The clash between the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Redskins, such as they were, turned out to be the most tantalizing fare served up on Scab Sunday I. By rights, the visiting Cardinals, with 11 strike-breaking players, should have demolished the Redskins, a pickup team in toto. But it was the Scabskins who won 28-21—an acute embarrassment for St. Louis and a tribute to Washington coach Joe Gibbs. The result proved that even scabs have their place in history, and what better way to commemorate that fact than with an awards ceremony? And don't worry, Cardinals, you'll receive your share of the accolades.
MR. UNIVERSE AWARD—To Willard Scissum, a 288-pound offensive tackle who, squeezed into Redskin garb, resembled a knock-kneed hippo with handles in a tight tuxedo. But Scissum slathered himself all over the Cardinals. Two weeks earlier he had been a security guard at a convenience store in D.C. When the Redskins phoned, he thought a friend was playing a joke on him.
THE HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER TROPHY—To Scabskins quarterback Ed Rubbert, who had to be painfully aware that his alma mater, Louisville, had lost 65-6 to Southern Mississippi the previous night (page 82). All Rubbert did was throw for three touchdowns, which on SI's 50% scab-to-NFL stat scale adds up to VA TD passes—more than enough against the comatose Cards.
BEST DISGUISE—To wide receiver Anthony (Amp) Allen, who passed himself off as a scab, though he had starred for the University of Washington and started for three USFL teams and, briefly last year, the Atlanta Falcons. St. Louis started covering Allen man-to-man. After Allen caught touchdown passes of 34 and 88 yards, the Cards continued to cover him man-to-man. After he grabbed the winning TD pass, a 48-yarder that gave him the team record for receiving yards, with 255 on seven catches (although, of course, that's only 127½ yards on 3½ catches in our scab stats), the Cardinals finally noticed that Allen could play. Quick studies, those guys.
October 11, 1987
MOST RESPECTFUL—The Redskin management, which took great pains not to issue scabs the uniform numbers of striking regulars.
LEAST RESPECTFUL—The Cardinal management, which gave striking linebacker Nico Noga's No. 57 to his brother. Peter Noga returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown, but he'll never get anybody to believe that he was really in that uniform.
VETERAN CONTRIBUTION AWARD—St. Louis's regular wide receivers, Roy Green and J.T. Smith, both of whom left the game in the first quarter with injuries. Green never returned. Smith came back to drop a key fourth-quarter pass. He then lined up in the slot—on the line of scrimmage. That drew a penalty that negated a 30-yard gain in the Cardinals' last futile drive.
TWO-MINUTE-DRILL TROPHY—To Cardinal coach Gene Stallings. Smith, making partial amends, caught a pass at the Scabskins' 10 with 24 seconds left. The Cards got off one more play, and it wasn't a pass into the end zone.
COACH OF THE MILLENNIUM—Gibbs, hands down. He tried to deflect the credit to the players. Forget it. "It was hard to do, and I don't want to do it again," said Gibbs. "It was kind of a wild day. I haven't lost track of the fact that our team was out there on the street." Yes, and all those regular Cardinals, including seven first-stringers, were suited up. "That might have hurt them," said Gibbs. "Maybe it broke up their continuity."
DIPLOMACY AWARD—To Gibbs, for readily apparent reasons.
CONGENIALITY AWARD—Scissum. Face it, the man is an instant legend. He played at Alabama and had a couple of preseason cups of coffee with the Denver Broncos. "I'd love to be a Hog," said Scissum, alluding to the honored sobriquet given to regular Redskin offensive linemen, "but I'd have to be in a lot better shape. This was just a little dream come true. We never wanted to take the Redskins' places, but to play in the NFL. It was fun, a feeling I hadn't felt since college. I was elected a captain. Do you know what this means to me? I wouldn't trade this day for anything or with anybody."