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Redskins coverage reminds me of a death watch for a Soviet premier

October 19, 1998

 

Tim RowlandI hate to revel in anyone's agony. Actually that's not completely true, and I am speaking specifically here of the Washington Redskins.

I've always had issues with the Redskins, but I've had them for so long I no longer remember what they are, sort of in the same way that I know I still hate liver, ever though I no longer have any memory of what it tastes like.

I think the largest problem I have rests not so much with the Redskins, but with news coverage of the Redskins, which has always amounted to a 24-hour death watch on an aging Soviet premier.

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I do not want to go LIVE to Redskin park to see how Ken Harvey's nicked earlobe is recovering from his morning shave, and I do not wish to go LIVE to Frostburg for another pre-season scrimmage between walk-on punters and the Redskins linebacker moms.

So for me this has been a sublime football season, with each Redskin loss washing over me like a warm, Caribbean surf. Add to that, the success of my Minnesota Vikings, who were undefeated this season going into Sunday's game against Washington.

Of course no matter what the record, when your favorite team plays your least favorite team you get paranoid and figure out 35,279 different ways in which your guys can lose. Only in sports does this irrationality creep to the surface, which is one of the reason some women find sports so hard to understand.

For example, if Anna Quindlen were involved in an essay contest with - well, me - you would never hear anyone saying "You know, Rowland will be sky high for this contest and writing with a lot of emotion and since he's written 284 dogs in a row, so you have to figure he's DUE to write something that doesn't entirely bite and meanwhile Quindlen might be looking past him to her showdown with George Will next week, and she's bound to suffer something of a letdown after that Pulitzer-winning column on fireflies..." No, it would be understood that she'd crush me like a bug, end of discussion.

But since this was sports, I wasn't comfortable until, in the middle of the third quarter and the Vikes were pulling their starters and were well on their way to a 41-7 win, Redskins announcers Sonny, Sam and Frank went into their full sarcasm mode.

Even if you hate football, it is really worth your time to listen to Sonny, Sam and Frank.

"Yup, the Vikings have got their third string quarterback in, and that shows they've given up. He's from Dartmouth and he was the Viking's fifth round draft choice a year ago. He's a Capricorn."

"Capricorn?"

"I'm trying to make it interesting. I'm just trying."

This inspired a debate over just where Dartmouth is located, with guesses ranging from New Jersey to Connecticut.

"The Vikings send Carter and Moss to the near side and some guy to the far. A turnover hear run in for a score and six on-side kicks and we're right back in it.

"After the game, Sonny will go down and interview some of the stars of the game."

"Stars? What am I going to do, go to the Vikings' locker room?"

The Redskins then got the ball after another Minnesota score and made a first down.

"It looks like the Redskins made some adjustments and they're starting to click on offense."

"Yeah, they adjusted - they completed a pass."

And on they went into the afternoon.

Of course - and this is another guy-sports thing - you're never allowed to gloat too much after a big win, because that's bad luck.

It's like begging the Vikings to get beaten by the Chicago Bears. And for the Redskins fans, heaven love them, there is still hope.

The last thing I heard before turning off the call-in shows was "You know, it's possible for a team" (you have to love the hypothetical) "to lose its first seven games and still make the playoffs..."

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