1. When a team is 3-6, with a full complement of starters out indefinitely and with an...ahem...unsettled quarterback situation, it is not unusual to see that team begin the process of going through the motions each week. Teams in better shape than ours have given up plenty of times in the NFL. Coaches are thrown under the bus, effort levels plummet and things like unity and cohesion are words that lose every ounce of meaning. I was sitting in my seat all the way until the final whistle yesterday and I can honestly say that my team (our team) could not and CAN NOT be confused with a bunch of quitters. We have been conditioned (or conditioned ourselves?) to turn our eyes to greener pastures--the future--at this point each year. Our built-in defense mechanism has shielded us from the pain of ridiculous late-season losses for the last decade. Instead of going catatonic and just laying still and quiet while the remainder of the schedule plays itself out, these guys are giving us a reason to stay tuned. The Redskins play with an effort that belies their standing. You have to give Mike Shanahan credit for keeping this team motivated. As long as I see effort on Sundays, I am still happy to give these guys my time. I am still happy to cheer my guts out. Speaking of happiness...
2. I have to tell you all about a moment during yesterday's game where FedEx Field played host to genuine happiness, though it came after a moment of genuine confusion. When Rex Grossman scored the first touchdown, and the stadium geared up for a rendition of "Hail To the Redskins," you could kind of see people looking around...as if they had no idea what to do. Myself, I was in shock. A TOUCHDOWN! What in God's name was I supposed to do to mark such an event? It wasn't until halfway through that I realized the whole stadium had begun clapping to our fight song. But it was an off-beat, Steve Martin-from-"The Jerk" kind of clapping. It sounded very much like it was the first time tens of thousands of people had rhythmically clapped. It was sad and hilarious. When the song was over, you could hear conversations all around you about how long it had been since we last sang to a touchdown or how long it had been since we have had that feeling. It was literally as if tens of thousands of fans were having "get-back-together" sex with their girlfriends. But when we scored the second touchdown before halftime, people were ready. Fans were on their feet, and the clapping was in perfect rhythm. People were happy. I mean, really happy. You can argue that it was because we had taken the first lead we would carry from one quarter to the next in over five games. You can argue that it was because we were ahead of the Cowgirls. It doesn't matter. It was real. We got to the red zone and put the ball into the end zone twice before halftime. That accomplishment put smiles on people's faces.
3. We have to talk about Rex, right? I have repeatedly referred to Rex Grossman as "The Most Exciting Player in Professional Football." You have no idea what he is going to do. Watching him play quarterback for your team is like playing virtual Russian Roulette. Every time he drops back to pass, you spin the chamber and point the gun right at your fanhood. Yesterday, he looked for and found receivers deep in the secondary for nice chunks of positive yardage. He was a good leader and he minimized his turnovers--sure he had that interception, but without that pick, the "rush" of watching him play would not have been as great. Don't we know now pretty much what was evident a month ago, or six months ago? Rex Grossman is the best quarterback we have. Say that out loud the next time you think you are in the middle of a good dream.
4. Oh DeAngelo...you got outrun by a huge white dude. Is that true, by the way? Did Witten outrun DHall? I have purposely not watched a single replay of it. The play happened right in front of where I was sitting, and I never want to see it again. I will say this for DHall...he seems to take it personally. For all of his antics that you may or may not appreciate, I do think he takes this personally. While I think he could teach a class on how to invest yourself emotionally, I question if he would actually cover any of the relevant material.
5. I wonder what game held the interest of Redskins fans longer: the OT thriller against Dallas or the Oklahoma versus Baylor game on Saturday night. It was a hot topic in the parking lot yesterday. You could walk around and here just hear "RG3", "Landry Jones" and "Barkley" on the tips of everyone's tongues. You know me...I'm a Barkley guy right now. Do we even know for sure that he will enter the draft next year?
6. Every year, we host the Mike Wiggins Invitational at our tailgate. It is our annual Beirut (Beer Pong) Tournament named after one of the many former heads of the parking lot. Mike Wiggins spent a couple seasons busting our balls before finally leaving us alone. When we created the Invitational and the trophy, it seemed only fitting to have it bear the name of this gentleman. (We tried unsuccessfully for a few years to get him to present the trophy to the winner. In retrospect, it was probably a good thing he never showed up.) Typically, this event is played under the lights at a night tailgate. Given the unlikely chance that any late-season game gets flexed to the primetime slot, we were forced to play this tournament in the daylight. This year also marked the first time the tournament was optimized for the iPad! That's right, thanks to a nifty bracket app, everything was randomized and managed by the iPad. It is an honor to announce that our good friend Lance has finally gotten his name on the trophy. His teammate Kris put his name on the trophy for the fourth time. In case you are wondering, both Kevin and I each have our name on it once. Congratulations to Lance and Kris. I could say you earned it. I could say nobody deserves it more than you guys. I could say you both are good-looking lads with above average hygiene. But saying those things would make me a huge liar.