On the Bandwagon, It's All for Won
By Tony Kornheiser
First of all, let's deal with this idiotic notion that it would be better for the Redskins to lose a game before the playoffs. Let's nip this lunacy in the bud. The idea seems to be that losing would relieve the terrible pressure of trying to go undefeated. Exactly what terrible pressure is that? Has anyone seen the Redskins cancel their Wednesday practice because they all had to keep their psychiatrists' appointments? Has anyone heard the Redskins say, "I can't take it any longer. This 11-0 is killing me"? Give me a break here. It seems to me the pressure is on the people who play against the Redskins. Anyone who says the Redskins would be smart to lose a game is off The Bandwagon. No appeal. Go suck exhaust fumes.
I suppose all you Freudians out there who think losing is so beneficial are getting ready to make a killing in the Super Bowl by betting on the Indianapolis Colts. They ought to be primed for the playoffs, because they lose all the time. No terrible pressure on them, is there? I'm surprised Coach "Joe" Gibbs hasn't asked Rick "What, Me Worry?" Venturi for his secret. Which leads us to the Venturi Update: After last week's Vesuvian eruption against the Jets, people wondered, Will success spoil Rick Venturi? Luckily, he's back on track, aiming at 2-40-1. Sunday against Green Bay is probably Venturi's last chance to win this decade, since Eric "Oops, I Dropped It" Dickerson comes off suspension after that. For the benefit of Mr. Dickerson, who doesn't get to watch Redskins games -- he can't hold on to the remote control -- we go to our weekly review.
Most points. Hey, Kelly, you're still a few short?
Biggest point differential, 222! This is for you, Karen Valentine, wherever you are.
The 1927 Yankees. Ain't that a Kiick in the head?
The terrible pressure really took a toll against Pittsburgh, didn't it? The Redskins didn't score for three whole plays. I don't want to say they struck fast, but it was 7-0 before fans at Three Rivers had time to ask, "Hey, where's Bobby Bonilla going?" As always, Chuck Noll remained impassive on the sideline -- either that, or he was asleep. C'mon, somebody wake Chuck and tell him the 1970s are over. The Chuckster, looking for Terry, the Noll-where Man.
Meaning no disrespect, but it seemed to me the Steelers were having trouble moving the football forward. They ran a grand total of 11 offensive plays in the first 27 minutes of the game. Who were they waiting for, Franco Harris? Man About Town Chip Muldoon points out that the Steelers are a great fourth-quarter team -- that they always stage a spirited comeback in the fourth quarter. My sense is that if the Steelers didn't begin each game in a cryogenically frozen state, they wouldn't always be behind 27-0 when the fourth quarter rolled around.
I guess it's that ultra-sophisticated offense Joe Walton put in. You might remember last year, when Walton became offensive coordinator, and the Steelers didn't score a touchdown until December, and the explanation was that Walton's system -- which he perfected with the Jets, who went 5-80 while he was there -- was so elaborately complicated the average football mind couldn't comprehend it, yeah, sure. Apparently, Walton's system was too intricate for non-brain surgeon Bubby Brister, so he jumped to Neil O'Donnell. Next year, Walton plans to bring Carl Sagan and Marilyn Vos Savant to camp.
There are no such problems on the Redskins, where points are being scored in record number. The Jerry Lewis telethon doesn't rack 'em up like this. Even Jeff "I Hold Therefore I Am" Rutledge got into the act. Against the Lions, we learned Rutledge could kneel. Now, we see he can throw deep. The only question remaining is: Can he throw deep from his knees? The Detractors, no doubt, will point out Rod Woodson of the Canton Woodsons wasn't in the game at that time.
Are you happy, Tony? You've gone this far without welcoming anybody new to The Bandwagon. Do you think you've proven something, verfied your journalistic integrity? You don't honestly think anyone wants to read this tired rehash, do you? Get to the point.
Oh sure, all you want is names. This is what I'm reduced to, some glorified version of Wingo!
Okay, roll 'em. The Bandwagon (copyright Anthony I. Kornheiser, U.S. Patent Office 5165938292) is pleased to welcome Frank Del Viscio, who sent along an ice scraper for the trek to Minneapolis; Buddy Keyser, who offered to send me a case of beer to get on The Bandwagon (Beer? You know, Buddy, offering is not delivering, and beer is not Dom P. I'm a little disappointed in people who think they can get on The Bandwagon just by asking. Tribute, mes amis, tribute! Whom do I look like, Mother Teresa?); pizza man Jim Greenya, who'll feed riders on The Bandwagon; plumber Danny Johnson, who promised to heat The Bandwagon, as if our bodies, huddled together, clattering like skeleton bones in the forbidding tundra won't be enough; Nick, who mailed hot cocoa mix; Daly Wolfe, who for some inexplicable reason, sent me a Mexican flag. Did I miss something? Is the Super Bowl in Acapulco this year? So why did I buy goose-down underpants?
More names, Tony.
Anita Pacelli from Wilmington, Del., Reggie Benson of Fredericksburg, Joel Foulon of New York, who writes to say he's sick of the Jests and Jive-Ants, Col. "Bob" Edwards, Susan Gundling, Peggy Bamber, Frank Murphy, Joe Friday and, needless to say, Joe Walton, with his hat on backwards or forwards. (Might I add to Steeler fan Eric Knapp, who wrote gleefully last week, promising that Pittsburgh would "nail The Bandwagon with a tactical nuke," Eric, your fate is to be chained to a bungee cord, and dragged by your tongue under The Bandwagon; while you're down there, say hello to bouquet-brain Merlin Olsen, who said, "I don't believe the Redskins will go undefeated.")
Before we convene this week's meeting of the Coach "Joe" Gibbs Two Blocked Punts Last Week, Two Missed Field Goals This Week, I Fear We're On The Road To Ruin Orchestra, featuring Cowboy Jimmy Johnson and his freeze-dried coiffure on sax, I pass this along from reader Stacey Staniak, whose college roommate now lives in Minneapolis (near Rhoda's apartment, I think): "When the Metrodome was first built, it collapsed every time it snowed heavily, which led to the tradition of the Dome Party -- where you party 'til you collapse." Ah, to be young, skating on frozen Lake Calhoun, full of Minnesota's life, smoked smelts and anti-freeze.