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The Last Redskins Pro Bowl MVP

Posted by Matt Terl on January 31, 2011 – 11:01 am

Prior to DeAngelo Hall‘s big day yesterday, the last Redskins player to be named Pro Bowl MVP was Joe Theismann in January 1984. (To be technical, Theismann was named Player Of The Game. Same general idea.) He completed 21-of-27 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns, starting the Pro Bowl ahead of the now-legendary Joe Montana.

The day was bittersweet, though — back then the Pro Bowl was played after the Super Bowl, and this one came after Super Bowl XVIII, a 38-9 loss to the Raiders and arguably the most embarrassing day in Redskins history. “I had to try to salvage something,” Theismann said, according to Gary Pomerantz’s story in the Washington Post the next day. And he wasn’t the only one. Pomerantz also quotes Redskins free safety Mark Murphy as sarcastically saying, “We taught those eight Raiders a lesson today, didn’t we?”

Which is a pretty good line, all things considered.

Murphy, coincidentally enough, is gearing up for another Super Bowl right now as president of the Green Bay Packers — and that wasn’t the only nifty little coincidence I found reading the old Post story.

Here’s another: Dave Butz was apparently the London Fletcher of his day. From Pomerantz again:

“I had the flu and all of the extras: aches, pains and vomiting,” Butz said. Asked why he didn’t skip this game, Butz growled a little and said, “I waited 11 years to get here. I might never be back. That’s why.”

Pomerantz also had some good anecdotes from a day-before the-Pro-Bowl story. Theismann debated Montana to see who would serve as holder for Giants kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh; Montana won and Theismann held.

Or these:

As Grimm spit tobacco out the back window, Bostic poked fun at the possibility that Grimm might sign with the Pittsburgh Maulers of the U.S. Football League, saying, “Russ, why don’t you wear the Maulers helmet in the game Sunday?”

And Jacoby, the former free agent from the University of Louisville, said with gentle pride, “I’m the first guy from Lousiville to play in this game since Johnny Unitas.”

And Murphy smiled over the fact that a member of the Redskins’ Pearl Harbor Crew had indeed come to the real Pearl Harbor.

“Our home base,” he said.

The strangest thing about reading these old stories might be how grim the Redskins players sound about the Super Bowl loss. They went 14-2 through the regular season, setting all sorts of records along the way, but all anyone remembers is the Super Bowl loss. (“It will be an interesting thing to see how people look at us now,” Pomerantz quotes receiver Charlie Brown as saying. “Will they say, ‘They were a fluke’ ? That would be stupid. I think a majority of people will say that we just had an off day in the Super Bowl.”)

So there’s your last concidence: just like DeAngelo Hall, Theismann and the rest of those 1984 Redskins Pro Bowlers were left hoping that success in a meaningless all-star game would imply great things when they finally got to play games that meant something again months down the line.

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