Washington Redskins Fans: There's No Crying In Football
One of the most ridiculous things I've ever witnessed in my adult life is a mid-season switch by a football fan. My buddy, we'll call him Kevin because that's his name, a former Redskins fan, made a mid-season switch to the New York Giants the year they won the Super Bowl.
How can he call himself a real Giants fan? Furthermore, how can he call himself a real man?
Yes, the state of the Washington Redskins is abysmal to say the least. No, there's not much hope in the near future. But, as Redskins fans flee from fandom like a herd of antelope eluding a pride of lions, they're missing the point of being a fan.
It's a roller-coaster ride. There are ups and downs. But the agony of defeat only makes the thrill of victory all the more worthwhile.
I passed another Redskins fan in the grocery store yesterday. We both donned 'Skins hats despite the ridicule we've undoubtedly received from the rest of the football nation.
As we passed, we made eye contact and exchanged a simple, solemn nod. Ah, a true fan, the pain was evident in his eyes.
As the resident sportswriter amongst my peers, I'm often called upon to offer some hope for the coming weeks. "What's wrong with the (insert expletive) Redskins?"
I wish I could be more comforting, but I'm a realist. There are so many issues that need to be addressed. Jason Campbell is not a franchise quarterback. The offensive line is too old, too beat-up, and too much resembles a sieve.
Some big physical receivers would be nice to complement Santana Moss. Portis lacks the vision to make cuts when a rare hole is there. Let's face it, he's done. But hey, if Chris Cooley was healthy, they'd be in pretty good shape at tight end.
Defensively, the Redskins aren't as lacking. Haynesworth simply wasn't worth the money, nor DeAngelo Hall. There is a lack of depth at linebacker where London Fletcher seems to be the only Redskin that plays with heart every Sunday.
But on the bright side, Brian Orakpo has shown that he has the makings of a future perennial Pro-Bowler. Hey, there's a plus!
Here's what we know. At the end of this season, where four wins would be a surprise, changes are imminent.
Jim Zorn is gone. Poor guy wasn't given much of a chance, but allowing him to finish the season as merely a figurehead was a gesture of good faith from owner Dan Snyder. "Gee, thanks Dan, you (insert another expletive, maybe two).
Snyder will go after a big name to take the reins. He seems to have pissed off Mike Holmgren enough to alienate him from the job. Jon Gruden is the most likely candidate because former Broncos coach Mike Shannahan would want control of the front office, something Snyder refuses to relinquish. Hmmm...interesting.
Campbell is hitting the free agent highway. I'm not sure he'll ever have another starting job in the NFL. Todd Collins is ancient. So, there will be a new face behind center next year.
Knowing GM Vinny Cerrato, Washington will draft a quarterback next year, followed by a couple of unnecessary skill players on the defensive side. Ah, now we're getting to the crux of the problem.
The only time Cerrato has drafted an offensive lineman in the first or second round of an NFL draft was in 1999 when Jon Jansen was scooped up as an early second-rounder. Somebody needs to tell this man that the battle is won in the trenches.
Snyder wants his fans to believe that he is doing everything he can to help this team win. If only he would shut up and listen for a second. Dan, take note.
The Miami Dolphins were 1-15 in 2007. Enter Bill Parcels and Tony Sparano. The Miami Dolphins went to the playoffs last year.
I admit, the immediacy of the turnaround is very unusual, but one can't possibly argue against the impact that those two men had on that franchise. There is a bright future in Miami.
If Dan Snyder really wants to win, if he's really true to his word, then he will find the right man to run the Washington Redskins, someone who can build a culture that breeds success. Then, he'll sit back, listen, and watch the franchise return to its former proud self.
Until that day, Redskins fans will continue to suffer each and every Sunday, and sometimes on Mondays.
But, there's no excuse to leave the fandom. Be a man. Stand by your team. Wait out the storm. And remember, there's no crying in football.
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