A few years ago I was talking with a friend who is an avid Washington Redskins fan when he told me, "If the Redskins ever win another Super Bowl, I'm going to celebrate and then retire as a fan. They'll probably go back to being terrible the next year, and I can barely tolerate rooting for this team season after season."
That statement may seem oxymoronic, but it's actually strangely brilliant, and it articulates the defeatist perspective that is pervasive throughout Washington's fan base.
There are a lot of professional sports franchises that specialize in futility. The Chicago Cubs, the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Clippers are three that come to mind. But each of those teams possesses at least one redeeming quality that makes it easier for fans to tolerate the losing.
Cubs fans are comforted by the fact that their team plays in arguably the greatest baseball stadium in the country.
Bills fans can proudly boast that while their city has significantly diminished in terms of economic prowess and general relevance, western New Yorkers have loyally supported their Bills through thick and thin.
And Clippers fans are 1) kind of foolish for choosing to support a woeful franchise with a possibly racist owner when they could cheer for the Lakers, and 2) can take solace in the fact they live in Southern California, a place replete with plenty of entertainment options to take their minds off Blake Griffin and co.'s collective struggles.
Redskins fans have nothing to which they can turn for comfort. Their team plays in a stadium that has no character. The city of Washington has thrived over the past decade while the Redskins have struggled. And perhaps worst of all, the region's transient population means fans have to stand by as people move into their city from all over the country and root for their respective home teams while scoffing at the Redskins. It's humiliating, and something that is truly unique to Washington.
The franchise spends money every year on high-profile players and coaches, but can't buy a consistent team. They have been reduced to a joke, a perennial door mat and a punch line for lazy sportswriters.
Being a Redskins fan is an infuriating experience with a unique set of qualities. I challenge anybody to name a franchise that is more exasperating for its fan base.
The 2011 Redskins are a continuation of this tradition. After a 3-1 start that foolishly caused fans, and certain pundits, to think this team was for real, they have showed their true colors by dropping the last four games in exasperating fashion. Here are four things about this Redskins team that infuriate fans.