Few teams in professional sports get to have as grand a day as the Washington Redskins had here Saturday. Any team’s fans can buy out a stadium for a big playoff game or be indulged in a civic championship parade. But how many times can a team’s fans, more than 15,000 of them, monopolize a sport’s Hall of Fame? Not since the old Bulldogs left Canton has the birthplace of professional football so tilted toward one team.
The Redskins and their devotees hadn’t had so much to celebrate in more than 16 years, since Darrell Green and Art Monk were in uniform, not coincidentally. Folks who’ve been coming here for these inductions for 25, 30 years swear no team has produced anything close to the Redskins’ Hall of Fame turnout, not to mention their fervor. Their ovations, particularly the four-minute outpouring that greeted Monk, were as heartfelt as any Sunday afternoon praise during their career.
The mayor of Canton took one look at the crowd, painted in burgundy and gold, and proclaimed it “Redskins Day.” Every seat on every flight Saturday from National, BWI and Dulles airports to nearby Cleveland was occupied. Thousands more drove the 350 miles. Every one of them seemed to be wearing a Redskins jersey, most bearing either Green’s No. 28 or Monk’s No. 81. No single Redskin could have caused this stampede; only a pair as already beloved as Green and Monk could pack the house on the road like this