WASHINGTON — A Super Bowl champion will be crowned on Sunday, February 7.
Either the Kansas City Chiefs will have won their second straight Super Bowl or Tom Brady's record 10th Super Bowl title.
Meanwhile, our Washington Football Team hasn’t appeared in the Super Bowl — football’s biggest stage — in 29 years. The 10 years before that the team won three Super Bowls under coach Joe Gibbs.
Get Up DC host, Tony Perkins, recently caught up with some former members of the Burgundy & Gold to get their take on this past season and the direction of the team moving forward.
For one of the original Hogs, a name given to the dominant offensive line from the 1980s and 1990s for Washington, there was no place Jeff Bostic liked playing more than at home at RFK Stadium.
"There was no stadium in the NFL that showed the appreciation for their players like RFK did during my era,” Bostic said.
A lot has changed since Bostic suited up for Washington, and there has been very little to cheer about.
The struggles of Washington’s football team since its last Super Bowl win in 1992 are well documented. Only seven playoff appearances, four division titles, just three playoff wins. No Super Bowls.
Washington’s Super Bowl drought has been so long, there have been six different United States presidents since the team’s last appearance in the big game.
But this season has given fans a reason to hope that maybe the nearly three decades of frustration are coming to an end.
The team hired Ron Rivera, the two-time NFL coach of the year, who led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50.
Former members of the Washington Football Team were impressed with the turnaround in the team’s first season under Rivera.
“Bringing in Ron Rivera was a great change because he’s a guy who's like, ‘Believe in me, we're gonna be disciplined, we're not gonna be a soft team, we're not gonna practice easy, we're gonna work drafting right, and getting some of the good people on the team,’” said Ken Harvey, who played in Washington from 1994-’98. “I think it all started moving in the right direction.”
Former Washington wide receiver Santana Moss, who played against Ron Rivera coached teams, wasn’t surprised by the team’s success this season.
“For all the years that I faced him as a player, the team took on his persona, his personality,” said Moss. “You know, they always fought hard.”
We also saw the miraculous comeback of Alex Smith less than two full years after he broke his leg.
A comeback that impressed Jeff Bostic who was on the field when Joe Theismann suffered a similar injury.
“Joe never had to deal with that bacterial and flesh-eating bacteria,” says the three-time Super Bowl champion. “And if you would have told me when I watched that special about Alex Smith. I didn't think he'd ever play again. And I got a lot of respect for him.”
Alex Smith’s future with the team is uncertain, but with or without Alex, the guys are optimistic about the future of their former team.
“I think the team has headed on in a great direction, especially, despite the COVID pandemic this year,” said Ricky Ervins, who played four seasons in Washington, and won the Super Bowl in his rookie year. “But I think that we are a tackle away. We got pretty good backs. And [we’re] another receiver away from being really good”
The former linebacker, Ken Harvey, thinks it’s the intangibles that will put the current team over the top.
“You can be physically equal but it's the one who believes the most in what they can do, believes that they're going to win, and they'll win the game,” said the four-time Pro Bowler. “And, so, I think the belief is there with the team.”
Santana Moss looks at the defense, which was a strength this season behind the play of rookie phenom Chase Young, as a key component of any future success.
“Defense wins championships,” said Moss, who now covers the team. “I'm an offense guy all my life. [I] played defense young, growing up, but I understand that defense would allow you to stay in the game. And now you have to do is make a play on the offensive side. So I was satisfied with that and I know we have a bright future ahead.”
And leave it to the former Hog to draw parallels between Ron Rivera’s first season as the head coach, and the first season of former head coach Joe Gibbs, who enjoyed a lot of success in Washington
“When [Joe] Gibbs got here, we went 0-5 the first five games he coached. And we were kind of feeling our way around,” said Jeff Bostic. “Well, the last 11 games we went 8-3. So after starting 0-5 we finished 8-8. And that was the momentum that went into the next Super Bowl, the first Super Bowl we ever played in.”
Tony did ask the guys for their thoughts on a couple of quarterbacks if Alex Smith does not return next season.
One quarterback who has been linked to Washington is Deshaun Watson, who has asked to be traded by the Houston Texans this offseason.
All four former players gave their thumbs-up to Washington acquiring Watson, although his price may be too steep following the reported trade of Matthew Stafford. Stafford's trade will not become official until the beginning of the new league year on March 17, at 4 p.m.