Greatest sports moments in D.C. history
Page 2 staff

As Page 2 continues its look at Washington sports, it's time to look at the 10 greatest moments in D.C. sports history. Below are the top 10 moments as ranked by Page 2 editors:

John Riggins
Former Redskins running back John Riggins played a part in two of Washington's greatest sports moments.
1. Riggo is king for a day (Jan. 30, 1983)
John Riggins rushes for 166 yards in 38 carries, following the Hogs and leading the Redskins to their first Super Bowl victory. In the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., 103,667 fans witness the 27-17 win over the Dolphins. Riggins, in a fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter, runs 43 yards for the winning TD. It's the first Redskins NFL title in 40 years. "I'm very happy, said Riggo after the game. "At least for tonight, Ron's the president, but I'm the king."

2. Senators win! (Oct. 10, 1924)
President Calvin and Mrs. Coolidge are among the 31,677 fans at Griffith Stadium who witness the Senators win their first and only World Series, as Earl McNeely's grounder takes a good bad hop over Giants third-sacker Fred Lindstrom's head in the 12th inning to drive in the winning run in Game 7. The Senators won the AL pennant over the Yankees by two games with a pitching staff led by Walter Johnson, George Mogridge and Tom Zachary, and the first full-time reliever, Firpo Marberry, and a batting lineup powered by Goose Goslin (.344), Sam Rice (.334), Earl McNeely (.334), and Joe Judge (.324).

3. Unseld takes Bullets to title (June 7, 1978)
Wes Unseld, guarding a 101-99 lead with 12 seconds remaining in Game 7 at Seattle, hits two free throws to seal the Bullets' first and only NBA championship, 105-99 over the SuperSonics. Unseld is named series MVP, and D.C.'s first major sports title in 36 years sends fans into a frenzy. "The championship brought the city together unlike anything else ever," says Bullets owner Abe Pollin. "Black, white, green, yellow, rich, poor -- everybody came together as one to celebrate the city having a championship team."

John Thompson
John Thompson's one NCAA title was a milestone for Georgetown and black coaches.
4. Hoyas are national champs (April 2, 1984)
The Georgetown Hoyas cap a 34-3 season by beating Houston 84-75 in front of a Seattle Kingdome crowd of 38,471 to win the 1984 NCAA championship. Patrick Ewing's 10 points and nine rebounds lead a deep Georgetown squad. Says John Thompson, the first black coach to win an NCAA basketball title, "At times I've been obsessed by the national championship, I've awakened in the middle of the night in the summer saying 'national championship.' Now I have one. I don't want 10 like John Wooden, I just wanted to get one."

5. 'Skins super in second quarter (Jan. 31, 1988)
The Redskins rout the Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII. The 'Skins are behind 10-0 before they tear off 35 points in the second quarter, with Doug Williams tossing four TD passes in the quarter. Williams, the first black QB to start a Super Bowl, is named MVP after completing what Washington Post reporters William Gildea and Leonard Shapiro call "one of pro football's greatest big-game performances. Timmy Smith, a rookie running back starting his first game, rushes for 204 yards, the most in Super Bowl history.

6. 'Skins win third Super Bowl (Jan. 26, 1992)
In Super Bowl XXVI, QB Mark Rypien leads the Redskins over the Bills 37-24 in the Metrodome. Rypien's named MVP, and 14 of his 18 completions are evenly divided between wide receivers Gary Clark and Art Monk. It's the last hurrah for the Gibbs-era 'Skins.

7. 'Skins avenge 73-0 game (Dec. 13, 1942)
The Redskins, playing with 17 men slated to enter the armed forces after the season, upset the Bears 14-6 to win the NFL championship in front of 36,006 fans at Griffith Stadium. Coming into the game, the Bears had been dominant all season -- 11-0, outscoring opponents 376-84. They had also won two consecutive NFL titles, including the 73-0 drubbing of the Redskins in 1940. Sammy Baugh and Wilbur Moore combine for a touchdown pass and Andy Farkas scores on a one-yard run for the 'Skins. Each Redskin receives a full share of $900 for winning. Said Bears end Bob Mawaskey about the loss, "That $327 more we would have got by winning looks big, but the championship was the main thing. I still don't see how it happened."

8. Riggins, Hogs crush Cowboys (Jan. 23, 1983)
The Redskins' offensive line, nicknamed the "Hogs, dominates the Cowboys' defensive line, paving the way for a 140-yard game for Riggins and a 31-17 victory at RFK Stadium that leads to a trip to the Super Bowl. "It's was the way it was supposed to be, said Washington head coach Joe Gibbs. "I haven't even thought about the Super Bowl. This is our Super Bowl, this was everything rolled into one. The Redskins versus Dallas, the team we wanted to beat the most. How can you top that?"

Michael Jordan
Washingtonians hope Michael Jordan can bring some bigger moments to the top 10.
9. Lombardi comes to town (Feb. 6, 1969)
Redskins president Edward Bennett Williams announces that he's hired Vince Lombardi as executive VP and head coach of the Redskins. Said Lombardi, "Why did I choose Washington among offers from other cities? Because it is the capital of the world. And I have some plans to make it the football capital." In his first and only season coaching the 'Skins, Lombardi leads them to a 7-5-2 record, their first winning season in 14 years. He coached only one season before dying of cancer Sept. 3, 1970.

10. Jordan takes the floor (Nov. 3, 2001)
Michael Jordan makes his debut as a Wizard at the MCI Center, leading his team to a 90-76 victory over the 76ers.

Also receiving votes

  • Redskins' first NFL championship (Dec. 12, 1937) -- Slingin' Sammy Baugh tosses three touchdown passes in the third quarter of the NFL championship game against the Bronco Nagurski-led Chicago Bears, catapulting the Redskins to a 28-21 win and an NFL title in their first season in Washington. Baugh finishes the game, played in 20-degree temperatures, 17 of 34 for 352 yards. "It was a triumph of Baugh over brawn, wrote Shirley Povich in the next day's Washington Post.

  • Baugh gets four on offense and four on defense (Nov. 14, 1943) -- Redskins safety and QB Sammy Baugh intercepts four passes and also throws for four touchdowns as the Redskins beat the Lions, 42-20.

  • 'Skins crush Cowboys to gain first trip to Super Bowl (Dec. 31, 1973) -- The Redskins thrill RFK fans as they dominate the Cowboys 26-3 in the NFC title matchup, earning the right to face the unbeaten Dolphins in Super Bowl VII.

  • Score galore at D.C. Stadium (Nov. 27, 1966) -- 50,459 fans in DC Stadium see the Redskins score 10 touchdowns to set a regular-season record of 72 points in a game. Combined with the losing Giants' total of 41, the 113 total points is also the most in NFL history.


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