We are the most important city in the country. We are the brain. They are the most exciting city. They are the nerves.
We are the government. They are the commerce.
We print the money. They make it.
We have the most symbolic buildings. They have the biggest.
We have the best minds. They have the best food.
We play on natural grass that is delicately kept. We feel the earth beneath our feet. They play on artificial turf that is weather-beaten and littered with hot dog wrappers. In one of their end zones they can feel Jimmy Hoffa.
We have lost six in a row.
We have lost nine out of 10.
We are Sally Field. They are Meryl Streep.
(I have notes that I took while watching the game on TV Sunday. In the public interest I repeat them here verbatim: "I hate Phil Simms. I hate Phil Simms. O.J. Anderson is so old, he eats his pregame meal with a spoon. I hate Phil Simms.")
We are limited engagements. They are Broadway.
We are 9 to 5. They are after midnight.
We are Johnny-Cakes. They are Johnie Cooks.
We overturn statutes. They overturn Gatorade.
We are democracy. They are anarchy.
We are a 10-minute-and- 21-second, 17-play drive that finishes up in a field goal. They are a third and 10 for an 80-yard touchdown.
We are Earnest Byner's hands. They are Mark Bavaro's.
We are Johnny Thomas sprinting downfield with his back to the ball to cover a punt, which bounces chaotically and brushes his calf. They are Reyna Thompson recovering it at the 1.
We are Chip Lohmiller missing the only extra point of his NFL career in a 24-23 loss. They are Raul Allegre kicking from 52 yards as time runs out, and making the longest field goal of his career in a 27-24 victory.
We are Steve Cox punting into a gale. They are Phil Simms with the wind at his back.
We are Sam Huff on radio. They are Sam Huff on the field.
We are Kelvin Bryant. They are Dave Meggett.
We are a frat house fire drill at linebacker depending on down, distance and the coordinates of Apollo 11. They are LT.
We are Jamie Morris. They are Joe Morris.
We are Joe Gibbs, who beats everybody else. They are Bill Parcells, who beats Joe Gibbs.
We are the 4 o'clock game. When we play them.
We pass. They run.
We force the pass. They finesse it.
We are the young and headstrong Nolan Ryan. They are the older and wiser Nolan Ryan.
We are throwing 40, 51 and 50 passes in 1986 and losing. They are throwing 30, 29 and 14 and winning.
We are five quarterbacks in six years. They are Phil Simms.
Our quarterbacks are always lying on the ground, writhing in pain. Theirs is trotting joyfully up the field, his arms extended above his head making the sign of the touchdown.
We are the jinxee. They are the jinxor.
We are using the Eagles' offense; we are throwing to tight ends and backs and letting our quarterback scramble. They are using our old offense! They are running to set up the pass. O.J. Anderson is John Riggins. Dave Meggett is Joe Washington. Simms is Theismann, nibbling patiently until the big play presents itself. They are winning with OUR OFFENSE.
We are Martin Mayhew breaking up a pass. They are Everson Walls intercepting.
We are Darrell Green chasing people. They are Stephen Baker being chased.
We are Donnie Warren catching a career-high 10 passes. They are Mark Bavaro in the end zone on one knee.
We are Riggo, in great shape but long gone. They are O.J. Anderson, in his 12th season, carrying the ball 24 times.
We are Dexter, needed but not wanted. They are LT.
We were the Fun Bunch. They are Pepper Johnson doing his crab walk.
We are the Posse, no longer getting the ball, rusting. They are Phil Simms using eight receivers in 15 completions.
We are the Hogs. They, apparently, are the butchers.
We are Stan Humphries knocked woozy. They are Phil Simms, untouched.
We are Alvin Walton and Kurt Gouveia stuffing O.J. Anderson on fourth and one at the Redskins 45, and we are moving eloquently down the field, and we are throwing what surely is the go-ahead touchdown pass to Earnest Byner in the end zone. They are Greg Jackson intercepting.
We are starting to exult. They suck the breath from our chests.
We are going to win. They do not let us.
We are crushed. They are ebullient.
We lose. They win.
With thanks to Leigh Montville, who created this form.