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Remembering The 'Seat Cushion Game' 25 Years Later


The remnants of the game are still stashed away by Carol Smith, a lifelong Redskins fan that remembers fondly the rain-soaked day she saw her team win in dominating fashion and collected some extra free giveaways, too.

Twenty-five years ago Wednesday, the game known only as the Seat Cushion Game took place inside a soggy RFK Stadium between the Redskins and Falcons in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

"One of my favorite Redskins' memories was the rainy game against Atlanta at RFK," Smith said of the day when thousands of gold seat cushions rained down onto the field.

With just more than six minutes left in the fourth quarter, running back Gerald Riggs pummeled up the middle for 1-yard touchdown, capping off a 13-play drive to extend the Redskins' 17-7 lead and effectively seal up the victory over Atlanta. Washington would go on to beat Dallas and then Buffalo to win the franchise's third Lombardi Trophy.

In the midst of Riggs' celebration, fans could sense the game was all but over and tossed their free gold seat cushions up in jubilation, many of which floated down into the end zone, where police officers, staff members and referees quickly kicked them out of bounds for the extra point attempt.

"It was the most magical sight to see -- hundreds and hundreds of those bright gold cushions flying and soaring though the stadium," Smith said. "We were lucky to have seats in the lower bowl because we ended up with an unbelievable amount of cushions. I used those cushions for years and years and years and may still have one or two tucked away somewhere."

"The crowd was in a very festive mood, and all it took was one seat cushion coming from the upper deck," said then-Redskins public address announcer Phil Hochberg.  "The whole field was littered with them."

In a post written by Mike Richman, he noted that the "huge confetti," as Jim Lachey described it, was one of a number of storylines from that game. Atlanta's players did a lot of pre-game trash talking, singing "To Hell With the Redskins," to mock "Hail to the Redskins," and sent 47 players out to midfield for the opening coin toss to rattle Redskins players.

The Falcons had already lost to the Redskins 56-17 earlier in the season, so it seemed slightly more than arrogant that they entered into an opponent's home field with so much gusto.

"I never heard anybody say they were bothered or that we had to pay them back for that," former Redskins linebacker Andre Collins said of the Falcons' intimidation tactics. "We were a great team. We had won 14 regular-season ball games, and the two we lost were by a total of five points. We just wanted to take care of business and finish out the season the right way."

The seat cushions coming down seemed to be the proper send-off, a final accent to a convincing victory.

"It looks like somebody spilled mustard," Verne Lundquist said laughing.

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