Public Papers

Remarks Congratulating the 1992 Super Bowl Champion Washington Redskins


Please be seated, and welcome to the Rose Garden. May I first salute, of course, Joe Gibbs and Charlie Casserly, and the players, the coaches, the official family, and the friends of the Redskins. Welcome to the White House at last. We're delighted to have you here.

And you can imagine how much I've looked forward to the event. Today we honor the flagship franchise of the NFL since 1937, a team which this year earned the best mark in club history, 17 and 2. We're proud to salute the 1992 Super Bowl champions.

I think first of all of Mark Rypien: nearly 3,600 passing yards in the regular season, two touchdowns, the MVP award in the Super Bowl. Someone mentioned to me that Mark was born in Canada. It looks like the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement is paying off already, at least from our standpoint. [Laughter]

And often Mark threw to the beloved number 81. And when the NFL decided last month to scrap instant replay, I thought I heard a big cheer go up. Barbara said, ``What was that?'' I said, ``I'm not sure. Sounds like Art Monk.'' An instant replay cost him one touchdown in the Super Bowl, but not 60 others and a glorious career. And all Washington is proud of a future Hall-of-Famer.

Now, this brings me to the other members of the Super Bowl champions. Perhaps the NFL's best offensive line, the ``Hogs,'' allowing a club record low, nine sacks. Next, with Art, members of the ``Posse,'' wide receivers Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark. We salute, too, running backs like Gerald Riggs and Earnest Byner; Chip Lohmiller -- Cole Porter must have seen the future when he wrote, ``I get a kick out of you.'' [Laughter] And plus, of course, another future Hall-of-Famer, Joe Gibbs, now with three Super Bowl victories, second only to Chuck Noll. Let's hear it for the coach. [Applause]

And yet, it's the ``National Defense'' that would make even the Pentagon proud. That great defense that still has Jim Kelly ducking tacklers in his sleep -- Jim, nothing personal, the Skins k.o.'d opponents all year. Think of linemen like Fred Stokes and Jumpy Geathers, Tim Johnson; or linebackers Andre Collins and Wilbur Marshall, 11 tackles against Buffalo; or the secondary, featuring A.J. Johnson and all-pro speed demon Darrell Green. And each showed why coach Richie Pettibon said, ``It's a case of the whole being even better than the parts.''

Go to Bethesda or Anacostia, travel to Alexandria or Falls Church, and they'll talk about this team molded by Joe and Charlie. They'll talk, too, about things other than the won-and-lost record, impressive though that is. Things like Mark's support for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Art Monk's and Earnest Byner's work on behalf of the Food for Families Program at Thanksgiving, Darrell Green's youth foundation, or the Joe Gibbs Youth for Tomorrow Home.

These things explain a lot. They explain why the Skins have become a barometer of whether Monday is good or bad for Washingtonians. And they're also an economic barometer. And I was glad, for example, to learn that whenever the Redskins have won the Super Bowl, the U.S. economy has improved that year. [Laughter] Other teams get covered in the sports section; this crowd gets covered in the ``Wall Street Week.'' Whether it's Wall Street or Main Street, though, America loves the Redskins.

And so, I just want to welcome you all here. We're proud to have you here, your friends, your wives, dates, and whoever else. And so now let's get on to what's important, a little chow. But let me tell you that we've got a triathlon event out here. We have the horseshoe pit rigged up, and if I might spell out the ground rules here: Women and men welcome, just the players and their dates and friends, however, because we've got a time thing. And he who gets or she who gets the most ringers out of 10 tosses wins a fantastic prize. On the putting green, he or she who gets the lowest nine-hole score wins yet another fantastic prize. And then we move to the third event -- you can do this in any order you want, but try to do it before dinner -- and the last one is the basketball, 10 shots from the foul line, another fantastic prize. So you don't have to go, and this isn't mandatory, but I want to stand around and laugh. [Laughter]

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:02 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Chuck Noll, former head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.