If football is like a war, then the gridiron is a battlefield, a greensward haunted by the ghosts of its conflicts. Great battlefields are dotted with plaques, reading "On this site . . ." From our battles come some of humankind's great moments of valor. They are well marked. Unmarked, however, are our great moments of battlefield stupidity.
Such a moment occurred at FedEx Field, home of the Redskins. And today, the perpetrator of a historic act of asininity--football's Gen. Confusion, Col. Clumsy, Sgt. Silly--returns to the site of his greatest fatuousness.
Suppose Custer somehow had been spared death and galloped inanely back to Little Big Horn. That's Gus Frerotte, who returns today to Washington. He is now the quarterback of the Detroit Lions. But he was once a Redskin, and his history here will not be forgotten as long as the bards sing the tales of the addlebrained.
In a far corner of FedEx Field, just beyond the corner of one end zone, is the site of Frerotte's Waterloo. It is a spot on the green padding, about head-high, and it is screaming out for a historical marker. It would read:
"On this site, on Nov. 23, 1997, in the second quarter of a game against the New York Giants, then-Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run. Overcome with joy and testosterone and unable to find a teammate to celebrate with, Frerotte intentionally ran headlong into this wall at full speed, executing what, at the time, was known as a 'head-butt.'
"The resulting impact with the wall, which turned out to be not-so-well padded as Frerotte might have imagined, sprained the neck of the young quarterback and knocked him silly as a goose.
"The act was emblematic of the Redskins teams of that era, which routinely practiced exhibitions of boneheadedness, both on the field and off. (Consult guidebook for details of internecine skirmish between Michael Westbrook and Stephen Davis.)"
CAPTION: Touchdown and knockout: Gus Frerotte returns to the scene today.
CAPTION: Jamie Asher, left, helps Gus Frerotte stagger off after his head-butt.