It is nearing midseason and this column has offered not a single reference to the Washington Redskins. Well, readers, this is the week. It is time for us all, national media types as well as locals, to rally 'round the tattered burgundy flag. It's Giants week at RFK. That means it's time for the Redskins to rescue the football world from stupefying boredom.
Sure the New York Giants are good. Maybe they're great. Perhaps they are the best team in the sport. But let's face it. They are boring.
Can right-thinking Americans really stand back and leave a championship to a running attack led by senior citizen Ottis Anderson? To his credit, he grinds out his yardage. At about three yards per carry. And he typifies the Giants. They don't flash. They don't innovate. They don't create. They grind. The person who would sit through a year of this kind of winning would also sit for a year in the Lincoln Tunnel, waiting for the meandering roads to the Meadowlands to clear. Come to think of it, that's what Giants fans do.
Coach Bill Parcells has the enduring look of a man who has spent too long in a tunnel. He's a proven excellent mentor. But in searching for clues to the fiery side of his personality, the best I can come up with is to say that we have a mutual friend in Bob Knight. But Bill, this serious molding of men can only take you so far. Just once, please, throw a chair.
Moving briskly along to the front office, we encounter George Young. He has raised this franchise from the ruins of a family feud into a game show that Vanna White would be proud of. Experts know that he ranks alongside Bobby Beathard and Dick Steinberg as one of the personnel geniuses in the business.
By the way, why did the Dolphins ever let Young go so they could start drafting a new generation of Eric Kumerows? Why did the Redskins ever let Beathard get away? And why bring up such sore subjects? Look at the bright side. At least we know how New England management let Steinberg go. As they've shown in recent weeks, they are nitwits.
But let's get back to the Giants. Assuming we're still awake. Mark Bavaro is terrific when healthy. He's also a brooding, silent figure. That kind of spirit might compare him to an Achilles in his tent, a Hamlet getting ready for that big third-and-long soliloquy. The rest of us might just call him one more arrogant and surly Notre Dame guy.
There are no such knocks against Phil Simms. He happens to be as eloquent as a poet, as hard-working as an ironworker on the high steel, as competitive as a pit bull. But let's face it, Phil projects the same image as his white locks of hair. Pure Vanilla.
Maybe it seems strange to call Lawrence Taylor boring. Strange but true. For openers, he has a boring nickname. LT sounds like a sandwich on toast, hold the bacon. More important, he's too good. Watching him is like peering over Einstein's shoulder as he does his algebra. No matter what you do to enliven things, it always comes out E=mc .
Normal humans with substance-abuse problems check into 28-day facilities that are resoundingly unpleasant. LT cured his problem in a few days on the links. Maybe he just got bored, or boring like his mates. Seen golf lately?
It is easiest to describe the Giants in terms of what they do not do. No Giants ever passed out in a tuxedo at the feet of a Supreme Court Justice. No Giant has ever been mistaken at closing time for good ol' boys like Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen. No Giant has ever uttered more words in a month than Joe Theismann wedges into an hour with me on ESPN.
Face up to it, Giants. Plead guilty of euthanasia to a once-exciting sport. Accept a plea bargain of community service: You are hereby sentenced to collapse and leave the NFL to the interesting.
But sorry, Washington, it won't happen this week. The Redskins are pick'em at home over the Jerseyites. The Redskins bring emotion, fan appeal and flair to this prom. The Giants come disguised as a day-old corsage. But the Giants simply have no weaknesses. They are too strong for Washington on both sides of the line of scrimmage. And they have dominated this series for several years. Giants at pick'em are the pick.
The Jets are favored by 5 against San Diego in the Jersey swamps. The Chargers may be road-wary on their second straight trip east. But these guys like their frequent flyer miles. They are 5-0-1 against AFC East teams since 1984. They have won four consecutive second-straight road games. And dogs are an amazing 11-0 in Jets home games against the AFC West. Take the 5.
The Chiefs are 6 1/2 over the Lions at Arrowhead. But until their recent drubbing of the Browns, they were also among the worst home favorites in Western Civilization. Time to return to that form. Lions plus the 6 1/2.
The Buccaneers, coming off a crushing loss at Dallas, are laying 2 at home to the Packers. Tampa Bay is 7-1 after losing while scoring under 14. Bucs minus the 2.
The Oilers are 3 1/2 over the Bengals in the one-time House of Pain. The Bengals are in the midst of a grueling road regimen. And they are 7-15 after winning and scoring over 30. I hate to lay points against such an explosive team, but the matchups here say Luv You Blue. Oilers minus the 3 1/2.
Last week: Just another glorious walk through the park. The Jets, getting 6 in Miami, lost by 20-16 but covered the spread. The Steelers, getting one from the Chargers, finally uncorked that bubbly Joe Walton offense and crushed San Diego, 36-14.
The Lions, getting 7 in Minnesota, beat the Vikings, 34-27. The Packers, alas, got four and failed, 27-13, at Chicago. But Monday night was euphoric. The Browns getting 9, beat the Broncos outright, 30-29.
Total for week: 4-1.
Total for season: 15-10. Total for last two weeks: 8-2.