Time to Add a Cup of Cheer

By John Feinstein
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, September 24, 2007; 4:53 PM

Some days it is difficult to know exactly where to begin a column.

It is a Monday and this is The United States of America so most people are rehashing every single thing that happened in the National Football League yesterday.

Here in Washington, the gnashing of teeth is almost audible as the die-hards who still ardently adore their Redskins in spite of the extraordinary arrogance of their little bully owner, digest a come-from-ahead defeat at home against a team that may not win six games this season.

In New York, there is confusion: At halftime on Sunday, Giants Coach Tom Coughlin was fired -- the only question being whether he would last until season's end or perhaps not last until next week. Now, he has a little bit of breathing space.

In San Diego, three weeks into the Norv Turner era, he is in trouble (seriously) and a lot of folks are thinking that firing Marty Schottenheimer was maybe not such a hot idea after all.

In Chicago, people would like to bring Ditka and McMahon -- at the very least the latter -- back.

And in Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Green Bay (yes, Green Bay!) all is right with the world. Brett Favre may play quarterback until his son takes over for him.

Returning to the Washington and the Hail-To's, it is always amusing to hear the screams of agony when the Redskins blow a game. And make no mistake, Sunday's loss to the Giants was a game they blew. When I think of the Redskins I often think of Jerry Seinfeld's famous line about how sports fans root for laundry.

There is no better example than Washington's football team. There is not a soul in town, outside of a few suck-up members of the media, who can stand Dan Snyder. He's an obnoxious little bully who has gouged his team's adoring public at every turn ($35 to park a car in a lot you can't get out of for hours comes to mind) and done an awful job as an owner by thinking he somehow knows something about football.

The Redskins have had two winning seasons since he bought the team; the first one, in 1999 before he put his "stamp" on the franchise; the most recent in 2005 when a series of lucky breaks produced a 10-6 season. Snyder ran off so many coaches the only move he had left four years ago was to vastly overpay Joe Gibbs to come back to be coach, general manager, team president and chaplain.

Gibbs is a Hall of Fame coach, but not a Hall of Fame general manager. The team is now 24-29 since he came back and his pious act, which works well when the team is winning just as any act does, is beginning to wear thin.

And yet, there were more than 90,000 people in that hot dog stand posing as a stadium on Sunday. They fought their way in and fought their way out and they'll keep coming back. They love the burgundy-and-gold laundry. Not to quote Gibbs, but God Bless them for it. They deserve better than they have gotten since The Curse of Snyder took hold of their franchise.

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