Sunday, October 04, 2009

Week Four: We Don't Need Another Hero(es)

Tampa Bay 13, Washington 16

Not too long ago, I was a huge fan of Heroes . Since I grew up reading Spider-Man, the X-Men, and (yes, I admit it) G.I. Joe comics, I loved that NBC gave we geeks a show that looked like it jumped off those color pages. The first season featured a cadre of super powered guys and gals working to avert a prophesied New York apocalypse. There was drama, romance, and a bad guy who ate people's brains to gain their powers. Yeah. That was great television.

Then came Season Two. Peter Petrelli, a hero with around twelve powers, was placed in box, given amnesia, and sent to Ireland. One of the most popular characters, the time-bending Hiro, was isolated in a feudal Japan plotline for most of the season. That cool antagonist who ate people's brains? He became a threat to no one, spending the better part of the season travelling from Mexico with two new throwaway characters. Midway through the season, I felt like I just couldn’t take another lame plot contrivance and I was ready to jettison my support and catch up with Marie Osmond’s progress on Dancing with the Stars.

But then Heroes would do something just awesome enough to keep me watching. One time it was the introduction of the New Orleans fast food worker who could mimic the fighting style of anyone she saw. Then there was the great showdown between Matt Parkman and his father the Boogeyman, two men who could manipulate reality. And in those moments, I remember looking over at my wife and saying "There may be hope for this season after all."

One scene later, I'm watching the indestructible cheerleader Claire and her boyfriend recreating teen angst with all the skill of a high school rendition of The Breakfast Club. And my thumb began hovering over the channel skip button. I just couldn't bear to watch any more.

Welcome to the 2009 Washington Redskins.

For every moment of satisfaction, like Clinton Portis rushing for nearly 100 yards, DeAngelo Hall finally making a game changing interception, or Jason Campbell lobbing a gorgeous touchdown to Santana Moss, there are ten to fifteen moments that inspire nausea. Like Campbell following up that touchdown with his third horrific interception. Or Campbell fumbling on the first drive. Or the sad realization that if the Buccaneers had a decent quarterback and field goal kicker, it is very likely that the Redskins would have lost this game.

Come to think of it, the entire first half of Sunday's game seemed to be one long Heroes scene with Claire and her father arguing about whether she deserves a normal life. You know it's bad when Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen are stifling their laughter at the offense during the Skins' game broadcast.

After the win, there appeared to be a celebration of the Redskins' aggressiveness and poise, as if Jim "Currently Coach" Zorn had somehow unearthed Washington's inner Indianapolis Colts. I'm not buying it, not after essentially one good quarter of progressive football. Squeaking by two of the NFL's worst teams (the Rams have lost by 35, 28, and 19 points in their other games) is hardly time to cheer anything. This team must fear their second half of the season.

[Jeff's finger begins to hover over the channel skip button...]


OFFENSE -- C. The jury is still out on Campbell and his future in the burgundy and gold.

DEFENSE -- B. Wouldn't it be nice to see our defense pitch a shutout on the lesser teams?

Sp. TEAMS -- C. Didn't I read somewhere that Antwaan Randle-El was hired to also return punts? Effectively?

COACHING -- C-. You're the coach and your quarterback has looked like JaMarcus Russell for three and half games. It's halftime and you haven't scored. If it's me with the headset, I'm seeing what my backup can do.


The Redskins travel to no-win Carolina as the Cakewalk Tour continues. Don't let their 0-3 record fool you--they are actually competitive, if not mistake-prone. Unlike Washington's previous cakewalk opponents, the Panthers can actually score points and the defense again will have to shoulder the burden of respectability. Washington wins on a defensive touchdown, 20-17.


Here's something that made me stop eating my curly fries, pause the TiVo, look off in the distance, say "uh, what?" During the Bucs/Skins game broadcast, the viewers were reminded that safety Reed Doughty is hearing impaired. Not a tremendously big deal. In fact, it's quite admirable that he excelled at Northern Colorado and made it to the highest level of professional football.

What made me roll my eyes was that the Redskins didn't know he was hearing impaired until after he was sitting in team meetings reading lips during his rookie year. Let me get this straight: the Redskins scouted, interviewed, drafted, and paid money for a player and didn't realize he couldn't hear? This is the team I root for?

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