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JIM MURRAY

SUPER BOWL XXII : Super Bore Extreme in Its Offense

February 01, 1988|JIM MURRAY

SAN DIEGO — What a clunker! Daily Variety would know how to headline it: "Super Bowl Lays an Egg." Again.

Never have so many paid so much to see so little.

If you liked this game, we'll send you a set of Himmler's home movies or a picture of a cat eating a canary.

The last thing this one-sided was the Johnstown Flood.

Listen! There are certain animals that thrive at high altitude but perish at sea level--big-horn sheep, California condors, Abominable Snowmen, snow leopards. And Denver Broncos.

A mile up, these guys are invincible. At sea level, a puddle of water.

The game, if you want to call it that, had all the charm of watching a guy kick his dog.

It was the fifth straight Super Bowl wipeout, the fourth by the NFC. One more and they get permanent possession of the AFC.

Brute strength conquered in the end. It usually does.

It was supposed to be Horatio holding off the hordes at the bridge. Well, Horatio, otherwise, John Elway, lost this bridge. St. George got eaten by the dragon. These Redskins didn't bite the dust, they bit Denver. The Broncos were horsemeat.

The game was kind of a wall-to-wall highlight film. In a way it was like a fight between two drunks--all offense.

I've seen better games in a public park between the fat men and the ice men.

Tell me, if you closed your eyes and were told the following, what game would you think you were watching?

--The first touchdown was scored on a 56-yard pass, Elway to Nattiel, who got five yards behind his defender.

--The second touchdown was scored on an 80-yard pass play--that's eight-oh--from Doug Williams to somebody named Ricky Sanders.

--The third touchdown was scored on a 27-yard touchdown pass after a 5-play, 64-yard "drive."

--The fourth touchdown was scored on a 58-yard run around end by Timmy Smith. That climaxed a 2-play "drive" of 74 yards.

--Touchdown No. 5 was scored on a 50-yard pass to Sanders from Williams.

--Touchdown No. 6 climaxed a 79-yard drive in 7 plays.

If that isn't sandlot, schoolyard, everybody-out-for-a-long-one football, I wouldn't know what is.

The Redskins couldn't have done much better if the Broncos hadn't shown up. A lot of people were surprised they did for the second half.

It looked like one of Joe Louis' fights, a guy in hobnailed boots stomping chickens.

They had about 1,000 pianos on the field at the half, but in the game, Denver was the piano.

For this, you had to have two weeks of maniacal preparation and hype, long involved questions of how you would match up linebackers and tight ends, who would play man coverage and who zone, what would be the game plan, who to key on, who would play the "spy" role, who would rush and who would stay in his coverage.

As this is written, the Super Bowl cacophony is still going on, the winning coach is thanking God and his owner and is thrilled for the fans. They have endless questions for the losers when all they should really want to know is, "Did you get the number of the truck who hit you?"

The Redskins even spotted the Broncos the first shot, then methodically gunned them down.

The Redskins changed cleats after the first few series, but the only way the Broncos could have been helped would be if they had changed into hip boots.

The Redskins were bigger, better, smarter, probably even better-looking and/or richer. They played brass-knuckle football.

They even let John Elway take his best shot. Before Washington got serious, he had thrown one pass for a touchdown, caught one for 23 yards and in general made it look as if the game were going to be a monologue. Before much longer, though, Elway just looked like the boy with his finger in the dike.

There wasn't much else to the game. I haven't been this bored since the last Ingmar Bergman movie. They should have had Geraldo Rivera emcee it. It was as empty as Al Capone's secret room.

The good news is, the game finally puts to rest the tiresome issue of blacks at quarterback. We can get on with it now.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, a black quarterback was the MVP of the game. I'm not sure teammate Timmy Smith wasn't deserving of a few more votes--he only got half a vote after breaking the Super Bowl rushing record with 204 yards--but who's to quibble?

Doug Williams passed for 340 yards and 4 touchdowns and the history books. The Redskins rolled for 602 yards. They couldn't have done much better in tanks.

If you care for fine print, R. C. Thielemann, a pulling guard for Washington, sums it up: "It's our counter gap. It's our misdirection play. We get two big blockers going the other way and we kick out, and there's usually a crease there."

English translation: We kicked butt. That's the whole story of Super Bowl XXII. Washington XLII, Elway X.

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