Friday, December 17, 2010

Reasons # 545, 546, and 547...

...on why you have to be crazy to be a Redskins fan. For the four people in Des Moines, Iowa, who aren't familiar with the bad reality show that this franchise has annually been, here's a small slice of the ridiculousness endured by the burgundy and gold faithful:

Reason #144:
Daniel Snyder hires Marty Schottenheimer to run the highest-payroll team in the league. Though starting 0-5, the team rebounds to finish 8-8, made the cover of Sports Illustrated and actually began smelling the playoffs. Snyder immediately fires Schottenheimer.

Reason #182:
Starting quarterback Gus Frerotte scores a touchdown against the rival Giants, but cannot finish the game due to a self-inflicted head injury created when he celebrated by slamming his head into a wall. Without Gus, the Redskins finished the game with a tie.

Reason #201:
Deion Sanders wears a Redskins uniform. 'Nuff said.

Reason #391:
In the midst of yet another losing streak, Daniel Snyder bans fan-made signs at FedEx Field. Parking and beer costs remain the same.

Reason #402:
Head coach Jim Zorn calls one of the worst plays in NFL history, where his punter takes a snap and, without any blocking, launches a desperation pass into the general direction of three opposing players. What's worse is that Zorn set the play up, the opponent called a timeout, and coach Zorn re-ran the play anyway. Result: an interception and national lampooning.

One might think, "Hey, weeping only endures for a night, right? I mean, the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints fans didn't wear bags forever...give it some time while [insert coach/GM/QB here] gets things together." You would be wrong. The names, numbers, and press conferences may change, but the results are the same. Here are, sadly, more Reasons You Have to Be Crazy to Root for the Redskins:

Reason #545:
Two days after mishandling an extra point snap that would have helped provide game-tying points, punter Hunter Smith is fired. His numbers this season weren't spectacular, but he demonstrated honesty, ownership, and consequence for the error. He also had nothing to do with the offense's inability to score in the red zone, or kicker Graham Gano's inability to make easy field goals, both of which would have removed the necessity for Smith to make the failed play. So does Shanahan dump the kicker, or consider letting Smith go post-season, given that they're fourteen games into a losing season? No. Coach Shanahan dumps Hunter Smith and brings in some new guy. How refreshingly honest was Hunter, on his way out the door? Here's some of what he had to say to TBD's Parker and Parker:
"Am I a scapegoat?" Smith repeated. "I believe that in the NFL, there are a couple of different types of teams out there. There are some teams that display undying loyalty to their coaches and players. There are other teams that tend to want to make a little more of a statement in times of quote-unquote tragedy or something like this going on, by making an example out of somebody, by partially putting the blame on them for the loss. And I'm not saying that the Redskins are completely that kind of a team, but in this sense, I think that it does come down to that..."
If there's one thing the Redskins are good at, it's straightening the artwork on a sinking Titanic.

Reason #546: An interesting article at the Washington Post revealed a little-publicized fact about the Redskins: they are one of the few teams in the league who don't have a dedicated indoor practice facility. When the weather turns sour, as it did on Thursday when snow moved through the Washington area, practices are moved to odd venues like basketball courts or, in some cases, canceled. The article notes that in this season alone six separate practices were moved or postponed due to bad weather. Or more specifically, practices were altered because the Redskins lack the basic facilities with which to prepare for games.

Seriously? Daniel Snyder owns one of the top money-making franchises in the most popular and profitable sports franchises in America, yet
hasn't kicked out the cash so his team can prepare in less-than-ideal weather? Is it any wonder that the Redskins are 5-17 since 2008 in games after November? How is it that this team, in this climate, in this division, doesn't have anything comparable to its rivals, whom they're guaranteed to see twice a season? As a fan, wonder no more why the Eagles, Cowchips, and Giants mop the floor with the Redskins. But hey, at least FedEx Field has new giant video screens.

Reason #547: The Donovan McNabb Era has come to a close, with him on pace to reach 4000 yards, and in possession of a Redskins franchise record for consecutive games with a passing touchdown. It's hard to believe, but Mike Shanahan has officially benched McNabb, placing him behind Rex "Wrong Answer" Grossman and unknown commodity John Beck. Shanahan can't guarantee that DJ McNabb is coming back next season and McNabb's agent is furious, calling the move "beyond disrespectful."

There are plenty of angles with which to view this national-attention-grabbing story. (Was it justified? Why do this now, before a game against rival Dallas? What does this reveal about Shanahan's egotistical hold on his players?) But the must hurtful one is this, and it's a familiar one for longtime Redskins fans: Here. We. Go. Again.

If it's not Albert Haynesworth, Mark Carrier, Jeff George, Joe Gibbs, Steve Spurrier, or Dana Stubblefield, it's Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, Mike Shanahan, and, now, Donovan McNabb. This show is as scripted as "The Real Housewives of Washington, D.C." Regardless of the so-called philosophy, this franchise continues to pay big money and get small results. The veteran walks in town, takes money, and, by hook or crook, flies out quickly to new pastures with fatter pockets.

And the fans are fools for ever paying $80 for their jersey. They sport the colors on their car, they buy the Christmas ornaments, they spend three hours every Sunday hoping that the inevitable won't happen.

You have to be crazy to do that.

For the record, it was noted here at the Review, on April 5th, a note of caution about McNabb's trade to Washington. It bears republishing, if for nothing else than it's sad prophecy:

Now the Philadelphia front office won't admit it, and I'm sure head coach Andy Reid won't divulge the truth even under a cheesesteak lie detector test, but it's clear to me that the Eagles think that McNabb's best days are behind him...the Eagles did more than just trade a guy because they thought his skills were in sunset. No, they traded their franchise quarterback to a hated division rival who they knew had questions at quarterback. McNabb isn't going to Kansas City, a team they play once or twice every four years and has minimal effect on their overall record. He's landing with a team that impacts their Super Bowl chances at least twice a year.

In his post-trade press conference, Coach Reid spun a carefully crafted web of "been a great player here for 11 years...set every record you can set for this organization...nothing but good things to say about him...we're doing what's best for Donovan..." and other oddly pleasant reviews of McNabb's work in Philly. Which raises the question: if he's been that good, why let him go? This guy got you to the playoffs with no-name receivers and then again with managing the cancerous Terrell Owens. Might their training staff know something about McNabb's past injuries that the Redskins don't? Could the Eagles think McNabb is really toast?

Simply put, are little green men with wings on their helmets going to jump out of Donovan's [backside] and sabotage the Redskins' season?

Photo courtesy the Bleacher Report.

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