Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Random Rants

Things that have crossed my mind lately...

~ ~ If there’s a downside to the return of LaVar Arrington during Sunday’s smackdown of the witless 49ers, it was that, well, all the Arrington vs. Redskins talk comes to an end. Aside from the team’s 4-2 start and Mark Brunell’s resurrected career, the majority of the Redskins buzz has surrounded the benching of the team’s most popular player. Media types from radio to print to Internet weighed in, usually finding that Arrington deserved to play because of his raw ability to be a playmaker.

My two cents? It was fun seeing Arrington flying around the field, decapitating quarterback Alex Smith, and playing to the home crowd. But amid the put-him-in-on-reputation arguments was lost this simple truth (which some folks at ExtremeRedskins.com don’t want to hear): the guy playing in front of him played and practiced better. Lemar Marshall replaced Arrington last season, and until Sunday led the team in tackles. He did exactly what he was asked to do, so the better question is: why bench Lemar? The week before the SanFran game, Arrington practiced well and—surprise!—he played on Sunday. I don’t doubt that there were some soft apologies exchanged during last week.

~ ~ What I really regret, seeing Arrington return to play, is the instantaneous vaporization of my Pulitzer-winning headline: LaVar: Putting the “Err” In Arrington. I had even formed a unique angle for Arrington’s demotion and eventual replacement, referencing Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, and New Edition. Let’s just say that the article was writing itself.

~ ~ This week’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback notes the recent NBA-imposed player dress code and how the NFL requires coaches to wear Reebok-styled clothing on the sidelines. Gone are the days of Tom Landry and his fedora. TMQ posted a letter from a reader who suggested that since some coaches would prefer to wear more formal wear, “[L]et the NFL introduce a line of suits, sports jackets, dress slacks, ties and accessories, all with tasteful team logos.” TMQ said the idea was “ridiculous, no one could believe anyone would ever put down good money for it.”

Are you kidding me? It’s a brilliant idea! I work in law, and the dress code in my workplace is business, rarely entering the zone of Casual Friday because of the necessity of impromptu court appearances. So what do professional fans do to express their team loyalty? Place a flag on your sticky board? Drape a Darrell Green jersey over the back of your chair? How gauche. What D.C. day trader wouldn’t want to be seen around the office in an NFL-authorized black single-breasted suit with a fancy Redskins crest sewn into the breast pocket? Prince George’s County’s legal eagles would love little Circled R’s in the jacket sleeve buttons! How about the gold-plated Joe Gibbs “R” cufflinks to match the Redskins tie already in production? I’m serious. This is an untapped market and I just realized I should have copy written this idea.

~ ~ Are you like me? Are you completely annoyed by the lack of plot development in ABC’s Lost? We’re up to episode six—which airs in mid-November—and only four Lost days have passed since Walt, Sawyer, Michael and Jin set sail into Sharkticon-infested waters. Sure, we know that the Others walk softly and don’t bathe; and yeah, we’ve seen the Execute button sequence, and we know that Ana Lucia acts like Donald Trump but without the money, android assistants, and toupee. Want to learn anything of any use, like, I dunno, where are the rest of the tail section people? and the characters engage in egregiously vague fact-dodging conversations.

For instance, tail-section castaway Libby was walking in the jungle with front-section castaway Michael, who was just freed from a dirt prison by Libby’s other surviving passengers. Here’s their conversation (courtesy Lost-tv.com), and tell me if your final question would be the same as Michael’s:

LIBBY: Sorry, Michael.

MICHAEL: Sorry about what?

LIBBY: You know, about throwing you and your friends into the pit.

MICHAEL: Friends.

LIBBY: What?

MICHAEL: I guess I just never thought about it like that. I mean, I guess one of them is my friend.

LIBBY: I'm guessing not the redneck.

MICHAEL: Yeah, not the redneck.

LIBBY: I don't think I've ever seen someone so scared in my life. And I know about scared.

MICHAEL: That why you threw us in the pit -- because you're scared?

LIBBY: And we've got trust issues.

MICHAEL: Huh, how about that? Where the hell are all the fruit?

Fruit? You just learned that the Tailsectionists not only are deathly afraid of unnamed persons but also tragically distrustful of each other--and by the way, there are 18 of them missing, possibly eaten by the five remaining—and you’re asking about grapes ‘n mangos? Sigh. There’s a thin line between mystery and trifling with an audience’s patience, and Lost is sidlin’ closer to the latter by the hour.

~ ~ Living in Baltimore as a Redskins fan has some advantages. I may not be able to hear game broadcasts, but in turn I am insulated from the Monday through Saturday talk radio claptrap about my favorite team. Since I can’t get any Redskins-related radio, I’m free from the post-loss “our coach is an idiot”-“this team has no heart” knee-jerk reactions from Skins fans.

I listen, then, to “Ravens Radio” on ESPN’s AM station. (If you haven’t suffered through second-string has-beens giving their two cents while eating wings at Bill Bateman’s, make sure you tune in.) And this year, it’s been a sadistic treat to hear everyone from former players to show hosts and call-ins blasting offensive guru Brian Billick, Jamal Lewis, and even Pro-Drinkin’ Ray Lewis. If Robert Irsay hadn’t already stolen the idea, they’d probably pack up the team in trucks and drop it off in Indiana.

Just the other morning the hosts—I have no idea what their names are—griped at length about the impotent offense, the ridiculous penalties, and suspect winning percentage of Billick over his last 12 games. Not only did they paint the Ravens guilty of believing their own hype machine but unsolicited comments from former Raven Mike McCrary strongly suggested that felonious Jamal Lewis is intentionally not giving 100%. There’s talk of franchise favoritism because Todd Heap got a contract renewal while Ray, Jamal, and other big names have to wait.

Normally, I wouldn’t gloat, but after Baltimore’s third-stringers beat the Redskins’ wannabees in the final game of the preseason, I got more than an earful from the Ravens Nation. Now I tune in every week to hear what new way Billick’s ruining this team.

~ ~ Lastly, ain't it great when corporate sponsor underestimate the Redskins offense? A couple of years ago, Domino's Pizza had a gameday promotion that offered $1.00 off a pizza and a free 20oz. soda for every touchdown the team scored. That was the year the Redskins, under Norv Turner, went buckwild, never scoring less than 17 points per game, maxing out at 35, 38, 48 and 50 points some weeks. It was beautiful. I remember going to Domino's with my Pops, getting two pizzas, five sodas, and walking right out. That promotion mysteriously disappeared the next season.

Now comes Papa John's, the next official pizza of the Skins, offering one free topping for each touchdown, doubled if the team wins the game. Monday, Redskins fans across the D.C. area challenged their digestive systems with a maximum fourteen free toppings. Silly pizza people. When will you learn? If I ran a pizza joint, I'd offer a free medium one topping pizza for every interception returned for a touchdown or five cents off for every patently ridiculous comment by Tony "Put Portis In Spandex" Siragusa during a Redskins broadcast. Based on this season, the latter promotion would've put me out of business.

No comments:

Post a Comment