By Tony Kornheiser
Kiick, Csonka, Warfield, Griese, Little, Fernandez, Buoniconti, Anderson, Scott, Morris. The 1972 Dolphins. The UNBEATEN, PERFECTO Dolphins. Hah! Kiss 'em goodbye. They're outta here. Done. Finished.
Oh, Tony, you're not actually predicting that the Redskins are going to go undefeated, are you?
Sure. In for a dime, in for a dollar.
Okay, what's it going to be this week? How did the Redskins get lucky? Did Neal Anderson pull a leg muscle in warm-ups? No, he played the entire game and got 73 yards rushing, so that won't work. Did the Bears' defensive front seven mysteriously come down with salmonella? No, Dent, McMichael, Singletary and The Fridge were out there all game long -- without a single sack, mind you -- so that won't work. Did Harbaugh hurt his knee and have to come out? Ditka should have been so lucky. Oh, I know. The Bears flat stink! They're overrated. They're the worst 4-2 team in the history of the league. You could try that. But their only losses this year are to Buffalo and the Redskins, so that's a real stretch.
While I'm waiting for anyone to come up with a plausible reason to undercut the Redskins this week, let me give you this Bandwagon Update: I see where Mike "That Toddlin' Town" Wilbon has jumped aboard. We're pleased to welcome him, of course. And in honor of his belated arrival, let's go to the videotape one more time.
Plus 124. Any higher, we shift to celsius.
(Da-da-DA-da, da-da-DUM. Some of you can probably hear the "Jeopardy" theme in the background as we allow detractors the full minute to marshal a strategy. So there won't be any dead air, let me comment on one of the real bold moves in the NFL last week. Bob "Gas 'N Go" Irsay, boob owner of the Indianapolis Colts, named Rick Venturi as head coach, replacing Ron Meyer. What on earth qualifies Venturi to be a head coach of any football team anywhere? Venturi was defensive coordinator under Meyer. His defense gave up 23 points a game, third worst in the league. If that deserves a promotion, then Tariq "Mr. Joy Boy" Aziz ought to be Secretary General of the U.N. The last time Venturi was a head coach was at Northwestern, where he went 1-31-1. That's not a misprint. Venturi won one game in 33 tries. That isn't merely bad luck. Jonah had bad luck. This guy had bad skill. I want to know where, in the words of Al Campanis, Venturi acquired the necessities to become a head coach in the NFL? And how come Milt Jackson, the Colts' receivers coach, who has put 11 years into the league coaching offenses at San Francisco, Buffalo and Houston, couldn't find them? Give me a break.)
Returning to the Redskins detractors. They have seized upon the notion that the game was lackluster -- as if scrumming against Da Bears is ever going to look like The Joffrey Ballet -- and the quarterbacking was mediocre. Evaluating Harbaugh's leaky performance, Ditka commented, "Our guy didn't play any worse than the other guy." Well, I figure if Rypien throws two more touchdown passes, two fewer interceptions, and one more completion in 10 fewer attempts, then he played a bunch better than the other guy. But what do I know? I didn't go to school in Chicago. It's a different kind of math there -- dead people get to vote twice.
Only a complete dunderhead would criticize the defense, the offensive line, the special teams, the kickers, the backs or the receivers, so they land on the quarterback. This weekly carping on Rypien is wearing thin. He's 6-0. Tell me something: What's Boomer?
Be honest, Tony, don't you feel stupid writing this bandwagon column every week? Don't you feel like people are laughing at you, not with you?
Truthfully, I feel like some radio cluck sitting on a flagpole, waiting for Elvis to reappear. I'm stuck with this format until the Redskins lose. Can you order me a pizza?
Okay, let's go over again the rules of The Coach "Joe" Gibbs And You Don't Believe You're On The Eve Of Destruction Symphony and Bubonic Plague Back-Up Singers. You're not allowed to use the word "great." You're not allowed to look past the next opponent. You're not allowed to mention the Super Bowl.
The Joe-meister. . . . Callin' the plays. . . . The Joe Man. . . . Drop and give us 20. . . . You mentioned the Super Bowl!
You said, and I quote, "We've got a lot of guys who've been around, and I'm sure some of them are thinking this may be their last shot at the Super Bowl."
Whoa! Cut the chatter, sweetheart, and get me Anna Freud.
I guess that means we're going to hear a lot about how tough Cleveland is, lest anyone think The Coach isn't taking them one at a time. So before anybody signs up for the "Pooh Richardson, Tyrone Corbin, Sam Mitchell, Hey, We Play Pro Sports Here Too, Sort Of, Unknown Treasures Of Minnesota Tour And Jumper Cables Scavenger Hunt," let's remember:
1) Avoid overconfidence. Do not laugh at the Browns' offense. It's not as bad as it looks. "The Adventures Of Mark and Brian" isn't as bad as the Browns' offense looks.
2) Avoid distractions. Do not worry excessively about where John "Hot Lunch" Williams is. He is working his way East, slowly, Burger King by Burger King.
3) Respect Bill Belichick, the new Cleveland coach. He authored the Giants' overpowering defense that frustrated the Redskins in recent years. Belichick is rapidly constructing a similar defense at Cleveland. Unhappily for Belichick, he could take the defensive blueprint with him, but not Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks or Pepper Johnson.
4) Admire Art Modell's camel's hair top coat. It's a beauty.
5) Honk if you see Bernie running a naked bootleg.
6) And please, let's be careful out there. A bandwagon is a terrible thing to waste.