The League

Charles Mann
Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman

Charles Mann

A 12-year veteran lineman, elected four times to the Pro Bowl.

It Matters to Players


First of all, when I played we absolutely looked at Skins vs. Boys differently. You pointed to those games during the off season; you circled them on the calendar. There was more meaning, everybody knew that. It came from the coaches on down. The marching orders were different. We would even run plays the week before just to mess with the Cowboys heads. We knew if we won that game we were battle tested.

But it doesn't seem like there's as much hoopla among the fans now. When I played, in the 80's and 90's, there was a lot more talk during Dallas week. They'd have to shut down Georgetown; people would be hanging on the lamp posts. It's no where near that big now because the Skins haven't been that dawg gone competitive in a while. It's hard to have a rivalry when one of the teams stinks. But I think that's turning around. The Skins have grown and become more competitive with Campbell. He's picking up what Zorn wants him to learn, and the NFC East is once again the most dominant division in football. That's how it should be.

But as far as the players caring about the rivalry, one memory from 1983 comes to mind. It was the time of Riggo, and he was the trend setter -- everyone wanted to copy him. So going into in Texas Stadium, he starts the idea of not wearing suits. We're going to war, not to a wedding, so let's dress appropriately -- camouflage and boots. Everyone ran out to the surplus store.

I remember getting the largest size boots they had, 13 -- I wear 15s. But the pain in my feet was nothing compared to how nervous I was about what Coach Gibbs was going to say. He always watched what I was wearing because I dressed so well. When I got on the bus to go to the airport he just looked at me, and didn't say anything.

About 60% of us were wearing that fatigues on the plane, and somehow the media got wind of it. When we landed in Dallas they were waiting for us with cameras. So what do we do, but march across the tarmac, army style, and get onto our bus? We then marched into Texas Stadium and whooped Dallas 44-14 31-10 -- we had to. After what we pulled if we hadn't Coach Gibbs would have had our butts. So we wrecked them. You think players don't treat rivalry games different, think again.

By Charles Mann  |  September 26, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I Love Riggo!

Posted by: DirtyHarry | September 26, 2008 1:59 PM


With all due respect, I thought the Skins did the camouflage stunt during the 1983 season. If my memory serves me well, the team was extremely upset at giving away a victory to the Cowboys during the season opener (that would have been the game in which Darrell Green ran down Tony Dorsett) and, since the re-match at Texas Stadium was for first place in the NFC East, the team decided that it was time to "go to war." And what a war is was...for Redskins fans, at least! I don't remember the score, but the Skins did quite a number on the Cowboys that Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts on the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry. It's always great to hear from a true Redskin like yourself.

Posted by: Terence | September 26, 2008 2:57 PM

With all due respect, perhaps Mr. Mann has taken one too many shots to the head. The score in the 1985 Texas Stadium game was indeed 44-14. However, it was the Cowboys winning by 30, not the Redskins. This game is famous in Cowboys lore because it was played on Joe Thiesmann's birthday and after he was pulled from the game after throwing his fifth interception, the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Good times...

Seriously though, when one team has snagged nearly double the amount of NFL titles since both teams existed (1960) AND leads the all-time series 56-38-2, it makes for a fairly one-sided rivalry. No asinine name-calling necessary, just the facts.

Posted by: Backnine2000 | September 26, 2008 7:56 PM

He got the score wrong but the game right. It was the 1983 game that would determine homefield for the playoffs. The Skins won 31-10.

Posted by: JBS | September 26, 2008 11:04 PM

I just finished riding through the metro area here in dc, and there's a LOT of Cowboys fans here. It makes me sick to my stomach to see people not represent where they lay their heads. Beat the COWBOY crap out of them yall. I want to see their helmets flying into the stands after hits, I want to see them sitting on the sidelines feeling defeated. Hail to the Redsins. Give Hell to them Cowgirls!

Posted by: redskin die hard | September 27, 2008 5:59 PM

Charles is a class act. I wish there were Redskins today that you could look up to as we did to Charles. He was a leader on and off the field. Every time I met him whether at the park or at a charity event he showed everyone what a sports hero should be. Self efacing, honest and caring.
And he never acted like a celebrity. If Charles says it, believe it. He knows what he is talking about.

Posted by: steve jacobson | September 28, 2008 9:16 AM

And now today's game will go down as one of those classic Skins victories. Eat it Dallas.

Posted by: Marching | September 28, 2008 8:13 PM

Backnine2000 stop, go get you facts straight (It's not hard we have the Internet)and find something else to do now that we have whipped you cowgirls again. The bottom line is we Won then as I said and Won last night. Nuff Said.

Posted by: Charles_Mann | September 29, 2008 2:23 PM

I agree with Mr. Mann. When one team dominates it ain't much of a rivalry... Since the Redskins have won 5 of the last 7 games, maybe we should let the cowgirls win some to make it competitive.

Posted by: Joe | September 29, 2008 4:54 PM

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