Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Modern History of Hip Hip Hooray!

What exactly does Heath Shuler have to do with Hip Hip Hooray? Not much.

Thanks to their zany, by-golly leader Jim Zorn, Hip Hip Hooray is fast becoming the rallying cry of this year's Redskins (get your t-shirts here!). The cheer, which some claim has ancient origins, hadn't been used much in NFL circles since George Allen coached the Redskins until Zorn unearthed it in the Texas Stadium visitors locker room two weeks ago.

That's not to say that Hip, Hip, Hooray wasn't invoked at all in the last 20 years...

December 17, 2003:

Toronto Globe and Mail sports columnist Allan Maki lamented the increasingly over-the-top nature of NFL endzone celebrations the week that Joe Horn infamously caught a touchdown pass and retrieved a cellphone from underneath the goalpost pad as part of a choreographed act.

He conlcuded: "So remember: players who score touchdowns can grab their teammates, be hugged by fans and shout a mighty, "Hip hip hooray!" They cannot, on any occasion, grab a lower body part and gyrate, make throat-slashing gestures or pick up a cellphone to make a call -- unless it's to find a job in another line of work."

A man after Zorn's own goofy heart, it turns out that Maki was five years ahead of -- and 30 years behind? -- his time. I think even Maki might have excused Zorn had he grabbed his crotch in Philadelphia on Sunday after Clinton Portis converted that crucial fourth down.

July 26, 1994:

After signing the richest rookie contract in NFL history to end a 12-day holdout, Marshall Faulk was quoted in USA Today: "I didn't have time to celebrate -- no champagne, no hip, hip, hoorays." Even as a rookie, Marshall Faulk apparently knew how to party. Perhaps the Redskins should keep a few bottles of Krug and Dom Perignon on ice for the postgame celebration this Sunday.

Incidentally, the same brief included the following update: "Also, the Washington Redskins and quarterback Heath Shuler, the No. 3 pick, are closer to a deal, says agent Tom Condon."

Hip, hip, -- uh, nevermind.

December 16, 1988:

A young Michael Wilbon wrote a column in the Washington Post about Cincinnati Bengals head coach Sam Wyche's memories of his former coach and original hipster George Allen.

"George used to come in after a win and would say he wanted to hear three cheers for the Redskins. And he'd yell, `Hip, hip, hooray. Hip, hip, hooray. Hip, hip, hooray.' And he'd jump up in the air and get himself all fired up."

"Well, we [the Bengals] went to Philadelphia the second game of [this] season. They had just beaten Tampa Bay and everybody was talking about the Eagles for the Super Bowl. It was a pretty big game at that time, and we won it, on the road. We came into the locker room afterward and I had a flashback.

"I hollered, `Hip, hip, hooray,' and the room was quiet. It was a little bit louder on the second time. And on the third one, everybody was saying, `Naw, we're not doing this.' In the early '70s, under George, it was fun. Every now and then, I hear one of our guys behind me going, `Hip, hip!' "

Naw, we're not doing this? That's hardly the spirit, though it should hardly come as a surprise. The fact that the Redskins didn't have a similar reaction 20 years later is either indicative of Zorn's serious gift for endearing himself to his players or the fact that this is one ridiculously kooky team. It's probably a combination of the two. Oh, and I'm sure it had nothing to do with the hip, hip, hooraying (albeit half-assed), but the Bengals finished 12-4 that season and lost to Joe Montana and the 49ers in the Super Bowl. Just sayin'.

November 24, 1988:

During the 1988 football season, the Washington Post ran a guest prognosticator column each week. This particular week, author and playwright Larry L. King broke out the ol' triple-H before making one of his picks.

"Monday night might be a good opportunity to catch up on lost sleep, the 6-6 Seattle Seahawks hosting the 6-6 Los Angeles Raiders, even though the lead in the AFC West is at stake. Hip-hip-hooray and all that, but somehow here in Washington that isn't of equal importance with the national deficit or even whom President-elect Bush may name as third assistant undersecretary of nuts and bolts. I'm tempted to call the Monday night game a 6-6 overtime tie, but here's a weak vote for the Raiders-getting three-to cover. The Raiders have won four of six on the road outright, the Seahawks don't scare anybody, and likely the Raiders have more grit. So take the Raiders and the points, but don't risk large sums."

For the record, Dave Krieg would outduel Steve Beuerlein in a thrilling 35-27 Seahawks win. It's unknown whether head coach Chuck Knox led the team in a locker room cheer afterward.

1 comment:

greta said...

great. now i have the mental image of jim zorn grabbing his crotch burned into my mind. thanks for that.