The Seat Cushion Game

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Greetings from The Booth!

We’re down to the final four in the NFL Playoffs, and after today’s (Sunday’s) AFC & NFC Conference Championship games, we’ll have our Super Bowl 58 matchup. I’ve been to only one NFL playoff game in my life and two things remind me of that particular game: Today’s weather, which is a  gray, rainy, 38 degree day, and the fact that the Detroit Lions are in the NFC Championship game for the first time since the 1991 season.

That was the year that my beloved Washington Redskins won their third (and to this date, last) Super Bowl title, capping a 17-2 season by polishing off the Buffalo Bills 37-24 in the Big Game. Along the way, the ‘Skins had to face the upstart Atlanta Falcons at RFK in an NFC Divisional game on a day not unlike today.

At the time, I was the play-by-play voice of Shenandoah University basketball, and we were on a short road trip to the DC area. The great “Shep” Campbell, an SU fan, was going to the Hornets game that night, and was also going to the ‘Skins playoff game that afternoon. As he had an extra ticket, I was offered the opportunity to go with him, and he would take me to the SU game afterwards to meet up with the team. I jumped at the chance.

Interestingly enough, I was at RFK earlier in the regular season when Washington routed the Falcons 56-17, as ‘Skins QB Mark Rypien torched blitz-happy Atlanta for 446 yards passing on another rainy (but warmer) day. It would not be that easy in the postseason rematch.

The Falcons danced their way into RFK at 12-5, having won five of their last six games, and were accompianied by their most famous fans, rapper MC Hammer and boxing great Evander Holyfield. The ringleader of this trash-talking bunch was Head Coach Jerry Glanville, who sent all 47 Falcons to the 50-yard line for the coin flip. With a soundtrack that included the Hammer song “Too Legit To Quit,” and a profane version of “Hail To The Redskins,” Atlanta vowed to avenge the aforementioned 39-point loss from the regular season.

But the muddy, rainy day was more suited to the Hogs, Washington’s famed offensive line. The ‘Skins slopped through the RFK mud for 162 yards rushing, with backs Ricky Earvins and Gerald Riggs doing most of the damage. The Washington defense did it’s part, picking off Falcons quarterback Chris Miller 4 times on the afternoon.

But the 24-7 win is notable for the golden souvenier seat cushions that rained down on the field following Riggs’ 1-yard run in the final period.  Before the game, fans were given the Mobil Oil-sponsored cushions, and in a gesture that was a combination of relief and farewell to the Falcons, threw them down into the end zone below, putting the exclamation point on the victory.  Washington would go on to the NFC Championship the following week, where they defeated the Lions, 41-10.

As a footnote, I held on to my seat cushion that day, and kept it for years along with the rest of my Burgundy & Gold memorabilia. Somewhere along the way, in one of our moves, it got thrown away. But the memories remain that of January 4, 1992 Redskins playoff victory known as “The Seat Cushion Game.”

Until the next visit from The Booth…HTTR!