THERE'S NOT MUCH TO SAY about Super Bowl XXII except that I had it
handicapped perfectly. Denver would win because the myth of the
Redskins' great running game would be exploded. Sure, Washington put
up big numbers against the patsy teams, but in the Redskins' final
seven games, counting the playoffs, their running game had been held
to fewer than 100 yards four times.
The Redskins came into the Super Bowl ranked 24th against the
pass. John Elway likes to work on teams with that kind of pass
defense. But I kind of figured Redskins quarterback Doug Williams
would have a big game. I was hoping he would have a big game.
Williams is one of the nicest guys in the business. He proved that
during the week before the NFC title game against the Vikings.
It's no fun being around the Skins in the days before a big game.
They go corporate on you. The rules were that the locker room was
supposed to be open to the press for an hour each day. Fair enough,
if you felt like interviewing a bunch of empty lockers. The Skins
honored only the letter of the law. You would come in, and maybe
there would be a couple of injured reserves sitting around, but
everyone else had cleared out. You could hear them giggling behind
the walls somewhere.
Williams would have none of that nonsense. He was kind and
gracious to anyone with a notebook or a tape recorder. He sat in the
press area and answered the same questions all week, always with
courtesy and good humor. He had known what the downside was like --
he had been at Tampa Bay, and then with Oklahoma and Arizona in the
USFL. I was just hoping he wouldn't get beaten too badly on Super
I clocked Herb Alpert doing the national anthem on the trumpet in
1:25.30. I was into hundredths; I'd just gotten a new stopwatch.
I was trying to figure out the influence that ploddingly slow
instrumental would have on the outcome of the game when Ricky Nattiel
raced under an Elway pass for 56 yards and a touchdown. And then the
Broncos drove for a field goal. And then they drove into field goal
range again, but this time they were sacked out of it. On the Skins'
next possession Williams twisted his left knee when he slipped on the
grass of San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. His backup, Jay Schroeder,
replaced him. But when the second quarter started, Williams was back
in there. I was thinking that I sure didn't want to see him
quarterback a team that got blown out.
O.K., we all know what happened in that second quarter.
Thirty-five points and an orgy of yards for the Skins. Williams
throwing bombs -- four touchdowns of, in order, 80, 27, 50 and eight
yards. Timmy Smith running to daylight, moonlight and into the next
day on that counter play. It was adding-machine football. Eighteen
plays, five minutes and 47 seconds of possession, 357 yards -- all in
the second quarter. Average gain per play: 19.8 yards. Average yards
per minute: 61.7.
Records had toppled like mad by the end of that 42-10 mismatch.
The most notable were the Skins' 602 total yards and Smith's 204 on
the ground. The Broncos made linebacker Ricky Hunley their scapegoat
for the defensive collapse and shipped him off to Phoenix, where he's
enjoying the sun and trying to forget. I understand; I'm still in
This is an article from the Jan. 2, 1989 issue