by | Jan 31, 1988 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

SAN DIEGO — First of all, Curt, you can come down from that tree. I know some folks might consider you a sad, dim- witted buffoon based on your last two Super Bowl picks. But I don’t. And it’s not because I picked the correct team those two years either. Hey, Curt, come on. I know how easy it is to get swept up in the hype, and lose your brains, and bet your kid’s first year of college on the wrong team. I’ve watched you do it two years in a row now.

Let’s see. Whom are you picking this time? The Washington Redskins? Well. Hmm. Curt, I must say this: HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

I hope your kid can drive a cab.

No. Seriously. I — HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! — I can see why you (mmmphmmph) want to go with (BLAH-HAgrzzlp) the ‘Skins. After all, you went with Denver last year and look where it got you. Remember last year? What was the score? New York 200, Denver 3? Something like that. So, obviously, you figure, no way I’m picking those guys again.

Curtis, my man, my friend, my buddy, you can’t pick to save your life.

You had the right team last year, just the wrong Super Bowl. This is going to be Denver’s year. This year. 1988. You’re one year late. Are you still wearing Nehru jackets, too?

Denver. I repeat, Denver. With John Elway, a quarterback as elusive as Jell-O. With the Three Amigos. With an overachieving defense. And a kicking game. You do remember the kicking game? Field goals? Worth three points? What do you suppose the Redskins will do on fourth-and-six from anywhere inside the Denver 30?

I will tell you what they will do: They will pray. Because Ali (Aw-Gee) Sheikh is their only kicker. How bad is he? You might have a better chance, Curt. Especially the way you boot the Super Bowl each year.

I could overlook the kicking stuff if the rest of the team were superior, or even equal, or even serious. But the Redskins? The team that has been practicing all week in different numbered jerseys so people can’t spy on their practices? Does that sound like a secure team to you? What are they afraid of? A Denver scout hanging from a blimp? Maybe they saw you in that tree.

Is this the same Washington team that picked its starting quarterback in December? Now, I like Doug Williams. I really do. But I can’t help noticing every time he comes to the sidelines, the way Jay Schroeder holds that clipboard up near his head. One of these times — whack! Down he goes.

We are talking about a team that got here because Minnesota couldn’t catch a pass at the goal line. Because Chicago allowed Jim McMahon to throw all day. The ‘Skins play in a killer division, too. Not another team had a .500 record. That’ll make you sweat, huh?

Denver. I repeat, Denver. If I were the Redskins, I would not only change my numbers, I would change my uniforms. Not merely because they can’t stop a punt return, or kick a field goal, or choose a quarterback who won’t take the receiver’s head off with every five-yard toss.

But mostly because, Curtis, my good man — you picked them.

And we both know what that means.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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