Have we really fallen so far, Redskins Nation? There’s one word to describe the now two-week-long hysteria over Crowdgate:
* FedEx Field is the largest stadium in the NFL. More seats equals more butts. Ours and theirs. Get used to it.
* Washington DC remains a city of transplants. There are always going to be fans of other teams putting their butts in our seats. Get used to it.
* Ever been to a game at FedEx Field? If you have, you know getting your butt in and out of there is a pain in it. Now put that game on a Monday night. Figure the game ends around midnight. Know what time your butt is getting home? Neither do I, and that’s the point. But count on being the only car moving in your neighborhood except maybe Johnny Law doing his rounds.
* Checked your 401K lately? If you work for a living you feel like you’ve spent the last couple months retrieving soap in a prison shower. If your alarm is going to go off at oh-dark-thirty Tuesday morning, and some anonymous on-line schmuck is willing to pay you three times face for your two tickets, there’s a decent chance you’re not going to check the color of his NFL underoos.
But enough wasting time on the peripheral reasons.
Know why Steelers fans on Monday night were a factor? Because the Redskins played butt-awful offensive football. And because the entire team spent the first half looking gift horses in the mouth, extending a gilded invitation to the visitors to take control of the damn game.
This isn’t complicated.
If Carlos Rogers doesn’t drop the Redskins weekly “thanks, but no thanks” pick-six opportunity, and they go up 13-3, playing as well defensively as they have since Richie Petitbone and his various compilations (anyone?) waddled the RFK sidelines, know what you would have heard at FedEx?
Okay, so the Steelers fans were irritating. But please, put it in perspective. If the game on the field rated an “eight” on the Redskin Fan’s Great Scale of Irritations given enough missed opportunities to choke a horse, a bunch of visiting fans waving cute little canary-yellow towels rated maybe a "three."
The one substantive complaint might be that the Redskins had to use a silent count on offense a few times. Obviously, you’d rather not have to do that on your home field. But on the other hand...
1) It’s the NFL—you start working on silent counts in May.
2) The Redskins brought the problem on themselves by screwing up several golden opportunities to take a chokehold on the game early and make opposing fans mute. And moot.
Oh and before I forget … now that as a fan base we've spent so much time publicly wringing our hands over crowd noise, be assured the always classy contingent of Dallas fans planning to show up this weekend, as they do whenever their team has a winning record, will take it as encouragement and a challenge to try to one-up the Pittsburghers.
As ye reap...you know?
So, want this all to go away Sunday night? Me too. More than I can say in polite company. Then here’s what has to happen:
First and foremost, the Redskins have to play like they did earlier this season against Dallas—with a nasty disposition and butt-kicking attitude. By playing physical and smart football. And most importantly, by converting on the opportunities that will come up.
As for the fans, you already know what to do; the only thing fans can do to actually impact a game. I’ll say it anyway just in case anyone’s forgotten. Be loud. Be loud at the right times. And if the Redskins should happen to be losing at some point, or even stumbling around shooting off toes like they did two weeks ago, don’t boo, you don’t sit on your hands whining about the other teams’ fans, rally and scream for your team even louder.
You know, help them.
Don’t go thuging on fans wearing the wrong colors, either. We all know NFL cities where they seem to think that’s how one compensates for inadequate manhood—but that’s never been us. I’d like to think that being above that was something Redskins fans were proud of, not looking to imitate.
Forget the fans in blue Sunday night. If their team is smacking the Redskins around at some point, they’re going to be loud—just like Redskins fans are loud for their team on the road.
And if the Redskins are doing the smacking, count on the Cowboy fans in attendance to be inconsequential drops in a 90,000-strong sea of fans wearing the right colors.
The Steelers fans got into the Redskins heads on the field, as evidenced by all the commentary in the days after the game. They got into the Redskins fans heads too, as evidenced by the last two embarrassing weeks of talking about it (which I now find myself grudgingly contributing to).
Kick them the hell out. I’m begging you.
Here’s a guarantee: When the Redskins become consistent winners again—which they appear well on their way to doing—opposing fans at FedEx, even those of good teams with passionate and mobile fan bases, will sit there quietly and take their medicine. The burgundy-and-gold tidal wave around them will allow zero room for interpretation as to whose house it is.
Forget the other sideshows. Be loud. Be consistent.
Be Redskins fans.
And as for the Redskins themselves...fellas, just win. Do that, and this kind of ridiculous, embarrassing sideshow will up and vanish like the proverbial fart in the wind.