Grease the Axles and the Palms
By Tony Kornheiser
My favorite scene in "Jaws" came when the shark trackers -- Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider -- first went out in a small boat to spot the shark. Scheider was at the stern tossing chum overboard when the shark rose dramatically out of the water, as tall as a three-story building. Shuddering at the enormous expanse of the shark's great head, Scheider said, "I think we're gonna need a bigger boat."
Well, I think we're gonna need a bigger Bandwagon.
Excuse me, the "Red Gun" offense the Falcons run? Where'd they get it, Toys R Us?
If Jerry Glanville wants to keep leaving tickets for dead men, next week he ought to leave two for himself. By the way, Jerry, great coat; that long, black Australian Outback duster. What sport did you think you were coaching, rugby?
Let me get this straight.
Running game? Stuffed.
Kicking game? Two punts blocked!
Passing game? Barely 50 percent completed.
And the Redskins still scored 56 points? Was it double coupon day?
As soon as they get up off the ground -- and hopefully they can do it without disturbing Joe Krivak -- Atlanta's cornerbacks Tim "I'm Talking As Fast As I Can" McKyer and Brian Mitchell will be welcomed onto The Bandwagon, and escorted to their seats by Gary Clark and Art Monk. No disrespect to McKyer and Mitchell, but the last entry to get beaten so badly in Washington was Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen. Mark Rypien went deep so often, I thought he was riding the Metro. (What's this stuff about Deion Sanders being available only "in case of emergency?" What the heck do you call 56-17? Jerry, break the glass, and send in Deion.)
You don't see 56 points that often. (It's a full season for Charles Jones.) The mighty Indianapolis Colts managed only 61 in their first nine games. Which leads us, of course, into our weekly Venturi Update: Put away that guillotine, Jimmy Irsay baby. Rick "They Call Me Mr. Pitiful" Venturi won his first game as a head coach in more than a decade, defeating the Jets, 28-27. Those juggernaut Colts, who hadn't scored a touchdown under Venturi, got four, sending WFAN, the New York radio station that devotes 23 hours each day to convincing cab drivers that the Jets are somehow a playoff team, into apoplexy.
For the benefit of all the listeners of WFAN who are now in mourning, let's go to the toteboard:
Most points. Yes! Take that, Kelly, you hoser.
Best plus-minus, 195, way beyond Gretzky, bearing down on Earl Anthony.
The 1927 Yankees. You're toast, Zonk, toast.
Accordingly, The Bandwagon is now announcing a reshuffling of the seating arrangements. Mike "People Everywhere Just Want To Be" Freeman is out. Take a hike. Freeman, who used to write the Upset Pick in this paper, has now picked against the Redskins four times this season. Goodbye, Mike, write when you get work. Taking Mike's place is city editor and impossible Eagles fan Phil Dixon, who strolled back to the sports section Monday morning and announced, "I want a piece of this story for the Metro section." Phil has been given a seat next to Dan Quayle (The Danster . . . making up for The Bushman's chump call on Houston . . . Danarooni), who has become a regular in The Squire's box, sitting in Lesley Stahl's old seat. Lesley, Lesley, Lesley, was moving to New York for "60 Minutes" truly worth it? You couldda been a contendah. Sure, you still get to a few games, but you're in the B seats.
Before we convene this week's meeting of the Coach "Joe" Gibbs On Any Given Sunday Any Given Team Blah-Blah-Blah Orchestra featuring the I Can't Believe There Were Two Blocked Punts High-Kick Chorus, let's welcome some people to The Bandwagon. Beginning with the out-of-towners who have written, there's John Hewig and Patty Nelson from New York, and Charlie Kraus from Huntsville, Ala. You're on.
Hold it, Tony. Is this what this stupid column has degenerated into, a few quick jokes, the same tired recaps and a laundry list of names? What happened to your creativity? You're dry after 10 measly games? What are you going to do next, hold up T-shirts and birthday cakes?
Bug off. It works for Willard Scott.
The Bandwagon also wants to acknowledge some locals, particularly the ones who sent gifts. Remember, The Bandwagon reserves the choicest seats for people who treat me like a foreign customs official. (Hint: My palm is itching, and it's not from the heartbreak of psoriasis.) Okay, Mary Beth Cox, who sent me a Bandwagon hat, you're on; the folks at Dickey's Frozen Custard, who sent me a huge, beautifully decorated cookie, you're on; Cliff Sheppard, who sent a tub of Drydene grease "to pack the bearings and lube the axles" for the long trek to Minneapolis, you're on; Jim "Jim" Fallows, Frank Surette, Bobby Johnson, Steve Sinsky, Burt Newman, you're on.
Stop it. Stop it this instant. Have you no shame? You're worse than Pledge Week on WETA.
Oh, The Detractors have the long knives out. They're saying that once again the Redskins got lucky, going against a backup quarterback. Chris Miller (of the Canton Millers, yeah, sure) had bruised ribs, so the Redskins saw Billy Joe "I Missed Practice This Week; I Was Busy Throwing Something Off The Tallahatchie Bridge" Tolliver. This is simply not an effective argument at 56-17. It's like claiming that Jerry Vale would have been as big as Frank Sinatra if only he'd had a better piano player.
Many of you who scoffed at The Bandwagon (registered trademark, Anthony I. Kornheiser, U.S. Patent Office 5168890025) early in the season aren't scoffing anymore. You're lined up five-deep like tourists at Fisherman's Wharf, trying to get on a cable car. The Bandwagon is a forgiving vehicle, so you won't have to grovel in the dirt, though I may ask some of you to bark like a dog -- and I think you know who you are, Junior. As a public service for you latecomers, The Bandwagon is offering these travel tips for the midnight run to Minnesota:
Dress warm. Layered clothing is recommended. Start with five or six layers of mink coat.
Don't eat the yellow snow.
Turn in the direction of the skid.