4-0: Strike Up the Band(Wagon)
By Tony Kornheiser
Now do you believe me?
Four weeks ago I told you that the line for the Super Bowl bandwagon formed here.
And did you get on? Noooooo.
Those of you who shivered in your shoes all week, warning about catastrophe because Cincinnati was "the best 0-3 team in the league," well, you can exhale. Now they're the best 0-4 team in the league.
You said the 45-0 shalumpfing of Detroit was meaningless, because the Lions were completely pathetic, and probably wouldn't win a game all year. So I guess that 3-1 record in the standings is a misprint. Then, you said the victory over the Cowboys at Dallas proved nothing because Dallas was young and overrated and easy pickings for a composed veteran team. But Dallas is 2-0 on the road, which ties it for the best in the NFL. Then, you said the 34-0 excavation of Phoenix should be dismissed because Phoenix was playing its third straight game on the road. But the week before Phoenix beat Philadelphia on the road by 16, and nobody else has beaten the Eagles all season. Now, of course, you're going to insist that beating Cincinnati should be ignored because, hey, who have the Bengals beaten, huh?
I guess I don't have to worry about any of you getting in line ahead of me at the Eddie Bauer snowshoe counter. I guess none of you is making plans to go on that Fabulous Bud Grant's Midnight Ice-Fishing Cruise of the 10,000 Lakes. I guess none of you is eagerly awaiting The Mary Richards And Rhoda Morganstern Swinging Minneapolis By Candlelight And Mush Dogs Tour.
Wise up. For your benefit I'm doing this again, and doing it slowly:
Right now the Redskins are the best team in the NFL.
Widest gap between points-for and points-against: plus 88. Gretzky wasn't plus 88!
The 1927 Yankees, Andy. The 1927 Yankees.
Excuse me, Tony, you're not usually such a homer. How come you're being so nauseatingly sweet to the Redskins? I mean, honestly, it's to barf. Are they paying you?
For the record, they're not paying me. But I have been issued a parking pass and barbeque privileges for The Squire's, ahem, private D.C. alley.
I know this makes you nervous. But why? Would you rather be 0-4? Sam Wyche is 0-4. Why do you think he runs around like such a maniac? If he had a good team, he'd coach in a chaise longue. Last week Wyche took pains to declare that winning isn't everything, that life offered alternatives -- golf and tennis, for example. Did you ever notice how the football coaches who say that winning isn't everything are the ones who aren't winning? Not to put too fine a point on it, Sammy, but 0-4 puts you closer and closer to that every day golf and tennis paradise. (I am amused to hear so many people whining about the ethics of Wyche's no-huddle offense, like it's somehow a violation of the Hippocratic Oath. They're not going for Miss Congeniality out there. Of course you want to keep the Redskins from substituting on defense. Of course you want to tire them out. Matt Millen looked like Walter Brennan trying to get to the sidelines on passing downs. I haven't seen guys sucking wind like this since the home movies of the Sir Edmund Hillary expedition.)
I know what you're thinking now. You're thinking, oh sure, they're 4-0. But the joy ride is over. The hard part of the schedule begins now, with the Monday night game against Philadelphia. So let's convene another meeting of the Coach "Joe" Gibbs Gloom And Doom String Quartet And Day Of The Locusts Chorale. The Eagles are off to their best start since 1981. Look at that Sack-Happy defense: Only 43 points allowed, second best in the whole league. Look at that offense: "Geritol" Jim McMahon is playing like he did when he led the Bears to the Super Bowl, and now he's got Roy "Geezer" Green to throw to. You know what happened the last time the Redskins played Philadelphia on a Monday night -- the infamous "Body Bag" game. Mark Rypien will be lucky to walk off the field without a full body cast and a guide dog. Plus, there's even more incentive for the Eagles to win now because of what the Redskins did to them in the playoffs last year. So, uh, Joe, we make the Eagles what, a 49-point favorite? Randall Cunningham? Who's he? Oh, he'd hurt you now and again with his scrambling, but McMahon is a savvy veteran, and knowing that he's staying in the pocket has to make his offensive line more comfortable, and blah-blah-blah.
Jim McMahon is a doofus.
The Redskins win this game.
And that will just make you crazier, won't it? The Redskins will be 5-0, and you'll look for ways to undermine it. You'll invent totally absurd paranoid conspiracies: "In a sense this hurts us for the future, because if Rypien continues to play well we won't be able to get a good look at Humphries and Conklin, and we may get rid of the wrong guy." Or, "Sure, Lohmiller's kicking well now, but what if somebody poisons John Brandes' pregame meal, and he can't deep snap? Or what if they send some goon to Rutledge's house to break his holding fingers? Ditka would do that, I know he would." There, that ought to keep you crazies busy.
Gibbs has said that for every win he'd give the players one day off during the bye week. I figure the Redskins for 7-0, so I'm signing up for Russ Grimm's Week-Long Trans-Canadian Motorcross Goose Hunt And Long Ball Driving Jubilee, and I'm taking the bandwagon with me.