Redskins’ 2-0 start: Don’t be fooled again

Mike Wise
Columnist September 19, 2011

Beautiful. Great. There goes the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Hello, Hope. Goodbye, Andrew Luck.

Mike Wise is a sports columnist for The Washington Post. View Archive

My name is not Debbie Downer. But as this town goes ga-ga over the Washington Redskins’ first 2-0 start since 2007, it is my duty to bring people back to Earth, even after another Sunday of grit and resolve.

I do this for the scarred ketchup-and-mustard legions, who have endured a 20-year roller coaster of lofty promises and failed deliveries. Annually jilted worse than Marc Anthony, the fans wind up with burned-out graveyards of hearts.

To protect Washington football fans from getting hurt again, I am providing a Redskins Fan Exam, which gauges overreaction to the team opening 2-0. If you identify with more than half these thoughts, you need to come to seek immediate psychological attention. Consider this test a flu shot: preventative medicine.

1. After Sunday’s resilient win over Arizona at FedEx Field, you believe equaling last season’s home win total is a genuine accomplishment.

2. You are not satisfied with being better than most national observers thought, including Sports Illustrated and ESPN, which combined forecast a measly five wins for the Redskins. Rather, you are walking around with your chest out, telling co-workers, “First place in the NFC East! Rex Grossman was right. We’re gonna win the division!”

3. You embellish everything. You believe Fred Davis is a Pro Bowler and Chris Cooley, who has more receptions at tight end than anyone in franchise history, is now trade bait.

4. You have forgiven Mike Shanahan for Donovan McNabb and all of last season.

5. You have given Kyle Shanahan a mulligan for not running the ball enough Sunday, for passing too often inside the Cardinals 20-yard line, for using the shotgun more than William Munny in “Unforgiven.”

6. Drew Brees is now backing up Rex on your Fantasy Team.

7. You can’t believe Buffalo and Detroit have as good a record as the Redskins.

8. You neglected your children Sunday while coming up with a nickname for the Tim Hightower-Roy Helu backfield.

9. “Come Helu or Hightower” was the best you could do.

10. You believe in omens more than logic. You believe in the first 2-0 start since Joe Gibbs guided the 2007 Redskins to the playoffs in the wake of Sean Taylor’s death means something deeper, larger.

11. You see that since 1990, 65 percent of NFL teams that open 2-0 reached the postseason and refuse to acknowledge the 35 percent that didn’t.

12. You are seriously considering taking the Redskins over Dallas in your survivor pool.

13. $8 beers suddenly seem like a bargain.

14. There are indeed two Rexes in your world: Pretty Good Rex and Flat-Out Awesome Rex.

15. Like Graham Gano after 34-yard field goals, you have begun to emphatically point toward the heavens when you do routine things in your job, such as filing a brief or pulling a basket of fries.

16. You have already started to backload wins on the schedule. Road games at St. Louis, Carolina, Miami and Seattle have become gimmes. Minnesota and San Francisco at home are pretty much in the bank. After you at least split with a dinged-up Dallas, who is most certainly going down on “Monday Night Football” without Felix Jones and Miles Austin and a still-woozy Tony Romo, your team is one gut-check victory in Toronto against Buffalo from already putting 10 wins on ice.

17. Mike Shanahan used the phrase “home-field advantage” in his meeting with the media Monday. And you’ve already added the words, “for the entire postseason.”

18. You don’t really know what Dan Snyder’s beef was, but you suddenly find yourself also wanting to sue the City Paper.

Again, if even half of these thoughts apply to you, get checked for denial. Don’t buy in too early and let them hurt you again.

You’ve worked too hard to admit your problem, the first step in any recovery program.

Once you admitted you were a fan of the Redskins, you realized you could not manage your own zealotry. You were powerless over your passion for the burgundy and gold.

Now you are ready for Step 2, in which you turn your addiction over to your higher power:

Let go, and Let Rex.

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