The Dancing Bear: Ron McDole

Here’s another project courtesy of the great George Allen. Again, Allen could care less about offense and sometimes turned his back when the Redskins offense had the ball.

No problem. He just wanted to make sure the Skins’ defense was up to task.
So on May 11, 1971, the big-time trader Allen secured the services of Buffalo Bills’ star defensive end, Ron McDole. Of course he surrendered three draft picks to do it.

To be honest, this McDole fellow was no ordinary defensive end. While stationed in Buffalo (1963-70), he never let a season go by without picking off a pass. In 1968, he had two interceptions, including one, the 6-4, 265 pound player took back 47 yards.

So he came to the Redskins, seemingly out of his prime at 32-years-old, and proceeded to play eight more seasons in DC and never once called in sick. He was on the line every Sunday.

So let’s go to the fourth Sunday of the season in 1971. The Skins are unbeaten and the visiting Oilers from Houston were winless. No problem right?
Well heading to the final quarter at RFK Stadium it was Washington 16 and Houston 13.

It was hardly a blowout. The Skins offense, ignored by Allen, had three field goals from Curt Knight. Two of them were silly (13 and 15 yards).

And then, the Dancing Bear stepped up and made a play. His 18-yard interception return for a touchdown gave Washington some breathing room. Knight would kick two fourth-quarter field goals in the 22-13 win. The Houston kicker answered back with a pair of field goals as well.
Who was that kicker? Some guy named Mark Moseley.

McDole swiped another pass on December 5. In fact, five Redskins in all took away passes. Four of those went on the record on Fran Tarkenton. The eighth win of the year was a 23-7 romp over the New York Giants.

McDole’s final pick of the season came in the last regular season game of the season. In this Dec. 19th contest, the visiting Browns edged the Skins 20-13.

Now to be honest, McDole didn’t intercept another pass until 1977. That’s when he picked off two when he was 38-years-old.

In that other turnover department, McDole did grab a fumble in 1975 and plunged into the end zone against the evil Giants.

Oh, that Dancing Bear stuff? It seems he took his dancing moves out into the District and QB Sonny Jurgensen was so impressed, he gave him that nickname.


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Brian Hradsky

The owner of MSB, I created this website while in college and it has never died.

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