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Bowl Yields RFK Memories

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One of the coolest parts about the EagleBank Bowl is that it provides another dying blast of glory for old RFK, and with the pointy sort of football, to boot. There have been too many hundreds of great moments at RFK to list them all now, but I thought I'd ask some of the players on Navy and Wake Forest about their RFK memories. And yes, this is unfair, due to their ages, but they were mostly playing along, so don't hold this against them, or me, or RFK, or the EBB.

"Nothing," answered Navy QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, when I asked him what he knows about RFK. "No idea," he answered, when I asked him which team helped make RFK famous.

(By Charles Dharapak - AP)

"I know nothing about sports, period," he said. "I know a little bit about the game of football, but that's only running the triple option."

"When they told us we were playing in D.C., I thought we were playing where the Redskins play," said Navy guard Anthony Gaskins.

(By the way, the honorary captains have been announced: Napoleon McCallum for Navy, and Darius Songaila for Wake. There's some good karma, drafting a Wizard for that role.)

"Tell us about RFK Stadium," said one Wake parent I met in the team's hotel. I explained that D.C. United was the current resident. "It's amazing they've got that big stadium over there, and all they play there is soccer," he said. But for others, that was the primary attraction.

"I think, is that where D.C. United plays?" asked Wake's all-everything punter and kicker, Sam Swank, who primarily follows the Premiership but also likes MLS. "To play where all those guys play is pretty cool."

I told him the Redskins also played there; "how long ago was that?" he asked.

(When I asked Swank how many of his teammates knew that RFK was D.C. United's home, he turned to fellow kicker Shane Popham, who hadn't known about the D.C. United thing. "So I guess that makes me probably the only one," Swank joked.)

Wake tackle Joe Birdsong was all over RFK; "Robert F. Kennedy, right?" he said. "I know the Nationals played there. I'm sure that there were some good concerts as well, from what I've been told. I know Bob Dylan was there, and the Grateful Dead."

And the Redskins?

"That's old school," he said, rattling off the names of some Hogs. "That's not my time."

Birdsong tried grilling his teammate, Kevin Harris, about RFK, the man. "JFK, RFK, they knew each other," Birdsong offered as a clue.

"I remember him," Harris said, playing along. "He was in Forrest Gump." ("I know what I have to know to pass tests to be eligible for football," Harris said, for my benefit.)

Actually, the one question most players had was whether the field was grass or turf, not what the old Skins-Cowboys games were like.

And then there was Chip Vaughn, the Wake safety who grew up in Fairfax County listening to RFK tales from his father, Oscar Vaughn, a huge Skins fan.

"He's got a whole bunch of stories," Chip told me. "He keeps telling me all the history that happened in that field, all the great Redskins teams that played on that field. But since I'm a Packers fan, any time he starts talking about football and it's not the Packers, I kind of stop paying attention."

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 18, 2008; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  College Football , EagleBank Bowl  
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"('I know what I have to know to pass tests to be eligible for football,' Harris said, for my benefit.)"


May his knee never be blown out,
May he never have a concussion,
May he never break a bone while playing football.

Otherwise, what would he do?

Posted by: Juan-John | December 18, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

its still just a cool stadium when you are inside it. Last time I went there was for a Nats gam vs Houston. Had 2nd row seats behind the nats dugout. (best seats I have ever had to anything). And you looked up and realized that its just an amazing place for any event.


"IF you rebuild it they will come"

Posted by: alex35332 | December 18, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

An abbreviated list of my favorite RFK moments:

Dips-Cosmos in front of 50,000 (first time in the stadium).
Skins-Chiefs in '83 (first NFL game for me)
U2, Joshua Tree tour, '87
Pink Floyd, '88, '94
Genesis (I was young and foolish), '88
Grateful Dead, '89, '90 (Dark Star), '95 (w/ Dylan)
The Who, '89
Rolling Stones (w/ Living Colour), '89
DC United - too many good times, lost count.
Nationals: first-ever home game.

Things I missed, but that happened there:
Second Senators forfeit final game to Yankees after fans tear up the field prior to the last out before the team moves to Texas.
1982 NFC Championship Game (January 1983), Skins beat Dallas following the "We Want Dallas!" game.
June 1973 - the Dead and the Allman Brothers play one of the Best. Concerts. Ever.
Monsters of Rock
Tibetan Freedom Fest

Man, I love that dump. I'm gonna cry like a little baby the day they finally tear it down.

Posted by: EdTheRed | December 18, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

My high school girlfriend's dad had season tix to the 'Skins -- section 521 about 3 rows down from the Pearly Gates. I remember seeing a Skins/Cowboys game, but one that stands out was Skins/Giants in 1974 or 1975. Skins were down by 3 TDs in the 4th qtr, Billy Killmer was hacking away, when Sonny Jurgensen came in. We sat back and said, "We'll win now." And danged if we didn't.

I also remember the ONLY TIME IN HISTORY that I went to RFK on a Redskins gameday and bought 4 seats from the box office. When? During the 1987 Scab Season.

Oh, and my first baseball game: June 14, 1964, a doubleheader vs the Original Nats (Minnesota Twins). We lost both games.

Posted by: luv2bikva | December 18, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I can understand not knowing all the details about RFK stadium, but anyone who plays football should of atleast heard of it. I never was at griffith stadium but heard of it. it was torn down years before i was born,as was ebbetts field and many others. But not knowing who RFK was ? Do people learn anything in school any more ?

Posted by: brent4a | December 18, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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