I grew up in the Bay Area of California a diehard Oakland Raiders fan; Kansas City and San Diego were not even on my radar, but I despised everything associated with Denver. (And for some reason I had the same disdain for Dallas)
The Dallas versus Denver Super Bowl is one of only 2 that I have never seen, I am a rabid football fan and I take rivalries very seriously. As Parks has pointed out, I have not been able to let go of my hatred for Mike Shanahan for what he had done to my Raiders as the head coach in Denver and in Oakland (why Al, why?)
But I am happy to report that even though Mike Shanahan has not changed all that much, he is doing some things with the Washington Redskins that are making me forgive and forget.
It has not been easy these last 2 years for me. My history with Shanahan really put him at a 0 tolerance level with the Redskins; if he so much as wore his Redskins apparel incorrectly I would go into fits of rage. Every little mistake was magnified–Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Albert Haynesworth… All these guys were not real Redskins and just reminded me of Bill Romanowski. I held my tongue as much as I could, but there were times when I just couldn't resist and would let loose in the comments section of some post.
But these last 2 off seasons, even though there have been some head scratching moves, have started to win me over. The most recent event was this morning… A piece reporting Darrell Green's opinion on the character of Robert Griffin. Mr. Green does not hand out praise easily; I don't think I've ever heard Green say anything bad about a person ever (even regarding Dallas Cowboys) but is very rare for him to publicly pump up any player.. I have never had an elite quarterback to root for, always a physical football team with a adequate player at quarterback. I hated John Elway,Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. Now my Washington Redskins have a potential game changer at quarterback; the shock is starting to wear off and I think I'm going to like it.
When I look at the players we have drafted the last 2 years and the selection criteria used, I can't help but smile. Team leaders, captains, guys with unquestioned work ethics and even a Russ Grimm kind of guard. Can anyone else see Chris Cooley and Josh LeRibeus becoming fast friends?
It has come up repeatedly in the last 2 1/2 years as to whether a team of "Boy Scouts" can be successful in the NFL… Well as a fan of the Raiders in the 70s and as a fan of Joe Gibbs' Redskins of the 80s, I feel I'm uniquely situated to answer this question
it felt good to have a winning team made of misfits and troublemakers, but it is a lot more satisfying to be a fan of a team made up of quality human beings.
Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen–thank you for grabbing the rudder and steering this franchise towards land.