There was a white man in his 30s, sporting a Washington Redskins jersey, happily striding through the FedEx Field concourse at halftime. His rosy cheeks and uneven steps suggested that the Bud Light in his hand probably hadn’t been his first. Through his smile, he shouted, “We suck. We suck.”
No one objected, no one disagreed, no one could.
That was the atmosphere surrounding Sunday’s 9-7 win over the St. Louis Rams. It was negative and poisonous. It was the home opener, only the second week of the season, and already the fans’ frustration was boiling over.
Less than four minutes into the game, Antwaan Randle El called for a fair catch on a punt where there wasn’t a defender near him for seven-to-10 yards. A smattering of boos echoed through the stadium.
The fans were booing the situation, the fact that Randle El was a bottom five punt returner last year and finished with the most fair catches in 2008. The fans were educated and knew he shouldn’t be returning punts.
The Redskins were booed later in the first quarter after marching 83 yards on a 13-play drive only to kick a 21-yard field goal. They were booed after another 13-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal.
On their final possession of the first half, a call was overturned saying that Santana Moss had fumbled after a seven-yard completion at the St. Louis 37. Boos rang out—mainly for the referees, but a few for an offense that squandered a chance to go ahead before the half.
Down 6-7 at halftime, boos thundered through the stadium, filling it to capacity. The boos at halftime were just as loud as the cheers during the introductions before the game.
And after the game, the Redskins were none to happy about the constructive criticism.
Linebacker Robert Henson tweeted, “All you fake hearted Skins fans can. I won’t go there but I dislike you very strongly, don’t come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!”
Tight end Chris Cooley told The Washington Post, “I thought it was a shame to be honest with you. You take a win when you can get it…I think Washington prides themselves on being the best fans, and I think that they should try to understand they wanted us to beat the Rams by 40, but we still won, and if we continue to win games, that’s great. Booing’s unnecessary.”
The players are 100 percent right on this one; though Robert Henson’s dimwit comment wasn’t the most articulate way to say it.
Boo the Rams when they take the field, boo the referees when they make a bad call, but don’t boo your team in the home opener at every chance you get. The booing sounded selfish, like the Redskins are better than this.
The Redskins aren’t an incredibly talented football team. They didn’t play down to the Rams this year; the two are on the same level.
The Redskins offense isn’t explosive, it’s barely even combustible.
This is who the Redskins are: a team that will lose to the top teams in the NFC and struggle against the bad ones. But don’t boo, there’s no reason.
Booing implies that there’s hope, that somehow a change for the better will result from negative motivation.
But none did. The Redskins were still putrid in the red zone and managed three points in the second half. Stick by your team, stick by the Redskins, at least for more than a half.
Of course, everyone has the right to boo, but that doesn’t mean you always should. If you want to express your dissatisfaction, fine, but there’s a better way to do it.
Grab a Bud Light, stroll through the concourse, and let it fly. Then it won’t just be the players who think you’re a dimwit.