Often in radio, you get listener feedback. There are those who agree with you and far more who disagree. There are those who will give you an informed opinion as well as the listener that doesn’t even wait for you to state your side of the topic. They’re too busy dialing the phone so they can tell you their “take.”
Then there’s my personal annoyance: the person who asks “Do you have any tickets to (name the game here)?”
When did my name become StubHub?
Clicking on listener email in sports talk radio often can be like James Bond opening a suitcase. It could either be a million dollars or something ready to explode.
A few weeks ago, an email from a listener stood out following a segment regarding the Washington Redskins awarding Super Bowl rings to the replacement players of the 1987 squad.
As recently chronicled in the ESPN documentary “The Year of the Scab”, the replacement Skins of the 1987 season were never given that honor by Jack Kent Cooke, though their three wins, including a victory over a Dallas team made up of most of its regular starters who had crossed the picket line, had proved pivotal in that season.
The email read: My name is Brian Toibin, and my brother Brendan was a kicker on the 1987 Redskins replacement team for one game. Brian went on to write: I was trying to check to see if he was going to be included (in the ring ceremony), but I have not heard anything back from the organization. Just wanted to clue you in on the local connection to this sports story.
Brendan Toibin played at Monacan High School and later became the starting kicker and punter for the University of Richmond in the mid-1980s. His successful collegiate career led to playing in the East-West Shrine Bowl in 1986, his senior year.
In 1987, Toibin played in one game for the replacement Redskins, making 4 extra points but also missing two field goal attempts in his only game in the NFL, a win over the St. Louis Cardinals, according to ProFootballRefernce.com.
Brendan died in 2013 at age 49.
Redskins director of communications Ross Taylor directed me to reach out to Jeff Scott, who had been handling the reunion and gathering for the team.
Not a small task when there were few records for the replacement players and even less contact information 31 years after their brief NFL careers ended.
After a phone call with Scott, Brian was informed Brendan did qualify for a Super Bowl ring and the team asked Brian to be part of the ring ceremony held at Redskins Park along with his brother’s former teammates. There was also a surprise visit from Redskins greats Doug Williams and Dexter Manley, both members of the 1987 team who have publicly said for years rings should be given to the replacement players.
“It was really special to watch for these guys who 30 years ago, never thought this would happen,” Brian Toibin said. “It means the same to our family as it does to those guys. It’s nice that he finally got the recognition.”
Toibin wants to follow up the good deeds shown to him in helping his brother be honored by doing one of his own. He wants to share the ring with his Spiders family.
“I would love to turn this over to the (Richmond) Spiders for display somewhere,” he said.
I’m sure they’d be honored to showcase one of their own. Brendan Toibin — now officially a Super Bowl champion.