Washington draft choice and Super Bowl QB dies at age 85
Did you know the only quarterback to lead teams to a Rose Bowl, Grey Cup and Super Bowl was actually drafted out of college by the then-Washington Redskins?
He would later go on to become the college head coach of now current Washington Commanders head coach, Ron Rivera.
Joe Kapp who died Monday at age 85, was actually drafted by the Redskins in the 1959 NFL draft, the 209th overall selection. Twenty-three years later he became the head coach of the Cal Bears (1982-86) and one of his better defensive players was a linebacker, Ron Rivera. Rivera would play well enough as a Cal Bear he was drafted 44th overall by the Chicago Bears in the 1984 NFL Draft.
Cal Bears LB Ron Rivera pic.twitter.com/csigW9NGWf
— Ivan Lambert (@IvanLambert18) June 16, 2022
Back to Joe Kapp, the relationship between Kapp and Washington ended strangely, quite strangely. Here goes an attempt at it.
The quarterback for Washington during the previous 1958 season had been Eddie LeBaron. Perhaps Washington felt that having LeBaron they didn’t need the reigning Pacific Coast Champion Cal Bears quarterback, Kapp.
So, strange as it may seem, the legend is that after drafting Kapp, the Washington administration determined to not invite him to training camp, to not attempt to sign him. As bizarre as it sounds, it seems Washington decided to not even contact Kapp at all!
How in the world do you determine to not contact a player you drafted? What’s more when he had proven himself, leading his team to Pacific Coast Conference championship his senior season?
Consequently, Kapp pursued an opportunity to play in the Canadian Football League and play he did, making it to two Grey Cup title games, winning once.
When he returned to the NFL, it was to the Minnesota Vikings, where he led them to a 12-2 1969 record, playoff wins over the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns, before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs (23-7) in Super Bowl IV.
RIP Joe Kapp, the #Vikings' rock-tough quarterback of the late-1960s
This play from Minnesota's victory over the Browns in the 1969 NFL Championship encapsulates his style perfectly.pic.twitter.com/oEbsit4crW
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) May 9, 2023
Back to the Redskins, two years after determining to not contact the quarterback they had drafted, Washington struggling without a good quarterback, drafted Norm Snead with the second overall selection in the 1961 NFL draft.
But after three seasons of Snead, Washington traded the former Wake Forest quarterback to Philadelphia for another quarterback you may have heard of …. Sonny Jurgensen.
Jurgensen played for Washington from 1964-74, set franchise and NFL records, and earned himself a place in the NFL Hall of Fame (class of 1983).
If Washington had contacted Kapp, perhaps might we have never enjoyed Sonny Jurgensen as a player or team radio broadcaster.