Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Redskins in death spiral

This season SLANTblog has mostly avoided mentioning the Washington Redskins. They've played such pathetic football I haven't felt moved to give voice to the way I've been feeling about the team I've rooted for since I was a kid. The 'Skins were terrible in the late-'50s and early-'60s, so I can take it. But I haven't had to write about it.

Until now.

Watching the Redskins performance against the New York Giants has forced on me an undeniable need to do a little venting: Alas, with two games remaining in the season the Redskins appear poised to establish a new standard in the all-time laughing stock of the league department. They have the Dallas Cowboys coming to DeeCee next; then a trip to San Diego will cap off the season.

There's no reason to even hope Washington will win either of those games. The best 'Skins fans can hope for is that none of the players who will be on the team next year get hurt in two games that are beyond meaningless. Then again, maybe none of them will be back.

That might set another new record, to go with that laughingstock thing. Has any front office ever fired all of its players in an off-season?

Redskins owner (since 1999) Daniel Snyder has created a perfect storm of chaos. This version of football chaos is beyond Jeff George, with his worst deer-in-the-headlights look.

The ordeal The Danny has put his head coach Jim Zorn through this year has been especially ugly. Finally, it all came crashing down last night as Washington lost badly at home to division-rival New York, 45-12.

The game was nowhere near as close as the score might suggest. At least half of the Washington players quit. It appeared they just stopped caring. The others, who still wanted to play the game, perhaps out of personal pride, were in a dangerous situation. They could no longer count on some of their teammates to even make an effort to carry out their assignments properly.

Sounds dangerous, doesn't it? It was. And, from here on it will be. So, Bruce Allen being on board for the last three games of the season isn't likely to prove all that useful. Evaluating talent in such a mess won't be easy.

Eventually, hiring Allen as the general manager of the franchise may look good. But bringing him in at this point, just when the team had started to play well, was stupid. It created a disruption that destroyed the positive momentum the coaches and players had established in the last month of steady improvement.

What Snyder can't take away from longtime Redskins fans is the sense of pride that used to exist at RFK, when we knew it was the toughest place on visiting teams in the NFL. I saw a few Monday night games at RFK in the '70s and '80s. Saw Ken Houston stop Walt Garrison short of the goal line in '73.

Glad I've never been at a game when the Redskins played like they did last night. And, Snyder is a perfect example of one of the worst things about raw and capricious capitalism -- it has created too many characters the likes of him. And, it gives such pissants too much power over other people's lives.

The week leading up to a Dallas game at RFK used to be special. The games mattered, perhaps more than they should have. As much as a half-hour before the game started fired-up fans would chant, "We want Dallas!"

Now Redskins fans just want the season in a death spiral to end. This year Snyder is the Grinch would stole the Redskins self esteem.

1 comment:

James Young said...

However, there's good news: I get to collect on my cigar bet two weeks before the end of the season!