Tallahassee QB Robinson finally getting Super Bowl ring

Tallahassee native Tony Robinson will get a Super Bowl ring 30 years after helping the Redskins run to the 1987 championship.
Photo special to the Outlook

By St. Clair Murraine

Outlook staff writer

It’s been more than a month since Tony Robinson found out that he and the other replacement players who made up the Washington Redskins’ roster 30 years ago will be getting Super Bowl rings.

So many years have passed since he got the opportunity to live his dream of playing in the NFL that he wasn’t expecting the recognition given the regulars for winning the Super Bowl. But he was obviously ecstatic when he was invited to Virginia where the Redskins recently made the announcement.

 “I’m thrilled to death, Robinson, a Tallahassee native who played at Leon High School, said during a recent telephone interview.  “Not many people can say they have a Super Bowl ring even though it’s 30 years later. I know I was part of it and a lot of people know.”

Robinson was one of the replacement players who was known as “scabs” during the 1987 NFL players’ walkout. The strike over a labor dispute lasted three weeks at a time when the Redskins were in a race with the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC.

At stake were the Redskins playoff hopes and the replacements won three games during the strike. The biggest win was on a Monday night when Robinson quarterbacked Washington to a 10-7 upset of the Cowboys who had several of their regular starters on their roster.

Washington made it through the playoffs and went on to beat the Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII with Doug Williams as the quarterback. The substitutes each got their $27,000 share of bonus money given to the championship team, but they didn’t receive rings for their contribution.

They only have a short time longer to wait.

 “I’m good with it,” Robinson said. “I’m excited. I’m glad to be getting a ring and I’m glad that they are recognizing our team because if we didn’t win those three games this (making it to the Super Bowl) wouldn’t happen.”

The replacements’ plight came to light last fall when ESPN featured Robinson and others in a 30-for-30 documentary. Later, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement the players deserve Super Bowl rings.

“Their contributions are part of Redskins history and represent an integral reason why a Lombardi Trophy from the 1987 campaign resides in our facility today,” Snyder said. “Thanks in part to the generosity of our partners on this project, we are happy to honor these players for their role in that World Championship.”

Robinson, who played at the University of Tennessee, suffered an injury and had a run-in with the law that got him kicked off the Volunteer team in his senior year, said he had forgotten about the issue of not getting a Super Bowl ring. His first notice was a telephone call followed by an email from the producer of the ESPN documentary, he said.

“That was so long ago I really didn’t even think about it, said Robinson, whose 3,332 passing yards ranks in the top 15 at UT. “I just know that I was part of that team that helped them get to the Super Bowl. We got the money but the ring would have been nice, too.”