MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark Rypien has erased all the doubts.
When he held out in training camp before settling on a one-year contract for $1.25 million, owner Jack Kent Cooke called him a "bloody idiot."
Now he's the Super Bowl MVP after leading the Washington Redskins to a 37-24 victory.
His teammates saluted him after the game.
"I think Mark has come a long way over the past few years," wide receiver Art Monk said. "He has struggled and I think he's really matured. He came in this year very confident and took charge of the offense. He grooved as the weeks progressed. By seeing the confidence in him, it gave us more confidence in ourselves."
Rypien said he had a "special feeling" when he walked onto the field.
"My dad passed away four years ago, and I thought about that," he said. "He was a great inspiration. It would have been grat had he been there, but I knew he was looking on . . . from a better seat."
On the criticism Rypien has taken in the past, he said: "Sometimes the truth hurts. When you get criticized, there's a reason behind it. After the San Francisco [playoff] game last year, I knew I had to do something. I took the attitude of going out and making myself a better player. I made up my mind to make this my year."
Rypien, though, said he didn't feel vindicated.
"I just feel good that I was able to achieve some goals and be a part of this team," he said.
Coach Joe Gibbs said: "It all pointed to this season for him. H lived up to every thing we could have asked him to do this year."
Rypien got a good rush from the Bills, but he handled it.
"They put good pressure on us and we made the big plays," he said. "That's the bottom line. We kept struggling and things happened right for us."
The bottom line is Rypien made the big plays all year. Which is bTC why the Redskins are champions.
He's now due for a big new contract. He's earned it.
* Richie Petitbon, the assistant coach who runs the defense, used the blitz effectively to stop the Bills. Although he said they didn't blitz much more than usual, he said, "We wanted to blitz early to stop the running game and, as things, progressed, it worked pretty well against the pass also."
Of the pressure on Jim Kelly, he said: "I think we were gettin great pressure on Kelly. If you can pressure any quarterback like we pressured Kelly today, he's going to do some things that you're going to like. I think that's the name of the game."
Petitbon also said the Redskins got lucky on the Alvoid Mays blitz that caused a Kelly fumble.
"That was blown blitz. He shouldn't have dogged on that one. He got confused with the packages and he was supposed to stay back on that one."
* Cornerback Darrell Green said the mixture of the defense was the key to stopping the Bills.
"We had a good mixture today," he said. "We dogged [blitzed] a little bit more than we have throughout the year. They weren't all-out dogs, but we had a good variety of things in our game plan. In my opinion, we had everything you could think of in it. It was like a pizza with olives, and onions and green peppers and everything you can think of. We dished it out with everything we had. We had a good scheme and the players did the work."
* Gibbs tried to end any speculation that he's going to walk away from the game after winning his third Super Bowl.
Bill Walsh quit as San Francisco 49ers coach after winning three and Bill Parcells of the New York Giants quit last year after winning two Super Bowls.
"I have no thoughts about stepping away. I will do it again next year," he said.
There has been speculation that Gibbs' interest in sponsoring a NASCAR team might cause him to walk away, but he apparently isn't ready to walk away.
* Chuck Dickerson, the Bills' offensive-line coach who apparently is trying to become the new Art Donovan, said jokingly last week that one of the weapons of offensive lineman Jim Lachey is his bad breath.
Lachey said: "That's just football. If everyone was boring like me, it wouldn't be any fun. Our coaches played the tape for us last night before our team meeting. It got us fired up a little bit."
As expected, Lachey kept Bruce Smith from getting a sack.
"They tried to move him around a little bit," Lachey said. "He played the majority over on our side. Bruce is a great player. I have a lot of respect for him. He's out there working hard. His leg probably wasn't 100 percent, but he was still giving it all he had.
* Center Jeff Bostic also didn't like Dickerson's comments although they were apparently made in jest.
"He kind of gave us a great motivating speech," Bostic said. "He was talking about the Hogs. He made a lot of really embarrassing comments, coming from a coach. He had comments about each one of us individually. He said I was an ugly guy. He said [Joe] Jacoby was a Neanderthal . . . slobbers a lot . . . probably kicks dogs. I wonder if he likes us now."