I seriously contemplated not watching Sunday's game against Dallas. I have only voluntarily turned off my TV during a Redskins game once in my life (the Monday night disaster against Philly last year, when we were down 42-14 or something like that). However, with the Redskins having looked better, but still mediocre, with Rex back at the helm against the Miami Dolphins, and Dallas on a roll coming into the game, I nearly said "to hell with the Redskins" instead of "Hail to the Redskins".
I'm glad I didn't.
The Redskins/Cowboys rivalry runs deep in my veins, as it does for many of you fans. However, let me give you a brief bit of reason why it runs so deep for me. It was only 5 days after I was born that RFK stadium shook and reverberated with the chants of "WE WANT DALLAS!" as John Riggins ran over Randy White and the remnants of "Doomsday II", and Darryl Grant made his fantastic interception and rumbling return for a touchdown as the Skins triumphed over the Cowboys 31-17 en route to their first Super Bowl victory. I danced and cheered in my room for an hour after Danny Copeland recovered Troy Aikman's fumble in the end zone to solidify Washington's spot in the playoffs in 1992 on Monday Night Football. The first game after my son's birth was the Monday night Brunell found Moss twice in the last 4 minutes to carry the Redskins to victory. Later that season, I managed to take a break from combing over housing applications for Katrina victims to tease and taunt the multitude of Cowboys fans from Texas who had relocated to Virginia with the company I worked for. Oh, and then....well, you get the idea.
Sunday, I saw a team that had every right to give up on the season. Injuries, misfortune, and questionable play and play-calling have rendered this team to another failure of a season to be relevant by Thanksgiving. However, on Sunday, I saw a team that played with heart. They played with emotion. Hell, for the most part, they played with intelligence. They played like they were professional players, equal counterparts to their opponents on the field. I saw a coaching staff that was prepared for the opposing team.
I didn't see a victory...but I saw a performance that, for the first time since week 4 of this season, I can be proud to point at that TV and say "that was my favorite team that left it all on the field and gave a talented team a serious run for its money."
Thank you, Washington Redskins...thank you. I now begun to have a little faith again. Please continue to allow me to keep that faith. If you don't give up on the game, I won't give up on this team.