The Redskins have a numbers problem – again.
Just a few weeks after debating whether Landon Collins should wear the late Sean Taylor’s No. 21, Joe Theismann says it’s fine for rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins to don No. 7.
Stop the madness – retire a few numbers and then move on. This piecemeal way of revisiting numbers of legendary players just looks bad.
Currently, Sammy Baugh’s No. 33 is the only number officially retired. Sonny Jurgensen’s No. 9, Darrell Green’s 28, Charley Taylor’s 42, Larry Brown’s 43, John Riggins’ 44, Bobby Mitchell’s 49, Dave Butz’s 65 and Art Monk’s 81, along with Theismann and Taylor, haven’t been used since they left.
The Redskins are all about marketing the past since the post-Super-Bowl era has largely stunk. Many older fans who adored those legends are gone and the young people are ambivalent. So, many people don’t see what’s wrong with Haskins wearing Theismann’s number.
But if you care about this franchise, you care about numbers. Do you really want to see somebody wearing Riggo’s number stinking up the joint? Or another passer failing as No. 9? No, no and hell no.
There’s a way out – retire the numbers of Jurgensen, Green, Taylor, Riggins, Mitchell and Monk. They’re all hall of famers and largely different positions so the potential pool isn’t really narrowed. Do it this fall at the “homecoming” game. Sell the jerseys like crazy. Wave the symbolic burgundy flag of the franchise.
Brown and Butz are easier to recycle just as Mark Moseley’s No. 3 was years ago. They were all very good players whom the equipment manager liked so much he refused to give out the numbers. But, this is about compromise so they’re sacrificed for now. Maybe someday there can be a second round of number retirements.
But that leaves Theismann as a hard tweener of a decision. Theismann’s 84 victories are the most by a Redskins quarterback. He won a Super Bowl and played in a second, something no other Washington passer has done. For overall durability and success, Washington has never truly found his long-term successor.
Theismann is just a notch under the hall-of-fame line. But, just a notch. He was never given due respect because Billy Kilmer and Jurgensen poisoned fans against the then-young reserve who wanted their job and dared to say so. It’s time to stop this nonsense and embrace Theismann as the great player he was for the Redskins and retire his number, too.
Now Theismann said it was OK with him for Haskins to wear No. 7. But, Theismann doesn’t want to be the bad guy once more so I suspect he’s doing so grudgingly no matter what’s his public position.
Owner Dan Snyder doesn’t get many chances to be the good guy. This is a golden opportunity for great PR and jersey sales. It’s a win-win.
And really, how many win-wins have the Redskins enjoyed lately?