Allen’s mission was the play-offs, that rarefied realm that the lowly Redskins hadn’t visited for 25 years. George went to work building his instant champions. The Redskins fans waited expectantly for some real proof. They only had to wait until the third game of the season.

On a Sunday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl on October 3, 1971. running back Charley Harraway sliced through the rain on a 55-yard touchdown run. and the Washington Redskins toppled the NFC champion Cowboys 20-16. The victory triggered a rabid reaction in Washington. A win over the despised Cowboys, and George “The-future-is-now” Allen suddenly had believers-5000 of them gathered at Dulles airport to welcome the team home.

The adoring crowd raised themselves to such a mad frenzy during the wait for the Redskins’ plane that airline officials feared for the team’s safety and radioed Allen in the air to ask his advice. Having mildly suggested a few days earlier that an airport welcome might be nice. George had little choice but to agree to come on down.

The crowd included sleeping infants, pubescent autograph seekers, gray-hairs, drunks, and Miss National Fire Prevention, complete with tiara, looking for a little free publicity. There were tambourines, cowbells. Indian headdresses, and effigies. The crowd surged and pounded behind metal doors, alternately roaring. “We’re number one. we’re number one” and “Defense, defense, defense.”

As the players emerged from the plane, bathed in TV lights, they seemed dazed by the orgiastic emotion of the throng. Redskins president and loquacious lawyer Edward Bennett Williams could hardly speak (for a change), but managed to call this long-awaited Dallas demise “the happiest day of my life in sports.”

The crowd clawed at George Allen in ecstasy. Wearing a ridiculously large red plastic Redskins cap. placed on his head by an unknown fan, Allen happily fought his way to safety behind a phalanx of beefy players while clutching his playbooks to his bosom.

This was the night of the true beginning of the love-the-Redskins. hate-the-Cowboys affair.

Three weeks later, after another Redskins victory (this time not over the Cowboys), the airport welcome brought out 12,000 people, creating a colossal traffic jam. One impatient fan. a young man in his early 20’s. grew tired of waiting in the interminable line of cars: he drove up the shoulder of the Dulles airport road, struck a bridge abutment, and careened over a steep bank to his death. Thereafter, the Redskins deplaned at a distant terminal and were whisked away in buses. Undaunted, the fans showed up in droves at Redskin Park, the team practice area in the Virginia countryside a few miles from the airport, and staged their maniacal celebrations as the players got off the buses.

One cold December night in 1976 after a 27-14 Washington victory in Texas Stadium, the buses didn’t pull into Redskin Park until after midnight. There were 2500 fans waiting for them. George Allen was pulled and pounded by the happy multitude. The Cowboy hat he wore, signifying conquest of the hated foe. was crushed to cap size. His hair was disheveled, his tie yanked askew, his clothes snagged and doused with liquor. “They’re good, loyal fans,” declared George Allen, “but they’re physical fans.”

And unrelentingly faithful fans. Last December, after the crushing 35-34 setback, the mob reassembled at Redskin Park. Only the chants were different: “Ayatollah Landry” and “Deport the Cowboys.” The Redskins had simultaneously lost the division title and the wild-card play-off spot, but these fans weren’t about to desert their beloved Redskins.

With veins of burgundy and hearts of gold. Redskins fans simply don’t know the meaning of fickle when it comes to football. They live with their Redskins and they die with them. They’ve been on the bottom and they’ve been at the top. They’ve known the ecstasy and the agony.

The Ecstasy: December 31. 1972. Biggest victory in the history of the Washington Redskins. They scalp the Cowboys, in Washington, 26-3, for the NFC championship. A Richard Nixon prophecy comes true: “I’m betting on the Redskins for the championship in 1971 or 1972.” he had said in January 1971. Every play of the game gets a wild reaction from the crowd, a massive boo or a massive cheer. The cheers come in three varieties: The two-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust George Allen specialty brings a cheer as loud as a World Series home run: the first-down cheer brings a torrent of adding machine streamers and torn program confetti, and the touchdown cheer brings a thundering roar, vibrating the entire stadium as if it were about to lift off. Coach Allen is carried off the field on jubilant shoulders. Columnist Art Buch-wald declares it “a seven-cigar game” and is still puffing like a smokestack as he leaves the stadium.

The greatest New Year’s Eve in Washington history is on. Georgetown bars report record business. Edward Bennett Williams stands up in Duke Zeibert’s restaurant and leads cheers for the coach. Richard Nixon phones George Allen with congratulations.

The headlines the next morning are big enough to read through the worst hangovers. Columnist David Broder writes the lead story in The Washington Post: “For the first time since World War II. Washington is a winner. The Nation’s Capital ended 30 years of sports humiliation and heartbreak …” Etcetera, etcetera.

The Agony: November 28. 1974. Thanksgiving Day in Texas Stadium. 35 seconds from victory and a play-off spot, the Redskins are done in by a raw rookie named Clint Long-ley on a 50-yard desperation pass to Drew Pearson. Final: 24-23. Cowboys. The Redskins scouting report on Longley had read. “Average set up and delivery, not exceptional quick release. Has a good strong arm but throws off balance and falls away a lot.” Before the game. Redskins defensive lineman Diron Talbert had said. “If you knock Stau-bach out. you’ve got that rookie facing you. That’s one of our goals. If we do that, it’s great. He’s all they have.”

All of Washington sinks into a funk. A million turkey dinners are ruined. “Toughest loss we’ve ever had.” says George Allen.

A few days later, presumably when he had stopped shaking and was able to type. Washington Post op-ed page columnist William Raspberry confessed: “Until Thanksgiving Day, I had considered myself just another enthusiastic fan of pro football, not an abuser, a footballaholic. Then came the Redskins’ loss to Dallas and the TV fan’s equivalent of the D.T.’s-the fitful sleeping haunted by the ’if only’s.” If only Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach hadn’t gotten hurt . . . Everybody you meet talks endlessly about the Redskins and their play-off hopes. The fact that everybody talks football is one of the reasons it is so hard for us addicts to come to grips with our addiction. An alcoholic can hide for a long time in a crowd of social drinkers. But not forever . . . With football, as Coach Allen aptly put it. you die a little with every loss. Well, no more. I’m through dying a little for the Redskins. I’m kicking the addiction . . . .”

Recently Raspberry was asked if he were still on the wagon. Yes, he replied. He’s one of a kind.

In 1977, George Allen’s contract ran out. It wasn’t renewed. The love affair with Edward Bennett Williams had faded. Allen’s “future-is-now” policy had left the Redskins void of high draft choices, a team of old and tired warriors. The “Over-the-Hill Gang” as they were dubbed, was just that. The Jack Pardee era was ushered in. But Allen, banished to his house overlooking the Pacific with a goal post on the lawn, left behind a legacy, and one of his old warriors is still around to carry on the hate-the-Cowboys tradition.

His hair is graying. His knees are scarred. At 36, he’s one of the oldest players in the NFL. Diron Talbert is the last of the good of boys on the Redskins. And the greatest of the Cowboys haters.

Allen is gone. Former No. One Redskins fan Richard Nixon is long gone. And now so is Talbert’s archenemy. Roger Staubach. Has Diron Talbert mellowed? Hah.

“The stage has been set.” he grins, “with or without Staubach. It’s probably going to be the best Monday night game in history. The grudge will still be there for both teams. Millions and millions are going to be watching. And I’d hate like hell to disappoint the people. Yes, sir, I think they got it set j-u-u-u-u-st right.” The words roll out in his best drawl.

Talbert. a Mississippi native who grew up epic scale than the true Mexican works Mata admires, he has a real feel for its broad folksiness. Mata’s Rodeo is sassy and vivid, with a lovely “Saturday Night Waltz.” Appalachian Spring is less successful. The work lacks unity of vision -the grand sweep that can still make Appalachian Spring moving after almost 40 years of serving as a virtual second national anthem.

Chavez: Piano Concerto. Mata, Maria Teresa Rodriguez, New Philharmonia Orchestra. Mata and Mme. Rodriguez make the most of this crowded canvas, and that is That’s the Dallas Cowboys that Diron Tal-bert’s been talking about since he joined the Redskins. We learned from George Allen what kind of team the Dallas Cowboys are.”

George Allen did have a special enmity for the Cowboys, something that went beyond the usual coaches’ rah-rah psych. It was Allen, more than anyone else, who fueled the Redskins-Cowboys feud. He had once, while coaching the Rams, been accused by the Cowboys of spying on their practices. That burned him. and he carried his anger to the Redskins. Among his many outrages, real and imagined, he once charged that the little dog that darted onto the field at a crucial point in a Redskins drive during their ’71 victory came, of all places, from behind the Dallas bench. His feelings about Dallas were so strong, he couldn’t bring himself to call one of his own players. Dallas Hickman, by his first name; he called him “Berkeley.”

Since Allen has been replaced by Jack Pardee, whose mild-mannered oaths against the Cowboys sometimes smack of the obligatory, the torch has been passed to the talkative defensive tackle. Diron Talbert isn’t at all uncomfortable in the role. He’s been at the heart of the feud for years, particularly in his celebrated rivalry with Staubach.

It began in the Redskins locker room in 1972 after the Redskins had beaten the Cowboys 26-3 for the NFC title. Talbert said to reporters that if he were Landry he would never have started a rusty Staubach over Craig Morton. Staubach caught wind of his remarks and was furious. The battle of words was joined and it never abated. With Talbert though, there’s often a twinkle in the eye, a look that sometimes suggests he is trying to stifle a big guffaw. Was he just trying to psych Staubach all those years, or did he really hate him?

“Oh.” Talbert grins, “a little bit of both if you want to know the truth. I never particularly liked him. But he definitely was the quarterback of the Seventies. At least he got paid-the Cowboys only paid two guys. Staubach and Leroy lordan. They kept those two guys happy and depended on them to keep the rest of ’em quiet. I’m telling you.”

He pauses and smiles. “George really did hate the Cowboys though, and he got us to hate them too. It was their whole system, 1 think. George would talk about the situation in the Eastern Division. Obviously the Cowboys shouldn’t have been in the East. But they stuck Dallas in the division with some of the worst teams in football, and they dominated it for years.

“George would say that Tex Schramm | Cow boys president) was the reason for it. Schramm got Pete Rozelle |NFL Commissioner] his job, that kind of thing. And. really. it does get you kind of furious. It never got old under George. It just had a way of firing you up. 1 mean, you get to looking around and Dallas is always at an advantage. How come they always have our second game with them down there in Dallas at the end of the season (seven of the last eight years]? How come late in the season we never play up here?That’s not by accident.”

The Cowboys, according to Talbert. always have a way. Take Super Bowl VU. a rare and short-lived moment in the sun for the Redskins (who lost to the Miami Dolphins. 14-7) while the Cowboys were back home minding the ranch. The ’Skins flew west, into Newport Beach, and marched proudly into their practice facility at Anaheim Stadium. And what did they find in their locker room?

“Blue shoes!” cries Talbert. “Blue shoes! Blue shoes all over the place. They figured the Cowboys were going to beat us and go to the Super Bowl. Did they have burgundy shoes there? No! Can you beat that? Blue shoes.”

If Diron Talbert is the president of the Association of Redskins Who Hate the Cowboys, then first vice-president emeritus is John Wilbur. John Wilbur, who left Washington in 1975 and has retired from football to the good life in Hawaii (where he dabbles in real estate and restaurants and paddles his outrigger canoe), still hates the Cowboys- the same John Wilbur who played guard for four seasons for the Meredith Cowboys of the late Sixties. But he was an Allen disciple ever after. He still remembers Dallas-Washington and couldn’t forget if he wanted to.

“There’s nothing like a Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game for getting the juices up.” he mutters over the phone, sounding as if he’s rolling over in bed. just waking up. “Last year the game was scheduled to be on TV out here. A few days before the game I noticed in the paper that the Tampa Bay-New York game was on instead. I hit the ceiling. I called up the sports director of the station, who’s my friend. I demanded immediate accountability.” And? “Aw. it was too late to change.”

His voice warms to the task. “There’s a couple guys from Dallas out here, big mouths, you know, typical Dallas fans. A friend of mine was having a Western party and wanted to borrow this guy’s Cowboys stuff; the Dallas guy wouldn’t loan him anything. Said he was afraid I’d tear it up.”

He probably would have. His animosity is real.

“It’s the fans,” says John Wilbur. Cowboys fans are the most vicious in the world. For instance. Danny Villanueva, a great guy. he’d get these anonymous hate calls when he’d miss a field goal. He’d get 200 hate calls a year. It’s the toughest city I ever played in as far as fan reaction after a loss. They’re the closest group of fans to the Romans that exist…

“… the thing I always liked best was watching the Cowboys players on their bench when we were beating them. Like the 1972 game. The ego and heart of their players being deflated. Their eyes looking at the ground ….

“… I could never hate Landry as a person. It’s just that he represents the style of the organization. America’s Team. Too slick. Too inhumane. Too impersonal. Too mechanized. It’s not my team. I’m from the rough-and-ready guys. The Redskins. And. you know, the Redskins still have the same personality, even with George gone ….

“. . . As far as Dallas is concerned, the guy who sets their style is Tex Schramm. And he’s the guy who holds the salaries down. I’d like to see their bottom line . . . .”

Two hours later, the phone rings. It’s John Wilbur again.

“Hey,” he says, “It was six o’clock in the morning when you called. I thought of a few more things ….

“. . . like Dallas Week, what it still does to me being out of the game. I still get that feeling on Monday. The pressure builds up.

It’s a rhythmic thing ….

“. . . George Allen never used to say ’the Dallas Cowboys.” It was always ’the goddamned Dallas Cowboys.’ He said it and everybody still says it ….

“… it’s the Cowboys uniform. It strikes hate and loathing into my mind. Almost in the Pavlovian sense. The players still feel that way. 1 still feel that way. All that talk. Leroy Jordan. And carried on by Harvey Martin, like that stunt throwing the funeral wreath in the Redskins locker room. Charlie Waters. And D.D. Lewis. Put him in the story

What started with George Allen was transmitted to his players. And it was all transmitted to the fans. The Redskins fans hate the Dallas Cowboys.

Neighbors of Dee Starry say she’s the sweetest woman this side of Mary Tyler Moore. Dee. mother of three, hates the Dallas Cowboys.

“Honest to God,” says sweet Dee. “the only thing I hate in this world is the Dallas Cowboys football team. I don’t like anybody who plays for Dallas, who used to play for Dallas, or who’s even thinking about playing for Dallas.”

That’s because Dee Starry is a hard-core ’Skins fan. She once got Bill Kilmer’s autograph and had it framed with matting in the Redskins colors of burgundy and gold. It hangs on her family-room wall, right next to her needlepoint of a Redskins helmet, just above her Redskins lamp. She wears a Redskins jersey with number 44 on it. the number of John Riggins. whom she modestly describes as “the best football player in either conference at any position.”

She glares. “I just don’t like the Cowboys. The only person ever connected with Dallas who’s OK. well, almost OK. is Don Meredith.” She pauses: her eyes flash. “I can’t stand Roger Staubach.” says Dee. “Or Char-lie Waters. Or Cliff Harris. For me. Roger Staubach is the epitome of dislike. Goody-goody two-shoes. Always complaining about the officiating, complaining about late hits. Well, I remember him taking a swing at Pat Fischer without getting any penalty. Nobody blew a whistle. Oh. I shouldn’t say these things. I’m a Christian. But he’s supposed to be a Christian, too. Besides, there’s no way any Redskins fan can like a Dallas Cowboy.”

Baseball Bill hates the Cowboys. Bill Holdforth. a D.C. bartender, earned his nickname in his former job as an usher at Senator baseball games-until Bob Short moved the team to Arlington. When the new Rangers visited Baltimore. Baseball Bill got his picture in the paper when he appeared at Short’s front-row box and dangled an effigy of the owner over his head. You can’t miss Bill in the picture: he’s the big guy laughing derisively.

With no more baseball games to usher. Bill took up bartending, establishing his credentials by winning $ 1.000 in a Capitol Hill beer drink-off, outguzzling Terrible Tom Wells by a count of 26 Buds to 24 Heinekens. When Terrible Tom threw up, Bill celebrated with a chorus of “Hail To The Redskins.”

The Redskins are his passion now. His loyalty is unwavering, and he won’t tolerate disloyalty in others. In the Redskins-Cowboys Game of 1977 (Cowboys 14. Skins 7). Baseball Bill became annoyed with a derisive fan sitting behind him. “This guy was yelling for them to put in Theismann. I was a Kilmer fan and. anyway, I didn’t think it was Kilmer’s fault, the way it was going. Finally 1 got up and turned around, with my arms outstretched like this [resembling a troop-carrier plane ready for take-off] and I said. ’Shut up.’”

Did everybody get quiet?

“Naw, just the section.”

He clutches a cold one in his big drinking hand in the back room of Runyan’s. a 20th Street N.W. establishment where he works nights. From his bartender’s vantage point, he’s seen the highs and lows of the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry. Like the Monday night game in Washington in 1973. Bill was tending bar on the Hill then; the place was jammed.

“They were rows and rows deep, passing beers back, watching the game. Yelling. It was incredible. All of a sudden, two minutes before the half, the picture goes like this (he puts one hand above the other and closes them up-a horizontal picture about an inch high], ’Hey, fix the picture,’ they’re yelling. All you could see was Jurgy’s helmet. The place cleared out completely. I’m sitting there with a couple of waiters and 1 get this call from the bartender down the street. He’d gotten this horrendous rush. Wondered what had happened.

“I had a friend who lived across the street so I sent a waiter over to get his TV. We set it up, but we can’t get any picture. Finally the cook comes out and he gets it working; it’s the fourth quarter and the first play we see is the touchdown pass to Charley Taylor to tie the score at 7-7. Then Brig Owens intercepts and runs it back for the winning touchdown, and then Ken Houston saves the game by stopping Walt Garrison just short of the goal line.”

He smiles and savors the memories. Most of the endings haven’t been so happy. For last year’s game in Dallas he’d bought a huge cake and brought it into the bar. “It cost S50. It said ’Go ’Skins’ and Beat Dallas’ and was shaped like a stadium and decorated with little Redskins and Cowboys. Like, it was a beautiful cake. After the Riggins run. the whole place erupted. And then . . .”

And then it was 35-34. Cowboys.

“I mean, who felt like eating cake? Why did I ever bring it?”

Bruce Volat hates the Cowboys. Bruce. 37, is a musical instruments salesman and die-hard Redskins fan. His profession allowed him to get a good buy on a I4″x28″ bass drum, which he bangs on at Redskins game. It’s cause for family strife; Bruce’s 10-year-old son Jason is a Cowboys fan. During last year’s 35-34 game, when it appeared the Redskins had it locked up, Bruce was unmerciful with his son, bringing young Jason to the verge of tears. “Yeah,” Bruce admits. “I was giving it to him real good. Every time the Redskins did something, I’d really give it to him. I thought it was all over but the shouting.” Then the Redskins lost. “Yeah, and boy did he give it to me. I deserved it. When Dallas got that second touchdown at the end, I wanted to throw up.”

But Bruce is a sport. On a plane layover in Dallas, he bought Jason a Cowboys shirt. His other son, 5-year-old Lome, is a Redskins fan. Bruce tries to treat them both equally.

Kathryn Magill hates the Cowboys. Kath-ryn, inher60’s, has been a Redskins fan since Slingin’ Sammy Baugh. She likes to make the annual plane trip to Dallas with 200 other Redskins fanatics and join in the in-flight fight song:

Hail to the Redskins!

Hail Victory!

Hell to the Cowboys!

To hell with those we see! Kathryn is easy to spot in the stands-she’s the one in the Indian wig with the red feather behind her head and the war paint on her face. A reporter climbs high up in Texas Stadium and asks her to explain herself. “I’m Cochise’s grandmother,” she says.



Carl Lotto doesn’t hate the Cowboys, so he says. Carl, who owns the Gulf station at the comer of 22nd and P Streets N. W.. has made the trip to Dallas seven of the last eight years. True to his town, he speaks diplomatically. “I don’t hate the Dallas Cowboys,” he says unconvincingly. “I respect them. And the fans are good folks, just like Washington’s. There’s mutual respect.” The three-nights-in-Dallas package always ends with a “victory party” back at the hotel. “Last year’s wasn’t so good,” says Lotto. But he’ll be back on November 23. “I’m already counting the days.”

Joe Otts hates the Dallas Cowboys-they’ve made his job harder. For example, in the 1974 game (28-21, Redskins), Joe Otts, ambulance driver, races along the sidelines at RFK Stadium, wheeling a gray-haired man on a stretcher. Stroke. The crowd leans forward to observe. Otts jumps behind the wheel, pulls out on the stadium runway with red lights flashing, and deposits his victim at nearby D.C. General. A few minutes later he’s back at the stadium.

Later in the game, Otts watches the ’Skins marching down the field against the Cowboys; he’s called to the top level of the stadium. A 55-year-old man is slumped forward. The Redskins score, and the stadium is rocking. “Heart attack.” Otts says. “Dead when we got there. The guy’s friend told me he had been trying to get the fellow to go to a doctor all week for chest pains. But he said his friend just had to come to the Dallas game. “

“These older folks can’t take the excitement,” says Otts. “Only serious things happen at a big game. The nurses’ room is empty if the game is good, but if it’s dull, the room is full of hurt people. They won’t leave a good game for a little injury. If it’s Green Bay or New Orleans playing, they’ll go to first aid for a hangnail. If it’s Dallas, the only way they’ll give up their seats is feet first.”

Duke Zeibert hates the Dallas Cowboys. Almost as much as he loves the Washington Redskins. During the George Allen years, restaurateur Duke Zeibert. owner of Duke Zeibert’s Restaurant, established a Redskin ritual. Every Thursday during the season. Duke delivered a large coconut cake to the Redskins training complex. Allen, ever eager to instigate yet another of his many pre-game superstitions (every week he ate a dish of ice cream at the same time and place), made it a point to participate with the players in the Thursday ceremonial eating of Duke’s cake. Duke was always there to hand out the ample slices. (Allen returned the favor: after every home victory, he’d show up for dinner at Duke Zeibert’s; never after a loss.)

For the Cowboys game of 1971, Duke had a beauty whipped up, complete with the icing slogan, “Beat Dallas.” Allen pronounced it a “championship cake.” The Redskins fell to the Cowboys, 13-0. The following Thursday was a bleak day at Redskin Park. No cake.



ON MONDAY NIGHT. SEPTEMBER 8. they’ll all be there in RFK Stadium. Dee and Bruce and Baseball Bill and Kathryn and Carl and Joe and Duke. Along with 55,000 other screaming Redskins fanatics. Up in Box M6. owner Jack Kent Cooke will be watching, along with Edward Bennett Williams and assorted guests who often watch from M6- like Ethel Kennedy and maybe Teddy, Art Buchwald, Ham Jordan, maybe Muskie and McGovern, Joe DiMaggio. Nancy Dicker-son, Henry Kissinger, maybe a Supreme Court Justice, maybe a Joint Chief of Staff. Maybe even Jimmy himself will be there.

And somewhere George Allen will be watching. And they’ll all be joining him in one collective thought. Beat the hated Cowboys.

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