Now that's more like it.
The Washington Redskins deep-fried the Chicago Bears on Sunday, lifting their . . .
Oops. I used the name "Redskins" without permission. Does this mean I have to pay a royalty to The Danny? I think the new deal is that every time you say the word "Redskins" in any way--even if you refer to a potato--you have to cough over some coin to The Danny. Maybe from now on I should just use a symbol, like, %@$*$!&#, and then write in (The Team Formerly Known As The Redskins). Will that solve my legal dilemma?
This rights fee is one way of recouping the $800 million for the team. So is the deal with FedEx to name the stadium. "FedEx Field" sounds sort of cheesy to me. I envision a headline like "Fans Flee FedEx Field!" It will help to have FedEx involved, though, especially when they finally cut or trade Matt Turk--they can stuff him in a bag and overnight him somewhere. Turk's medical situation is beginning to wear me out. There hasn't been this much controversy over a middle finger since Jackie Mason and Ed Sullivan. This week back spasms kept Turk from playing. How'd he hurt his back, playing baseball?
I'm not sure how much I can add to the literature about the Chicago game. It's one of the few games that can be reduced to fit the "Sports In A Minute" format--because it was over in a minute. The Redskins put the game away so quickly The Danny didn't have time to get down to the locker room and holler at anyone. The game got so lopsided, eventually the only folks who were rooting for more points were kids who knew that Domino's knocks a buck off the price of a Monday pizza for every Redskins touchdown. (Those of us who wouldn't eat that pizza for free are hoping for a similar deal from The Palm on steak.)
The Redskins scored their first touchdown on their second play, and their second touchdown on the Bears' first possession--when Big Daddy Wilkinson "ran" 88 yards with an interception. "When they saw Big Daddy running that joint back, I think they just died from that," Tre Johnson said. A lot of us watching thought Big Daddy might have died from it, too. By the time Big Daddy crossed the Bears 20-yard-line, trainer Bubba Tyer had six canisters of oxygen and a gurney waiting in the end zone.
The fact is the Redskins played an almost flawless game. They were ahead 31-0 at the half, and 45-0 in the third quarter. Was it in response to the owner's celebrated tete-a-tete with Norv Turner after the Dallas game? "That's none of our business," Kenard Lang said. "Coach tries to save his butt. We try to save ours."
After missing his first three passes, the quarterback hit 15 of his next 22. The running back gained 143 yards in 12 carries. The defense made four interceptions, and every big play it had to. The field goal kicker hit from 50 and 51 yards out. What's not to like?
However, all this came against what Wilbon would call the sorry no-account Bears. Does it prove anything to play a Bandwagon game--against a Chuckwagon team?
To be picky, there were a couple of things to be concerned about: Again, the special teams were embarrassed--this time trying to recover onside kicks. (If they brought in 72-year-old Bill Arnsparger to consult on defense, how about bringing in 74-year-old Marv Levy, a former special teams coach, to consult on special teams? Levy invented special teams.) The Redskins were laughable on three straight Chicago onside attempts. This was not lost on the occupants of the owner's box, where after the game The Danny joked that he and Fred Drasner were ready "to put on our helmets and go out there" in the next onside situation.
A ticklish circumstance was the showboating Brad Johnson and Larry Centers engaged in on their way to touchdowns--cupping their left hands to their helmets, a la Deion Sanders. In the press box it was pointed out that this homage to Deion might have been more effective if Johnson and Centers had actually scored against Dallas, not Chicago. We in the fourth estate vaguely remembered only one person scoring like that in Dallas: Deion.
After the game the normally reserved Johnson was asked about it, since the bravado gesture seemed out of character for him. "I saw Deion do it to us. It was a Florida State thing," Johnson, a former Seminole like Deion, said with a big grin. When Johnson sensed, though, the possibility that he'd committed a gaffe, he quickly said, "I probably shouldn't have done it. I wasn't trying to show up any player on any team." My own position is that as gestures go I'd rather have my quarterback cup his hand to his helmet while running in for a touchdown, than slam his head into a concrete wall afterward.
While Norv Turner didn't know whether to shine his shoes or go bowling when he saw Johnson and Centers prance into the end zone, Tre Johnson was encouraged. "We need more of that," Tre said, swimming against the tide as he is wont to do. "We've got to tell people we're as good as we think we are." (Tre has his own kind of "Tre-speak" that makes him a locker room go-to guy. Here, for example, is Tre's view of the Redskins' need to beat Chicago badly after losing to Dallas: "Gotta rebound. Most def. We had to make the statement. . . . There was no mystic God that came and [spit] on us. We could not wait to unleash our butt-whupping on the Bears.")
The play of the game, of course, belonged to Big Daddy. The sight of a 313-pound defensive tackle rumbling 88 yards for a touchdown left Johnson, a 326-pound guard, speechless. Almost. (When asked if he, too, could go 90 yards, Tre said, "Hell, yeah. You see me pulling, man?")
What a mesmerizing sight, watching Wilkinson being steered down the field by elfin Darrell Green, who appeared so slight in Big Daddy's wake, like a tugboat attending an oil tanker. Some of us assumed Wilkinson would hand the ball to Green and guard Green's path into the end zone--or at least that the possibility was discussed between the two men as they gamboled up the field. But Green said no words passed between them. (Former NFL defensive lineman Mike Golic told me, "There's no way Big Daddy can run that far and talk at the same time.")
Green said he was just there to throw a block if it was needed. "Big Daddy was like a big charter bus with all his lights on," Green said. "And I was his police escort." The last 20 yards Lt. Green was actually pushing the big man from behind.
When asked about Big Daddy's pace, Green said, endearingly, "He's got a lot of speed." Big Daddy surely used most of it up in the first 50 yards, because for the last 40 he was sucking all the air out of the stadium. Let's just say when he got to the end zone Big Daddy wasn't a threat to jump over the crossbar and dunk the ball. But there he was, in his sports fantasy, running side by side with the NFL's fastest man.
"I think he felt good running with Darrell Green," Darrell Green said.
Who wouldn't? It's like flying with angels.