Checklist: Parka, Triptik, Bumper Stickers, Dylan Tapes...
By Tony Kornheiser
Not to gloat or anything, but the lutefisk is defrosting, the smelts are simmering, the Zerex is bubbling, and THE BANDWAGON'S GOING TO MINNEAPOLIS!
And where are you going, McMahon, you punk doofus?
And where are you going, Simms, you clipboard-toting hosehead?
And where are you going, Jimmy Johnson, with your freeze-dried coif? Vidal Sassoon mini-camp?
How 'bout that Barry Sanders Factor? What a difference he made; yeah, sure. Oh, Barry got yardage all right. Unfortunately, it was all lateral yardage. He zig-zagged that grass field so much, he could've been doing contour plowing.
Return with us now to that game of yesteryear -- well, it was yesteryear; it happened on Sept. 1, 1991 -- when the Redskins rode over the Detroit Lions, 45-0. Much was made as to the lack of validity of "First Detroit," because Barry didn't play. You'll remember Barry felt a boo-boo in his rib cage while warming up, and sat out the dance. The Detractors seized on this, insinuating the score would have been completely different had Barry played.
In the ensuing 16 weeks the Lions scraped themselves off the deck and, improbably, reached the NFC championship game. There, laying in wait like a pack of jackals, were The Detractors, eager to see the Redskins gag as Barry ran wild.
You've got to tip your hat to them. They were right. The score of "Second Detroit" was completely different.
It was 41-10.
Somebody make room for Barry, okay?
And who else in Wayne's World? Certainly, Erik "Tommy? They Were In My Face So Much I Felt Like Jerry" Kramer.
That sound you heard was the Silver Stretch snapping like a dry twig. "The D came out all geeked up," Eric Williams said proudly. Geeked up? "Yeah, geeked up. Where are you from?"
Was that deja vu, or what? Jeff "I Hold Therefore I Am" Rutledge came in to kneel down in Game 18 -- just like in Game 1. How do you keep in top kneeling shape all these weeks? Do you go home at night and pretend you're proposing?
The Redskins have now outscored Detroit 86-10 in two games. Tell the truth, Tags, that's not really Detroit, it's Denver, right?
Lions RFK Update: Don't ask.
Venturi Update: Rick "You Don't See Bill Parcells Crawling On His Belly For My Job, Do You?" Venturi, still hanging by a thread at Indianapolis, pointed to the Lions' 0-16 record at RFK, and boasted, "I can do that."
So it's on to Minneapolis against the Buffalo Bobs and not Mr. January.
Let's see if we've practiced our key Minnesota phrases:
1. Is that a space heater in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
2. How silly of me, I forgot to say, "Mush!"
3. Always turn in the direction of the skid.
4. I see your point, I guess I will have a couple of cold ones.
Excuse me, Tony, this is Bandwagon security. I have a man out here looking for a ride.
Who is he?
He claims you know him. He's chasing after The Bandwagon, panting and screaming, "Kidding! Just kidding!" Says his name is Tom Callahan.
Never heard of him.
Before we convene this week's meeting of the Coach "Joe" Gibbs Everytime I See Buffalo They're Rolling Over Somebody And Isn't It Just Our Bad Luck To Get Them On A Dry Track Orchestra, with additional percussion by Cornelius Bennett, Bruce Smith and Darryl Talley, let's reinstitute one of our favorite features, the weekly review:
Most points scored. There's only two teams left in it, the Redskins and the Buffalo C. Wings. The count is 65-47. Hey, Kelly, what happened against Denver, somebody slip you a bad batch of bleu cheese?
Fewest points allowed. Again, the Wings come up a little short. It's 17-21; none in the second half -- as usual, we might add.
Best plus-minus: 48. Not bad for two playoff games.
Excuse me one more time, Tony. I met a friend of yours from New York City, who picked up a Bandwagon column for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and he said, "It's like coming into 'Twin Peaks' in the fourth episode."
As you can imagine, the Redskins locker room was abuzz after the game with players begging for extra Bandwagon tickets. (Coach "Joe" Gibbs inquired if he could get one for the man who Scotchguarded his jacket. Did you ever see anyone get so drenched and not retain a drop of Gatorade? What is that jacket made of, live ducks?) We have a few left. But first, we had to ask the players what they were willing to do for them.
Mark "The Tick" Adickes, who caught The Bandwagon spirit early -- for his only catch of the season ("You might have seen the last of the guard-eligible plays; we're on double secret probation," The Tick conceded) -- was the most selfless. He volunteered "to put on a red nose and pull The Bandwagon to Minnesota if that's what it takes."
Legendary wide receiver and mentor Russ "The Flea" Grimm was so affected by Adickes's offer, he offered "to be the guy who walks in front of Adickes with a sack of oats."
Touchdown Terry Orr, revealing himself part Silas Marner and part RoboCop, eagerly signed up "to collect tolls from people who try to jump on."
Mark Rypien, who suspected The Bandwagon would be filled with hungry folks, said he'd be the official steward. "If there's hors d'oeuvres to serve, I'll do it," Rypien promised.
Okay, with the work force set, let's roll. The Bandwagon (copyright Anthony I. Kornheiser, U.S. Copyright Office 6123353370) warmly welcomes our designated drivers Jennifer Darvish and Stephanie Bunting, pro ushers Bill Shackelford and Walt Norris, "Mush Mistress" Ruth Berman, Dan O'Brien, Jon Combs, Harry R. Silver, who sent along a pocket map of the Twin Cities with information on the Miss Minnetonka/Walleye Pike Look-Alike Contest, Adam Ashkenas, Dick Belcher, Ron Humphrey, Joe and Peggy Sullivan, who sent along beef jerky that looks like what The Bushman left in Japan, caterers Mark Berey and Katherine Newell Smith, Chris Xenos and Karen Young, Vancouver's Fred Cartan, Jan A., "Ryan" Fleming, who sent along REM's 1987 song "The Bandwagon," Tammy Petrillo, Neil Keller and J.B. Barefoot.
As I look back on all The Bandwagon columns, I'm humbled. (Not to mention embarrassed; I was so far in the tank for these guys, I could have been a dipstick.) After "First Detroit" you were advised: Get your parkas, it's cold as a moose in Minnesota. You could look it up. Some of you laughed. Others got smart and bought goosedown. Well, The Bandwagon is going to the Super Bowl. As predicted.
Our work is done here, Tonto.