In a game that will match the winners of four of the past five Super Bowls, the Washington Redskins will play their first European exhibition game on Aug. 16 in London against the San Francisco 49ers.
General manager Charley Casserly of the Redskins said last night that the team hasn't yet officially been notified that it is making the trip, but a source in the league said the NFL will make an announcement shortly that the game has been set as one of the three American Bowl games the NFL has scheduled for this summer.
The NFL has announced that the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers will play in Tokyo Aug. 2 and shortly will announce that the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos will play in Berlin Aug. 15.
The Redskins were penciled in for their first London trip after coach Joe Gibbs publicly dropped his opposition to playing an exhibition game in a foreign country. The NFL has a rule that it can schedule teams for foreign trips without their permission, although it is reluctant to do so.
Because the 49ers have played in foreign games, the NFL gave them a choice of playing in the game. The 49ers debated before deciding to make the trip.
Gibbs had opposed foreign trips because he felt they would disrupt training camp. When he was an assistant coach with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1970s, the team played an exhibition game in Tokyo, and he said it was a negative experience.
But when the veteran players told him they would like to make a trip after the 1989 season, Gibbs said he would agree to go the next time the NFL asked him to.
The London trip will be one more obstacle for the Redskins, as they attempt to become the second team in the past decade to repeat as defending champions. It's uncertain whether the team will break training camp in Carlisle, Pa., when it goes to London or will return for one more week.
* The Redskins announced yesterday they are ending their longtime association with WMAL Radio and will shift the broadcast of their games to a new, all-sports station called WTEM, which will start broadcasting in April. It will replace WGMS, which had a classical music format. The new station outbid WMAL and several other stations for the rights in the belief that the Redskins games will give the all-sports station a boost.
The station will attempt to retain the popular Redskins broadcasting crew of Frank Herzog, Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff. It also will retain the Redskins network.
* A District of Columbia councilman has drafted a resolution urging the team to change its name, saying it was offensive.
The term "redskin," is "objectionable to many Native Americans and . . . is racially insensitive in a multicultural society," William Lightfoot said.
The resolution asks Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke "to change to a name that is not offensive to Native Americans or any other minority group." Cooke in the past has said he doesn't want to change the name.