"Offensive lines and defensive lines. Not picket lines. Go Redskins!" read the hand-lettered sign prominently displayed on a beach umbrella planted next to John Waldron of Rockville as he collected passes at the VIP and press parking lot Friday at the Redskins-Buffalo Bills football game.
"Been doing this for four years so I can get into the games," said Waldron, 38, a salesman for a heating and air conditioning wholesaler who collects parking passes until the beginning of the second quarter in exchange for a seat in the stadium. Almost all the Redskin players park in the lot.
"I've been a Redskins fan since their theme song was 'Never on Sunday.' I wouldn't go through this madness if I weren't a dedicated fan, and I'd sure hate to have a season without football."
Of two dozen Redskins fans interviewed at random before the game Friday, Waldron's views reflected the only point agreed to by all concerning the labor dispute between the National Football League and the NFL Players Association: nobody wants a strike.
While the fans had a range of thoughts and ideas on the players' demand for 55 percent of the NFL's gross revenues and the league's rejection of that proposal, they were loud and clear that a fall without football would be a disaster for everyone.
"The bookies would cry," said Bob Johnson of Richmond, sipping a beer with friends over a pregame parking lot buffet.
"I sure hope they don't strike," said Carole Connors of Arlington, attending the game with her husband Robert and their foster son Brian Longstreet.
"I feel the Redskins are a major part of life in this community. If there is no football it will just destroy the character of the whole fall. Football is so much a part of it."
Like many of the fans at the exhibition games, the Connors are not season ticket holders and these games are the only times they get to the stadium to see the Redskins. But they are as loyal as the veteran season ticket holders.
"I don't have any strong feelings about the issues. I like football, and I certainly don't want a strike," said Robert Connors.
Nearby in the lower deck stands, the Rev. Scott Henry, pastor of the Hilltop Christian Church in Newport, Pa., sat with his wife Debby and their three children, Jeremiah, 8, Josiah, 4, and Andrea, 7.
"This is our first game," said Henry. "We watched the preseason scrimmages in Carlisle, where I grew up. I was one of the guys who used to be on Sammy Baugh's tail for his autograph. I'm sure they can come to some agreement. I just hope the season doesn't have to suffer."
Of the fans who did speak out on the issues in the labor dispute, most agreed with the NFL's position that the players have no right to 55 percent of the league's gross income, but they did say the players deserve more money.
"I think they should try to reach some middle ground, but this percentage of the gross is not the way to do it," said Bruce Jennings of Fairfax.
"I think Mr. (Redskin owner Jack Kent) Cooke was right when he said he didn't want any partners who didn't buy their way in."
A few pregame picnics away, Betty McMahon of Potomac had a different view. "The players do deserve more than they are getting. They're the ones who are putting their bodies on the line. The owners didn't train them."
Like many Redskin fans, McMahon and her husband Ed are "babysitting Redskin tickets for friends who have been out of the country for four years," said Ed McMahon. "I'd hate to have to miss a single game," he said.
"The football players are a little like the air traffic controllers," said Cathy Albertson of Chevy Chase. "They've got to make a lot of money while they can because it is a short-lived occupation."