Ever since Joe Gibbs announced in January that he was coming back to coach the Washington Redskins, not a single day has gone by without somebody asking me, "Are you gonna bring back The Bandwagon?" As if Gibbs carries so much magic around with him that he could re-create that last, great Super Bowl season just by walking back into town.
Of course I tell them, "No." Or if I'm feeling expansive, I say, "No. No way."
(And that usually ends the conversation, except for the persistent ones who want to know about "Listen Up," the new smash-hit sitcom that premieres on CBS on Monday, Sept. 20 at 8:30. Oh, like I wasn't going to plug the show, huh? Please.)
Look, it's been 11 years since Gibbs stopped coaching, and so much has changed. There was a different owner then, and a different home field then -- with thousands of seats that enabled you to actually see that field.
In those 11 years, the Redskins have had only three winning seasons and only one playoff team. In those 11 years, 15 different men have started at quarterback, a staggering number when compared to the one in Green Bay, and a glaring example of the Redskins' instability. In those 11 years, the Redskins have employed 11 different place kickers. Some of them, like Eddie Murray and Brett Conway, passed through the turnstile multiple times. In those 11 years, the Redskins have been 27 games under .500. For more than a decade then, the Redskins have been the same kind of bottom-feeders as the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals.
And you want me to bring out The Bandwagon just because Joe Gibbs is back? Are you all crazy? Have you forgotten what the past 11 years have been like?
Have you forgotten the world-class stiffs who came through here?
Michael Westbrook, Bobby Wilson, Desmond Howard and Heath Shuler/Is there any recitation I could speak that would be crueler?
Let's not limit this to linemen/There were coaches who were fine men/But they found themselves scapegoated/And eventually demoted:
Ron Lynn?/"Can't win." Jimmy Raye?/"Not today." LeCharls McDaniel?/(Darn, nothing rhymes with LeCharls McDaniel, other than Maggie, my Brittany spaniel.)