Old NFL rivals unite at golf tournament

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On Jan. 30, 1983, Rich Milot and the rest of the Washington Redskins charged onto the fields of the Rose Bowl. About three hours later, led by John Riggins’ rushing, Joe Thiesmann’s passing, and a defense, including Milot, that shut down every Miami attack in the second half, the team brought the nation’s capital its first-ever Super Bowl title, a 27-17 win.

Five years later, Milot’s squad did it again, pasting Denver 42-10 to grab Super Bowl XXII.

But for Milot, who spent nine years as a Redskin linebacker, playing the Big Game wasn’t as big a deal as writing one chapter after another of arguably the biggest rivalry in pro football history.

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&uot;Playing the Cowboys was a little better,&uot; he said. &uot;The Super Bowl was sort of anti-climactic. You get all the hype, and then you go out and play, and it’s just another game. The Dallas-Washington rivalry was special around Washington, D.C.&uot;

Ron Springs, who spent six years trying to run past and over Milot on the other side of the rivalry, felt the special feeling as well.

&uot;We played so much on the field that we develop a true respect,&uot; said the former Cowboy and Williamsburg native. &uot;We get flashbacks, but we’re too old to fight. We’re too old to play football, so we challenge them in golf.&uot;

That’s why, at Cypress Creek Golf Club on Saturday afternoon, the two weren’t thinking about Spring’s performance on the last day of the 1979 regular season, in which Dallas came back from a 34-21 deficit with seven minutes left to win 35-34, knocking the ‘Skins out of the playoffs. They didn’t think about the interception that Milot made in the fourth quarter of the 1982 NFC title game that helped his team edge the Cowboys, 31-17. They were thinking about reliving memories, and helping others.

The rivalry continued at a golf tournament to benefit the Metropolitan Kappa Youth Foundation. Along with about 80 other golfers, Milot teamed with fellow former ‘Skins Gary Clark, Brian Mitchell and Tony McGee, while Springs had Dallas alumni Billy Jo Dupress, Everson Walls and Bruce Thornton to help him out. The event raised hundreds for the foundation, which provides mentoring and scholarships to youths. Some of the money went to victims of Hurricane Katrina, while other funds were given to local charities.

Grabbing a snack after hitting the links, Clark, who helped the ‘Skins win both the 1987 and 1993 Super Bowls, gave his thoughts on his former team, which kicked off its season Sunday with a win over Chicago.

&uot;They’ve got to get back to playing (coach) Joe Gibbs Ball,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s mistake-free basics. They have to step up and make plays. I’ve picked them to go 10-6 this year. I’ve talked to them, and I can see it in their eyes that they want to win.

&uot;Joe doesn’t have back-to-back losing seasons. When we played, if you didn’t make the playoffs, you didn’t come out of your house. Winning ways are coming back to D.C.&uot;