One of the coolest experiences of the NFL’s Super Bowl Media Center is the huge ballroom that becomes known as Radio Row.
As you weave your way through the ocean of tables and radio personalities, you’re overwhelmed by the cult of personality. On one side, there’s Herm Edwards discussing his recent comments on the destination of Peyton Manning. On the other side, Miss America sits in on the set of the NFL Network, while Joe Theismann schmoozes CSN Washington:
But as you push past the crowd, the far side of Radio Row holds a golden gem: a tribute to the patriotic sacrifice that NFL players have made for their country in times of need. Prominently featured in that display, is none other than your Washington Redskins; a team with deep historical ties to service.
According to the display, more than 1,200 active NFL players have answered America’s call since its inception in 1920. These conflicts have included World War II and the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East.
Redskins highlighted in the display included Cliff Battles, a running back sensation in the 1930s:
In World War II, Battles served alongside Pro Football Hall Of Famer (and former Redskins stud) Wayne Millner:
A third Redskins teammates to join his brothers in World War II was future Hall Of Fame coach (and alleged inventor of the screen pass), Ray Flaherty. These are his enlistment papers on display:
And from the perspective of the Assistant Editor for the Redskins Gameday Magazine, I was delighted to see a copy of the Redskins Review. This is the gameday magazine that was available to fans on the Dec. 7, 1941 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, which was interrupted by the attacks on Pearl Harbor:
And of course, a Redskins No. 53 game-worn jersey from that fateful day (checking to find out that owner of No. 53 in 1941):
No matter what I see in Indianapolis, few things will impress me more than seeing the history of service that this organization has to its community and country. It really makes me proud to write about things like this, and it gives me an opportunity to pause and give thanks that I’m free to do what I do because of people like this.