To answer that question, you have to look at what you knew about both teams before the season started, and what we’ve learned thus far.
We knew that the Washington Redskins were a mess coming into 2009. They had an embattled head coach from last year’s swoon in the second-half of the season. They had a quarterback they didn’t want but had to have , and another pricey free agent on deck . Same old Redskins, same old results.
And through fan revolts and indescribable defeats, they’ve pretty much stuck to that script. But what we’ve learned about the team has proven much more valuable than what we knew them to be just a few months ago. No matter how vicious the attacks from the media and fans, no matter how laughable the ownership situation and desperate the moves the make, these players continue to play with every intention of winning.
And while you may revile the direction they are sure to head in this offseason , you have to respect, and even admire, the way the group has taught us about fighting off odds for personal pride.
Conversely, the Wizards are a totally different kind of lesson. Going into the season, we assumed a new coaching regime under Flip Saunders and a healthy big three would rejuvenate the franchise and reinvest local fans in professional basketball.
Instead, we’ve learned that personal struggles can kill free throw shooting , the Wizards still haven’t figured out that defense wins championships, Brendan Haywood is a terrible blogger , and that Earl Boykins may be the best free agent pick-up in the last 20 years by the franchise.
If you don’t allow the media muck to cloud your perspective, both teams are equally bad. The Redskins seemingly won’t change from the habits that constantly keep them out of contention, and the Wizards, in essence, seemingly can’t change . Stubbornness vs. inability do not make for a happy D.C. sports fan outside of Capitals’ hockey, and the result is a lingering question of where allegiances can find refuge within the Beltway.
Locals have long agonized over the answer to this question, and even with teasing experiences with playoffs over the last ten years from both, it’s only opened the door for great expectations to be deflated and pack away into neat boxes of “maybe next year.” There’s no great satisfaction in hoping for better from either of these teams, and ultimately, it proves to be a great equalizer for both franchises that have to do better.
But probably won’t.