The Fanboy Will Be With Us, Always

Its the offseason! aka the-most-awful-time-of-the-year-unless-you-like-basketball. Even worse, we're in that terrible limbo between season's end and the draft, that bleak time of hopelessness and loathing. So to fully embrace the spirit of seasonal depression I'm going to write a series of increasingly unhinged fanposts about our favorite misanthropic football team! Will I manage to piss off everyone here? Will I not rest until Reed Doughty is not only working at Denny's, but is also the proud employee of the month? Will I have ripped out my own eyeballs and started babbling in German Event Horizon-style by Draft Day? Is a second receiver really our number one priority? Who are these questions being addressed to? I'm here to answer none of these important questions and more.

Now on to our first post! May Football Jesus help us all.

"The Fanboy Will Be With Us, Always" or Where we Turn a Mock Academic Paper into a Star Wars Allegory

A scientific endeavor totally backed up by months of research, and not just hashed out in an hour. Promise.

All human beings have the same genetic makeup, evolved over the eons to give us our unique qualities yet fundamentally we are all part of the same species. Or at least that's what the charlatans over at Big Science would have you believe. I'm here to tell you that science has lied to us yet again. I have discovered a new subspecies of human that doesn't fit into homo sapiens, and so I've come up with a new grouping: sapiens ownerus. Ownerus is a unique subspecies of humanity noted for bizarre behavioral qualities, ludicrous wealth, and almost entirely homogenous light skinned pigmentation. In layman's terms: they're almost all rich old white men with big egos.

Most members of sapiens ownerus fit into the standard model as established by notable anthropologist HULK SMUSH!, but there are outliers and mutations. Ownerus vindictivus was discovered in 1981 by anthropologists working in Los Angeles who found a single specimen that they affectionately named "Donald Sterling". Vindictivus is noted for an almost pathological disgust for its own team. Ownerus indifferencia is a mutation discovered during an excavation of Madison Square Garden that suffers from a rare genetic deformity that has since been referred to by experts as "Dolan Syndrome". Symptoms include blindly throwing money at problems and hiring Isiah Thomas. And then there is the bizarre and unexplained single generation mutation called offthedeependus, in which a previously healthy individual is slowly subsumed by psychosis, changing their DNA structure. The specimen referred to as Al Davis (currently being held at NFL Labs for additional testing with Project: Crypt Keeper) is the best known example of this particular mutation, though experts claim to have discovered a new specimen undergoing the mutation in real time somewhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.



Now I come forward to claim a new discovery. An entirely new mutation of sapiens ownerus, and to explain what makes this mutation unique I'm going to have to talk about something seemingly unrelated. I'm going to have to talk about Star Wars. And I apologize for that, but bear with me.

Imagine a Star Wars fanboy. Not an average fan who remembers watching the original trilogy as a kid. Not a hardcore fan that’s willing to defend the prequels. This is a basement dwelling, neck beard and ponytail sporting, drastically overweight stereotype of a nerd. He's got a first run Jar Jar Binks action figure mint in box. He's got hard cover copies of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy prominently displayed. He's even got a signed Ralph McQuarrie conceptual art print.

Not only does he own all of these signifiers of obsessive fandom, he goes the extra step. He cosplays, he writes exhaustive reviews on his blog, and most importantly to our interests he writes fanfiction. And in this fanfiction he writes an idealized much cooler version of himself as a new character. In fanfiction this is called a self-insert character, or colloquially a "Mary Sue". He gains Han and Chewie’s respect, he seduces Leia (who is perpetually wearing her slave outfit naturally), and when Luke fails to beat the Emperor our fanboy steps in and saves the day!


via "If you really look at it, Ben-Hur just ripped off the podracing scene in Episode I"

It turns out that this behavioral oddity is present in sapiens ownerus as a rare mutation, one that has been found in only one individual. Fellow scholars of Hogs Haven, I present to you the first confirmed ownerus fanboyus: Daniel Snyder. Like the Star Wars fanboy, ownerus fanboyus is not content to simply enjoy the cultural artifact. He must become part of it! And where the Star Wars fanboy can only write a fantasy where he or she saves the day and is accepted by his heroes, ownerus fanboyus can live that fantasy due to the particulars of his subspecies (namely the ludicrous wealth, though apparently the skin pigmentation doesn't hurt either).

A common phrase for Dan Snyder's practice of signing big names was that he was playing fantasy football with an actual NFL team. But it runs deeper than that. Daniel Snyder is a Redskins superfan. He's a real life Mary Sue. He doesn't just want to own a team. He wants to befriend his players and insert himself into the experience.

Now I'm not saying that like a Star Wars fanboy uses fanfiction Dan Snyder uses the Redskins to live out adolescent fantasies due to an unfulfilled need for validation stemming from bullying or inadequacies real or perceived from childhood. Well actually that's exactly what I'm saying. How many NFL owners pal around with their quarterback in the offseason? Dan Snyder and Robert Griffin III's relationship is kind of weird especially given the age difference. I would maybe understand if RG3 was Peyton Manning or Tom Brady's age. But he’s twenty three. Why is he hanging out with the forty-nine year old Snyder so much? Because Dan Snyder is living out his fantasy and desperately wants to be accepted by the cool kids. And since Snyder is paying the bills, the players go along with it, though judging by Clinton Portis' experience Snyder doesn’t exactly have to force them. Being the favorite of an ownerus fanboyus has perks.


via Danny and Robert Sitting in a Tree U N C O M Fortably

Daniel Snyder is entirely unique in the panoply of bad team ownership. He isn't vindictive like Donald Sterling. He isn't indifferent like James Dolan. He isn't acting increasingly like an out of touch nutjob like Al Davis or Jerry Jones. Daniel Snyder is an entirely unique example of mismanagement: the fanboy as owner. He is the archetypal ownerus fanboyus, determined to live out his fantasy of acceptance and validation by his heroes to the detriment of the on field product. And given his relatively young age and his adoration of the Redskins he will be with us, always...

Or at least long enough to permanently ruin all good memories of the Washington Professional Football Team. I'm pretty sure that was Obi-Wan's original quote.



Originally published in Speculative Football Hearsay Quarterly, a Southern Virginia of Ohio University publication

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