What the Washington Redskins Mean to Us

Tom NataliCorrespondent IDecember 20, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 09: Washington Redskins fans cheer next to a Baltimore Ravens fan after the Redskins tied the game in the fourth quarter of the Redskins 31-28 overtime win at FedExField on December 9, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The other day I was turning off of the Baltimore/Washington Parkway and going onto the East Capitol Street ramp.

As my car turns around the bend I have a direct view at the old RFK Stadium. An athletic cathedral for Washington sports fans.

RFK isn’t remembered for providing its services to two different Washington baseball franchises (Senators and Nationals), D.C. United or even the famous HFStival concerts (ok that might be close and only local kids like myself will get that).

RFK will be known as the host to the Washington Redskins. Where thousands of screaming fans are yelling out to Sonny Jurgensen, Bobby Mitchell, Larry Brown, John Riggins and Darrell Green.

That’s where the famous quote “We want Dallas!” started; as fans started shaking the stadium in anticipation of battling their hated rival.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spIuA1GgfDE)

As I’m getting closer and closer to the stadium, I can’t help, but get goose bumps. As ugly and inefficient as the stadium was, that place had thousands upon thousands of Redskins fans celebrating their team in unison.

I was only 10 years old when the Redskins made the move to Landover, Maryland and my memories of the team playing there is extremely vague at this point. However, just by driving by an old worn down stadium like RFK got me excited.

It’s anecdotes like that to which fellow Redskins fans can relate to one another (Especially those 27 or younger).

The Redskins were provided to us through an oral history from our family members and community. My first outfit as a baby was in Redskins gear. Rather than your typical “bedtime story”, I got a rendition of the 1982-1983 Super Bowl team. I can keep going, but I think you all are getting my drift.

I have a friend who named his dog “Riggo” in honor of John Riggins, however, he wasn’t even born yet when Riggins played his final snap in Washington. I have another friend who religiously wears his Art Monk jersey on Sunday's, however, he was learning how to read when Monk played his final snap in a Redskin uniform.

As of now, my Sean Taylor jersey smells like crap. Do you know why? Because I refuse to wash it since our winning streak began over five weeks ago. I can’t wash away the good luck. I let my roommate borrow my Darrell Green jersey for the Monday night game against the Giants. Well since we won that night, I have made sure that he has worn the jersey every Sunday since.  

The point I’m trying to make is to explain how important the Redskins are to us fans. While the season isn’t over, the five game winning streak reminded everyone why we’re all fans in the first place.

It reminded us that we’re willing to drive out to Landover, Maryland to watch a game. It reminded us that we would pay to go to their training camp just to watch our beloved players practice. It reminded us that waiting for 20 years of irrelevance to watch something incredible is well worth it.

The Washington Redskins have the opportunity to control their destiny and unite an entire region (D.C., Maryland and Virginia to be exact). They have crawled their way out of the NFC East gutter and into one of the most dangerous teams in the league.

I have dreams of partying down Pennsylvania Avenue in celebration of a championship with my friends, where people of all ages, races, political views, etc. are in utter euphoria. I will gladly embrace traffic on that day.

On a side note, where would we have a parade if a Washington team won a championship? Pennsylvania avenue was the first street that came to mind. What about K street or Independence avenue? Maybe 16th street? All suggestions are welcome.

Through thick and thin I will always be a Redskin fan. As frustrated as I would get, we’re too committed to this team and it’s about time that we see a changing of the guard.