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SUPER BOWL XXII : COMMENTARY : Broncos' Hyped Three Amigos Pale in Brilliance of 'Seven Kemosabes'

February 01, 1988|SCOTT OSTLER

SAN DIEGO — Adios, Amigos. Vaya con Elway.

You guys were great, weren't they folks? Let's hear it for them, a really big hand for the Denver Broncos' Three Amigos. Really cute act, fellas.

Now get off the stage. And pick up those footballs you dropped. Worst juggling act in vaudeville.

A drum roll, please, and let's bring up the winners of our nationwide talent search, just in from the nation's capital, those glue-fingered grabbers of gusto, those penultimate pluckers of pigskin, the Washington Redskins' receivers, better known as...

Uh, what do you fellas call yourselves? Your nickname?

"We're just three players out there trying to get the job done," Redskin wideout Gary Clark said Sunday after the Redskins beat the Broncos, 42-10, in the so-called Super Bowl.

Great, Gary, but can't you people come up with anything catchier, no pun intended? "Three Players Out There Trying to Get the Job Done" won't fit on coffee mugs or T-shirts.

"We've got three guys called 'Smurfs, Second Generation,' " said Washington receiver coach Charley Taylor.

Ouch. A recycled nickname. How declasse.

Work on it, will you? Since you are Redskins, how about the Seven Kemosabes? Tonto won't mind if we borrow his word. Not great, but I'm on deadline, fellas.

Let's see, Ricky Sanders caught nine passes, Gary Clark caught three, Don Warren two, and four guys caught one each. Seven receivers. Eighteen catches, four for touchdowns.

Go figure. After six months of sophisticated scouting, dazzling terminology and miles of computer printouts, you seven, with Doug (Lone Ranger) Williams, reduced NFL strategy to the two favorite words on every football sandlot:

Go long.

Touchdown passes of 80, 27, 50 and 8 yards.

You gave the Broncos a new theme song: "Let's Twist in the Wind Again, Like We Did Last Winter."

A Denver disaster? For a historical equivalent to the Bronco second-quarter collapse, General Custer would have had to go down on the Titanic, with camera footage shot from the Diet Fuji Hindenburg blimp.

And we can blame it, a lot of it, on you Seven Kemosabes.

For the last two weeks, America has been innundated and saturated by the Three Amigos. The book, the movie and Las Vegas act were in the works. And we could almost see it--the ceremonial placing of the sombrero on the head of President Reagan in the Rose Garden.

What happened? You Redskin receivers weren't supposed to be spectacular. What was your game plan? How about it, Charley Taylor?

"Our plan," Taylor said, "was to be low key, go in there and kick some . . ."

Uh, that's a little technical for our readers, Charley. Could you explain? You said something about Denver's surprising coverage of your receivers?

"Had they (the Broncos) backed off and played zone, those (bombs) would have been 10-yard gains," Taylor said. "But they came up and challenged us.

"They pressed (played bump-and-run), with no deep help, which can be a good defense; Chicago uses it effectively. They left their zone to single up, which is a good tactic, but it leaves you vulnerable.

"They thought they had Doug (Williams) rattled, they said, 'Hey, it's time to press him, shut him down.' "

The trouble was, Williams rattles like a brand new Jaguar.

Even with the Redskins down, 10-0, Williams in the huddle was, as Gary Clark said, "the same cucumber. We never know what he's thinking, if he's upset, because he never shows it."

Bronco safety Tony Lilly said of the bump-and-run, "We figured we'd go at 'em, we didn't want to lay back."

Instead, they got laid out.

"Our big shots (passes) happened every time they went 'man,' " Clark said.

The problem was, when the Denver cornerbacks played bump-and-run, or press, instead of hanging back, they occasionally need backup help. But the Denver safeties were busy blitzing and falling for play-action fakes. Williams stepped back and cucumbered the Broncos to death, with a little help from his Seven Kemosabes.

"We like the press," Redskin wideout Art Monk said. "It gives us the opportunity to do more things we like to do. It was good for us."

How did the Redskin receivers feel when the Three Amigos dominated the national consciousness the last few weeks, earning fame and a Taco Bell endorsement contract?

"We just kind of smiled at that," Monk said, kind of smiling. "We like being overlooked. We were glad they got all the attention."

But now you Redskin receivers need a nickname, not to mention an agent.

"The tight ends, we call ourselves the Bruise Brothers," said Clint Didier, who caught a touchdown pass and never got a bruise.

That nickname has been taken, Clint. You guys are worse than Joe Biden.

Don't even think of suggesting The Magnificent Seven, or the Seven Dwarfs.

We'll work on it. Go introduce yourselves to Prez Reagan, then call me and we'll do lunch. But not at Taco Bell.

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