Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Redskins Greatest Games Volume One: November 3, 1991 - Part 4

Every game has a story. This is the story of Sunday November 3 1991, RFK Stadium, Redskins 16, Oilers 13 (OT).

Curly R continues the inaugural edition of Redskins Greatest Games with Part 4, Jack Returns to the NFL.

Part 1: Who is Jack Pardee?
Part 2: What Jack Did
Part 3: The Oilers
Part 4: Jack Returns to the NFL
Part 5: The Game
Part 6: The Moment
Part 7: The Aftermath
Bonus Material


Jack's back, and he has a whole new bag...


When Jack Pardee was introduced as the 15th head coach of the Oilers on January 9, 1990, Jack saw in front of him the ultimate opportunity to validate his run & shoot offense at the pro level. The Oilers were stocked at quarterback, receiver and offensive line. There were no fullbacks or tight ends to be seen. Jack had completed his 180 degree turn away from the run-first styles of the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins and had become a disciple of the widest-open football offense ever created.

The Oilers went 9-7 and made the playoffs in 1990. Houston was the top passing offense, the number two scoring offense and, as predicted by the scheme, were terrible on the ground. Only the Ron Meyer Colts, Lindy Infante Packers and Bud Carson Browns were worse running teams. Warren Moon led the league in passing attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns. Two receivers were over 1000 yards. Defensively, the Oilers were in the middle of the pack, though stronger against the run. Confidence for 1991 was high.

Going into the 1991 season, the Oilers were hot and the Run & Shoot was hotter. Jerry Glanville, the former Oilers defensive coordinator and head coach, took it with him to Atlanta. Wayne Fontes put it in place for Jack Pardee's University of Houston Cougars Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware in Detroit. Jack had the best quarterback in the league and the Oilers were poised for a run at the Super Bowl. He looked at his schedule and circled week 10, a visit to RFK to play the Redskins, his old team two different ways. George Allen had seen fit to trade for him in 1971, and Redskins president Edward Bennett Williams brought him back as coach six years later to carry on the George Allen tradition.

But things didn't work out in Washington the second time around. The Redskins had missed the playoffs in dramatic fashion in 1979, John Riggins held out in 1980, robbing Jack of his power back, and newly activist owner Jack Kent Cooke came down with general manager Bobby Beathard on the team's direction. The Redskins fired Jack after the 1980 season, leaving him feeling betrayed and embittered over his Washington experience.

Since that day in January 1980, Jack had gone on to coach three football teams, pioneer a new offensive scheme, earn another Coach of the Year award to go with the three he already had, go to the playoffs three times, go to two bowl games, produce a Heisman Trophy winner and be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Jack needed no validation, and yet there they were on the schedule, the Washington Redskins.

Since taking the team from Jack Pardee, Joe Gibbs had gone on to build a solid franchise, winning four division titles, making the playoffs five times, appearing in three Super Bowls and winning two, all in a span of ten seasons. 1991 was also a season of high expectations for the Redskins.

In the first nine weeks of the 1991 season, Jack's Oilers compiled a 7-1 record, scoring an average of 29 points and allowing opponents an average of 13. Warren Moon was on fire and the offense was averaging a staggering 387 yards per game. Houston was simply overwhelming opposing teans, while playing stellar defense themselves.

Meanwhile, the Redskins had opened the season 8-0, averaging 31 points per game, allowing opponents an average of 12 points, including three shutouts in those first eight games. The Washington offense was averaging 335 yards a game on offense, including 148 yards on the ground. It looked like the Redskins were coming together for another Super Bowl run.

This was going to be an epic clash, the irresistable force coming to RFK to face the immovable object.


Curly R's Redskins Greatest Games continues today with part 5, The Game.

Run & Shoot base set from here. Warren Moon from here. Joe Gibbs, Washington Post from here.