The buzz around the Washington Redskins is just plain ugly. Frankly, it’s a bit out of control. I’ve thought back over several decades of Redskins’ negative headline-grabbing events: Jurgensen benched for Kilmer, John Riggins quits football prematurely, Gus Ferotte hurts his neck by bashing his head into the end zone wall at Giants’ stadium, Redskins are Cowboys’ only win in Jimmy Johnson’s first season as coach, Redskins lose twice to 3 & 13 Cowboys in Johnson’s second season, and Norv Turner’s seven-year reign of futility to name a few. Those were tough times. But, they were generally preceeded or followed by good times. Besides, from Jack Kent Cooke to the youngest fan, there truly was a bond that transcended all things. We were like family.
Focusing on the Daniel Snyder’s hit parade … The new stadium was originally named to memorialize Jack Kent Cooke. That was quickly changed to garner revenue. Redskins’ fans were charged $10 to watch training camp. Jeff George, Deion Sanders, Mark Carrier, and Adam Archuletta highlighted the many free-agent busts. We endured Steve Spurrier’s cheap and available quarterbacks, not to mention his sudden resignation. General admission tickets were/are sold to third-party brokers to induce them to sell club-level seats. Futility has been the norm seven out of the last nine years. As they say in the south – yes sirree bob, we’ve been through a lot.
As for this week … According to the Associated Press’s Howard Fendrich, John Riggins called out Vinny Cerrato, Jim Zorn, and Dan Snyder by name. Joe Theismann reportedly used words like ‘inept’, ‘disgraceful’, and ‘fundamentally unsound’ to describe the Skins’ offense. Say what you will about Riggins and Theismann’s personalities, they hold hallowed places in Redskins’ lore. And, they’re passionate about the Redskins. Even if they weren’t, they know football.
You can’t help noticing the tsunami of negative press coverage the Redskins have received nationally, especially since it’s compounded by inside-the-beltway observations. In the midst of it all, where do the players and coaches turn for inspiration and consolation? Jim Zorn has his wife and his friend Steve Largent to encourage him. The coaches have their families and each other. The players definitely have each other. Their sanctuary is the locker room.
If you listen to the players, they believe enough in each other and their coaches to look forward to the Eagles’ game. They discount much of what the media says, even when the talking heads are former Redskins’ greats. They’re working to stay together from the inside-out, which is a good thing. After all, the Redskins seem to be under seige more than the 0 – 6 Tennessee Titans are. I find that amazing. Then again, Bud Adams is no Dan Snyder, and Mike Reinfeldt is no Vinny Cerrato.
I salute my fellow lifelong Redskins’ fans. I’m sure some in the media and the general public think we have no reason for supporting our team. They’re dead wrong about that. We have the rich Redskins’ tradition, and we have our belief that sunnier days are ahead. Lest I forget, we have each other too. Go Skins!