And it fit right in with our game plan, because it was another way to confuse the Dolphins. Defense works by recognition. And when you inhibit that recognition by getting everyone moving around, you get the defense saying, "Now wait a second. Where is everybody?" This particular package was designed for what we call the Red Area—inside Miami's 20-yard line. But even if we never got close to the goal line all day, Joe said he wanted to use it anyway, just to hear what the TV announcers would say when they saw everybody moving.
During that day's workout I was in the huddle when all of a sudden this bee landed on me. Freddie Dean, my right guard, said, "Joe, you got a bee on you!" We were well aware of all the talk about the Killer Bees, which was what everyone was calling the Miami defense. So I swatted the bee onto the ground and Freddie smashed it with the back of his hand. I don't believe in omens, but I liked the look of this one.
Friday was our dress-rehearsal practice and things were looking good. That night Jack Kent Cooke, the owner of the Redskins, threw a party, and it was the best. A classic. What was so special about that night was that John Riggins entered in white tie and tails, with top hat, white gloves and a cane. People always ask me about J.R. and all I can say is he's one of a kind. He dances to his own drum. There's not much more I'm able to say about him. He just doesn't talk much. In fact, John broke his 18-month silence with the press only after our playoff game against Minnesota. And you had to see that press conference to believe it. You'd have thought you were at one of Ronald Reagan's. Everybody in our organization, from the coaches to the players to the equipment men, was there just to hear him talk, as well as more press than I'd ever seen at Redskin Park.
So everybody thought John's entrance to Mr. Cooke's party was spectacular. He got a standing ovation. J.R. is here! And seeing him so loose, having so much fun, took everybody's edginess away just like that.
Saturday night we had an 8 p.m. meeting before moving from Costa Mesa to another hotel closer to the Rose Bowl. Joe got up and gave us a pep talk, prefacing it, as he always does, by saying, "Guys, you got to put up with me. I've got some things I have to say." And then he said that we had accomplished a lot as a football team, and that some people are content to just be a part of something. "But," he went on, "there are other people who want to be great. And tomorrow is going to be our chance to be great." That night I had the best night of sleep I'd had all week.
Next morning I couldn't believe that Super Bowl Sunday had finally arrived. I got myself dressed for breakfast and I didn't shave. I never do on a game day. It gets me into the right disposition. It makes me feel like it's time to get down and get dirty. I ate with George Starke, Tommy Owen and Riggo, and we talked a little bit about the game, a lot about everything else. John swallowed a huge mouthful of food and said, "I think I'll carry the ball about 40 times and run for about 204 yards." I said, "That would be O.K. with me, J.R." He was off by only two carries and 38 yards.
I went into my routine in the Rose Bowl locker room. I laid a whole stack of towels on the floor in front of my locker, propped my feet up on a chair, and read PEOPLE magazine for about 40 minutes, just like I do before every ballgame. I had to finish every article. I never want to leave anything incomplete, because that leaves your mind incomplete. And that makes your passes incomplete.
You could sense that the guys were starting to get restless. A lot of them were watching the pregame show on television. There were many visits to the bathroom, where our trainer, Bubba Tyer, had taped to the wall a large color photograph of the 17-diamond gold ring the 49ers received for winning last year's Super Bowl. About 15 minutes before we went out for warm-ups, Tony McGee, one of our defensive linemen, decided to turn the TV off—by pulling the plug.
When we came back inside after warmups, Joe drew up the first play we would run—50 Gut, which is a run off left tackle by John. That was the play we would run most of the afternoon. It was our best matchup, Riggins running behind Jeff Bostic, Joe Jacoby and Russ Grimm vs. Kim Bokamper, Earnie Rhone and Larry Gordon. And that one play would set the tempo for the rest of the game. We wanted to run the football. We didn't want to get into a lot of third-and-longs.
The locker room was really wired now, and all the guys were worked up. I sat down and looked around and took in moments that will live forever in my mind: Ricky Walker pumping his fist and saying, "Come on. We can do it!" Neal Olkewicz yelling, "This is what football's all about!" Riggo was seated five chairs to my right, quietly getting ready. The next quarter-hour was the most anxious time for all of us, because everyone was dressed with no place to go. Then Bill Hickman, the coach's administrative assistant, started giving us the countdown. He'd walk through the quiet locker room and say, "Twelve minutes to go." Then, "Ten minutes to go." Then, "Five minutes to go." Then, with two minutes to go, Joe stood up in front of us and said, "This is the moment we've all been waiting for." We knelt down, clasped hands, and all said the Lord's Prayer. And I'm sure every man in the room had a little something extra to say. I know I sure did. We all came up with a roar and started out of the locker room. As usual, I was the last to leave. I had to make my one last nervous trip to the bathroom—and take one last look at that ring. Then the impact of what was taking place really started to hit me. As we walked out of the tunnel, the noise really started to build.