Not that this is a Bandwagon column, mind you, because it most assuredly is not. After the performance the Redskins put on against the Giants, there should be no talk at all about The Bandwagon. I mean, come on.
Kurt Warner hadn't won a game in three years! The guy can barely stand upright. He fumbles, he stumbles, he bumbles, and now all of a sudden he looks . . . oh, no! Gosh darn it. I'm sorry, but I just dropped the keyboard I was typing this on. I must have had a Clinton Portis moment.
No, there is absolutely no reason to write a Bandwagon column now. If the Washington Redskins can't win on the road against a team coached by Captain Bligh and quarterbacked by Grandpa Munster, there can be no talk of any Bandwagon. The Giants are probably the weakest team in the division, and they were reeling from what Philadelphia did to them last week. Plus, did I mention they hate their coach, and they would happily throw him off the Empire State Building? This martinet has actually fined players for not being early enough to meetings. When were they supposed to get there to please him -- before he even thought of the meeting?
But if I were writing a Bandwagon column -- which I am definitely not -- I would write about those seven turnovers. Seven? This is what Joe Gibbs came back for? Let me explain to you how many turnovers seven turnovers is: It is at least five too many. Cough the ball up seven times? What do the coaches have to do, tie the ball around some people's necks like a cowbell? I don't remember that Clinton Portis dropped his pen when he signed that $50.5-million contract, so why would he drop the football so much? You don't think somebody's going to have to, ahem, coach 'em up, do you? (Which is a sly way of asking, "Haven't we been to this movie before?")
Of course, it could be worse. We could be talking about the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Man, were those guys mopey. I got the same sense watching them as I got watching the U.S. Olympic basketball team -- that they thought they could just walk out there and scare people to death. By doing what, waving their checkbooks at the Europeans? Just as Argentina was a better team than we were in Athens, the Europeans were a better team than we were in Oakland Hills. Not better individual players, but a better team. It was clear the event mattered more to the Euros than it did to us. The U.S. players walked around like zombies most of the time. And when the Americans finally got a spark on Saturday morning from the unlikely chemistry of Chris Riley and Tiger Woods, Riley backed off from playing again with Tiger in the afternoon matches, explaining he was emotionally fatigued! Excuse me? At that point Hal Sutton should have grabbed Riley by that fancy collared shirt and said, "Son, that'd be all well and good if I was Dr. Sigmund Freud. But since I'm not, I suggest you get your bony behind out there and keep making Tiger smile, because he's the guy who's gonna win this for us."
And why Sutton paired Tiger with Phil twice on Friday is beyond me. Why would you put two men who are barely civil to each other in a team match? Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise speak to each other more often than Tiger and Phil. You should be putting people out there who will work together. Tiger wouldn't read a putt for Phil if Phil came out there with a cane and a dog. And vice versa. By the way, for years everybody in America has made fun of Colin Montgomerie for being a doughy choker. You still think that? Monty is to the Ryder Cup what Ken Jennings is to "Jeopardy." Ah, but I digress.
Where was I? The Bandwagon? Oh, heavens, no. Have I mentioned that the Redskins had seven turnovers? "That's almost unheard of in pro football," said Patrick Ramsey. Duh. Five of those seven turnovers came from their quarterbacks, Mark Brunell and Mr. Ramsey, which inclines you to think maybe the Redskins ought to try their other quarterback, Tim "Don't You Wish Your Wife Looked Like My Wife?" Hasselbeck, who at least has plenty of spirit.
Brunell had an interception and a fumble, and later left the game with a pulled hamstring. Brunell is now listed as "day-to-day," which may be the precursor to how Brunell was most recently listed in Jacksonville, which was "year to year." Ramsey had three interceptions, and looked like the Ramsey of last year, which is to say he held the ball until he looked like he was going to be knocked around like a pinata by a horde of charging defenders, then he threw it to the other team. It's hard to make chicken salad out of that. On a lighter note, one of Ramsey's passes was intercepted by a "Gibril Wilson," and I am checking to see if Gibril is any relation to Don Zimmer. And on the same wavelength, one of Portis's fumbles was recovered by an "Osi Umenyiora." And when I asked my editor, Cindy, where he's from, I was told, "Troy State." Ah.
So at this point, at 1-1, with two of the weakest teams on the Redskins' schedule behind them (combined record 1-3), there's no point even mentioning The Bandwagon. It's better to leave it alone and concentrate on the next game, Monday night against the Cowboys. Have you seen their quarterback? He's 90-year-old Vinny Testaverde, and he seems to be having a difficult time completing passes of more than five yards in length to anyone on his own team. Vinny had three interceptions Sunday, which would seem to make him an ideal candidate for the Redskins' job. Vinny is joined in the offensive backfield by 70-year-old Eddie George, who spent the exhibition season going one yard and a cloud of dust. The third member of the Cowboys' AARP Brigade is Keyshawn Johnson, who is a sort of human filibuster. They are all coached by the indomitable Tuna, Bill Parcells, who provided one of the great moments of this young season Sunday, when he looked at Keyshawn, who was, as always, babbling animatedly about some terrible injustice that had just befallen him. And Parcells got up in his grill and said to him curtly, "Shut up." At homes around America, millions of lip readers cheered lustily.
One of the reasons I am not writing a Bandwagon column here is because the problem with a Gibbs-Parcells matchup is Parcells. He tends to beat Gibbs. On a head-to-head scale, Parcells is significantly ahead of Gibbs; he's 11-6. On any other scale, however, like a meat scale, Parcells would literally crush Gibbs. Did you see The Tuna on Sunday? He's as big as a porpoise again.
When he first got to Dallas last year, Parcells was notably slim -- for him. Now that belly is once again jiggling straight out of St. Nicholas. You know, you might need a Bandwagon just to carry him.