Theismann on Cerrato, Snyder and Cooley's Parts
Reviving the remnants of my very-long conversation with Joe Theismann from last week, which ranged from politics to the Redskins to Chris Cooley's private parts. Still to come later today: Theismann's thoughts on Tony Kornheiser, Monday Night Football and his own future in the booth.
I should point out that this was all part of his media tour to promote Prostate Awareness Month and tomorrow's free prostate screening sessions at FedEx Field. Here's your requisite prostate quote: "Women are great, women are wonderful about taking care of themselves health-wise; guys think we're invincible. And unless our wife or our children or somebody makes the appointment for us and literally drags you by the ear, you'd rather play 18 holes of golf in thunder and lightning than you would go to a doctor....I am appealing to women now because they're the ones that can get the guys to go. How much do you inconvenience your partner at night in bed, when you're getting up two or three times to have to go to the bathroom? What about your wife trying to get a good night's sleep?
On Vinny Cerrato: "He's been held accountable for a lot of things that happened, and up until this year, this is the thing that bothers me, nobody wants to hold Joe Gibbs accountable for bad things. They'd rather defer it and blame Vinny. If it was good it was Joe's, if it was bad it was Vinny's. Joe has to take responsibility for the hirings that he made, for the decisions that they made regarding personnel. Remember, Joe Gibbs ran the Washington Redskins for the last four years, just like he ran it for the 12 before. Bobby Beathard and Joe Gibbs ran into an issue, Bobby left town, Joe stayed.
"Joe was a very very strong, very stubborn individual. Vinny would have never been able to draft the players that he drafted in this draft if Joe Gibbs was the coach. Joe wouldn't have allowed it. Joe wouldn't have allowed him to draft a tight end with Chris Cooley there. Joe wouldn't have allowed him to draft one receiver, heck, let alone two with Santana and Antwaan and James.
"And again, I'm not defending him. I'm an outside observer. I see what the Post says, I see the way the operation is run. I just think people sort of need to take a step back and look and say, 'Who was the one that we gave a pass to and who was the one that we chastised?' Vinny was the fall guy for everything that went wrong. Take a look at the archives and the history how many things have been said about Joe Gibbs in a negative way by the Washington Post. Now obviously he had a 6-10 season; something went wrong."
(Here I pointed out that we had gotten on him for, among other things, clock management.)
"You did, but it went away in a hurry. And I think now that the acknowledgment that should be made in Vinny's case is this is the first time he's run this football team. It's the first time. Think of your first article. Think of the first articles you wrote. Would you go back and look at them now and go 'holy crow, how am I still in this business?' I think this could turn out to be, I know this will be the best draft the Redskins have had in 10 years, irrespective of how the season runs."
On how players would react to the Redskins Media Empire: "Don't even pay attention to it. Trust me. The guys don't even know, could care less. Their job is to play on Sundays and on Tuesday, or Monday, to pick up a paycheck. Those are the only thing that concern players. That's it. That's as far as it goes."
On Daniel Snyder: "I feel like the media, to a large degree, totally misunderstands Dan. Here's a guy, all he wants to do is bring a winner back to Washington. That's all. Have we all made the right decision all the time in anything we've done in our life? No. He has tried so hard to bring a winner back. At the age of 34, he bought the Washington Redskins. At the age of 34 we're still all learning about aspects of life.
"He has grown, I think, into the ownership of this football team in a tremendous way. He runs certain committees, he's extremely A-personality, he knows what he wants, he goes after it. We run probably neck and neck as far as that goes; we go after stuff with a great passion. And our desire to succeed is extreme as well. I feel a kinship that way to him, and I spend a fair amount of time talking to him.
"Do I agree with everything [he does]? No. Does he agree with everything I look at, no, but I think the media, like they did with me [in the broadcast booth], I think the media latched on to the early years of Daniel Snyder and they won't let it go. They won't acknowledge that, 'Hey, you know what, this guy's a heck of an owner.' What they want to do is they want to say, 'Well he did this, he signed this guy.' Yeah, sure he did. But why? He did it to improve the franchise, he did it for the fans, and that to me is unfair."
On Chris Cooley's private parts: " I haven't seen it but I've heard about it. It's inexcusable. Chris's situation is inexcusable....First of all, how can you put something on a blog, a picture. It's your blog. It's got your name on it. It's just like having a sign out front that says 'This is mine,' and not be responsible for its content. Especially when you know so many kids look at it, men and women. That was totally, totally irresponsible."
On whether any of his teammates would have done that: "No. No. And that's another thing you have to understand, the media coverage and scrutiny today is so much different than when we played. You kidding me? The Redskins that I played with, the best way to describe them is characters with character. I had wide receivers with drinking problems, we had fullbacks who were on bars. You know, downtown here, down in D.C., oh [heck] yeah. It was a whole different era. It's like talking about Las Vegas when the mob ran it and now when corporations run it. It's different. Football is different. The players are different."
On what exactly they did: "We had parties Tuesday night, we used to have our own parties at our own bars where it was just us. It was guys night out. I'll leave it at that, let your imagination run wild, ok? But it was guys night out, it was a team bonding experience. It was. And guys have Bible study, that's a team bonding experience. I used to take my offensive line out to dinner, that's a bonding experience. There's all kinds of ways to bond.
"But we as a team, we used to get together down at Tammany Hall, downtown in Washington, it used to be a bar down on M Street. We used to go to places like that, usually Monday night. Tuesday was our day off. We'd have a good 60, 65 percent of the team. Everyone knew who we were, but most of the people in the place was all us. So it was just a chance to get out, have a few beers, drink with the guys."
On whether they did stuff that would get them in trouble today: "Heavens yes. Oh God yeah. Probably jail time. You know, I'm gonna stand on my statute of limitations. To me there are certain things that are sacred in our business. The locker room is a place that's private, and today unfortunately you have those sources that want to go unnamed, and it's like in government, it's like in business, it's in sports, it's everywhere.
"But it was fun. The reason why it was so much fun for us is because society was a more fun society then too. There were things that people just did and nobody thought much about them, plus the media scrutiny wasn't anywhere near as it is today. The athletes today are in a very, very different situation. I still think some of them think they're bulletproof and think that they can get away with anything they want, and we're coming to find out that they can't and they shouldn't."
On the election: "I'm a Republican. I like Sarah Palin a lot. I don't know a lot about her yet, but what I see I like, and I think she's real, and I think that's what this city needs. And I think John McCain is real. First of all I believe in capitalism, I believe you shouldn't be punished for working hard and making money, and I believe we should do what we can to help people. Why punish those that work hard to make money to give to some that maybe are less inclined?
"Politics and religion to me are no win situations, they're personal, but I do believe in the party, and I think Barack Obama and Joe Biden are terrific individuals, and certainly each candidate, both presidential and vice presidential make great points."
On whether he ever disagreed with teammates: "Never. I was the quarterback of the football team. I ran the football team. It wasn't a democracy. Practice belonged to me. That was my time.
"Anything that happened during practice was on my watch and I was responsible for it. The players, the attitude, their approach to practice, the efficiency of practice, the way we ran it. I had coaches move away from my huddles. I used to throw Joe Bugel out of my huddle all the time because he'd stick his head in and talk to his linemen. I'd say, 'Look, you've got three hours a day in meetings to talk to them, they're mine now so would you please step out, I'm trying to run an offense here. Buges will tell you.' "
On whether Jason Campbell has that: "He's getting there. I see it. He's slowly getting there. Jason's personality and my personality are totally different....You have to take charge in your own way. I see the players respond. I watch practice. I watch Jason call them into the huddle. They don't lollygag. They get right in there and go to work. This group of guys really wants to work hard."
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