1. Among the litany of August traditions in the NFL is one especially painful exercise for Redskins fans to endure: the annual predictions of Dallas' greatness in the coming season. Of course, in years past, it wasn't that we thought our team was so much better and more deserving of these preseason accolades. It was just that we knew that Dallas didn't deserve them, either. This post is less about the lack of Redskins love out there--there is plenty in 2013. It is more about the frustrating trend of talking heads falling in love with Dallas every August.
2. The Redskins were beyond relevant for a solid stretch in the 80's and early 90's. After a slow decline to mediocrity under Norv Turner, the bottom really fell out and the Redskins became a very forgotten team on the NFL landscape. To most observers outside the DMV, that seemed perfectly right and fitting. What casual group of fans was going to pay any attention to a team with Danny Wuerffel under center (or Rex Grossman for that matter...or--oh geez, let's not start this)? The truth is that our team played their way out of favor with the logical side of every football fan's brain. Only the most delusional among us could say with a straight face, "You haven't seen Tony Banks' best game yet." Only the most medicated among us could suggest that, "Trung Canidate is going to punch his ticket to the Hall of Fame in this offense." Each year, we would make our ridiculously optimistic predictions, and then we would turn on the TV and see everyone pick Dallas. (And not just to win the NFC East--these were Super Bowl contender predictions.) Why wouldn't they? Since winning the 1995 Super Bowl, Dallas has, after all, won TWO playoff games--ONE since 1996.
3. How many years in a row can the national media "really like" a franchise that has been more likely to blow it than to show it? The Redskins got into the playoffs on the strength of a seven-game tear in 2012, but let's not forget that Dallas went 1-5 down the stretch. Their choke job was every bit as integral to our division crown as our hot streak. Are they that less likely to self-destruct because Tony Romo has $100 million in the bank? Are they that less inclined to fall flat on their face because Jason Garrett is making them eat their meals together? (I actually buy into that a little...hmmmm.)
4. Let's not mix words--the Dallas Cowboys are loaded with talent. They have excellent players at most of--if not all of--the skill positions. I believe Tony Romo is a very, very good quarterback and they have young guys on defense that are capable of stepping things up on that side of the ball after years of under-performance...but let's not let this degrade into too much Dallas love. The fact is that their implosion last year was classic Dallas, and most of the same characters are coming back in 2013.
5. I really love when I hear an analyst using their meltdown last year as rationale for picking them to go all the way this year. "Let's not forget: Dallas was streaking to the playoffs before losing five of their last six." That's like saying, "Let's not forget: Charlie Sheen was on top of the entertainment industry before a series of insanely idiotic media appearances." This is what Dallas does! How can it be a reason to come back the next year and decide to go all in on them?
6. I saw an NFL.com guy (Adam Rank) join the party of experts who see the Dallas Cowboys winning the NFC East and making noise out of the NFC. To be fair, the Redskins are getting their due, but the insistence of these experts year in and year out to believe in the Dallas Cowboys makes me feel like my Trung Canidate prediction was well-reasoned. It seems there is a bottle of crazy pills that these guys take every August. I don't know how you skip past the Giants and take the Cowboys if you are resigned to never pick the Skins. Sorry Philly...until we see how your 300+ pound linemen react to playing 1,500 plays per game, you won't be getting too many looks! I feel like Owen Wilson's character in Wedding Crashers. I am not saying every prediction should go our way...I'm just saying that Dallas should not be attracting smart people to the debate.