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BOB SHORT WAS RIGHT. ONCE

[November 14th] -- More than thirty years ago, Redskins' owner Edward Bennett Williams announced the hire of a new, proven head football coach who would lead the team back to prominence in the NFL. This man had a few championships under his belt, and was known to be able to turn around an NFL team almost immediately. No. It wasn't George Allen. He came later. This was Green Bay legend Vince Lombardi. Lombardi turned the Redskins into winners in 1969, their first winning season in 14 years, and only their third since the Truman administration.

Lombardi found something new when the Redskins visited Franklin Field in Philadelphia, owned by the University of Pennsylvania and shared with the Eagles. Gone was the hard grass sod and in its place was a brand new artificial surface. There was a picture of him in the Post, wearing his traditional camel-color overcoat, springing across the plastic grass with a toothy grin that only Lombardi could get away with. St. Vincent loved the feel of the Astroturf as he walked the sideline during the game. He told reporters that he intended to talk to the Armory board about changing the RFK grass to the artifical surface. The Armory board liked the idea of placing Astroturf in RFK Stadium. The cost, over ten years, would be far less expensive than the cost of maintaining a sod field. All that was left was to get approval from Senators owner Bob Short.

It never happened.

Short, in perhaps the only wise move he made during his stewardship in Washington, said "No way." The Armory board, and Lombardi indirectly, negotiated for sometime before finally giving up hope that an agreement could be reached. By the time the Redskins became the sole occupant of RFK Stadium in 1972, Vince Lombardi had been dead for two years and George Allen was the new "sheriff" in town. This sheriff hated astro-turf. That ended any hope of plastic grass at RFK.

Bob Short did the right thing. Man, that is sooo hard to write.


Comments:
You know, I remember that picture! He was wearing that coat you described ... no hat ... and his left leg was up as if to bounce on the turf. He was wearing black coaches shoes with thick rubber soles. His hands were in his pockets.

I have no idea why I remember that. I didn't remember the story, just the picture.

This is one of the reasons why I like the interactive part of the internet. You think you're the only person who remembers such-and-such, or thinks this-and-that, and then you find out you're not alone.

Thanks for the memories
 
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