The Washington Post

Washington Redskins fans stay medium — win over San Diego was just that, one win

The Post's Mike Jones says the Redskins' win Sunday over the Chargers signals that there is still hope left for their season. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)

In case you missed it, Barry Cofield said the season was saved Sunday — saved, I tell you!

“I mean, we’ve got bigger goals,” Washington’s big, bad nose tackle said after that miraculous, back-from-the-brink overtime win over the Chargers. “We’ve got big aspirations.”

Mike Wise is a sports columnist for The Washington Post. View Archive

Keep talkin’, big fella.

“We want to win it all.”

My man! Party deck, here we come.

“Hopefully one day we’ll be able to look back on that at the Super Bowl parade and say that’s where the season turned around.”

Are you serious?!!! Oh, baby!

Depending on your allegiance, you either A) for the first time in this once-crummy season feel like it is indeed now on like Donkey Kong or B) fully understand why there is mandatory drug-testing in the NFL.

To be fair to Cofield, I used all the hope-is-alive things he told The Washington Post’s Mark Maske and the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Paul Woody on Sunday in the sanctuary of a very redemptive FedEx Field locker room, things that pretty much play into every gullible fan’s fantasy that nothing is over — nothing.

I could have also used Cofield saying, “It’s too early to say it’s saved,” which, okay, it’s not precisely saying the season is saved.

Or, “So we’ll see,” which is more noncommittal than George Clooney and Derek Jeter.

Heck, I could have gone with, “For now, it’s just a great feeling and we’ve got to carry it on into Minnesota.”

But like other facts that get in the way of our opinion, we chose to disregard Cofield’s one-game-at-a-time player-speak — because we know Coach Mike Shanahan has programmed him to say Thursday night’s nationally broadcast walkover in Minneapolis against the 1-7 Vikings is the biggest game of the season.

Also, unlike like laser-focused players and coaches, we media jackals think way ahead. (For example, The Post’s Jason Reid has Washington 12-4 next season.)

Anyhow, by inches on Sunday it’s easy for some to assume 3-5 is a blessing rather than a problem.

So after the Minnesota win, Philly will be bulldozed the following week at Lincoln Financial Field to get Robert Griffin III and the fellas back to .500. The 49ers are no doubt a rough test on “Monday Night Football” after that, but if it can win a real physical scrap, most observers like Washington beating the Giants by at least two touchdowns on Sunday the following week.

That puts Shanny’s guys at 7-5, the only team standing between Kansas City and 13-0. You have to think Shanahan will get up for Andy Reid simply for fleecing him on the Donovan McNabb deal. While running the table is very unlikely, conservatively Washington could easily go 10-6 and repeat as division champion.

What? They’ve got to lose once more.

This is what happens in most cities when homercentrism takes hold after just one godsend gift of a victory, that fork-in-the-road replay that decided Danny Woodhead doesn’t touch the pylon to complete a fourth-quarter collapse.

Homercentrism, of course, is judging an opposing team solely by the values and standards of one’s own team. Homercentric fans, hence, only gauge an opponent’s ability to lose to their team in a season’s remaining games. As a parenthetical example, some big dummy of a Post columnist said the Wizards would win 43 games even though they have yet to win one (43 more to go, guys!).

Media members and fans who view seasons through homercentric glasses discard the fact that the Vikings retain the rights to Adrian Peterson and can’t be that bad. Or they don’t comprehend that the physically menacing 49ers and the pass rush of the Chiefs frighten current and retired NFL quarterbacks.

If you’re actually someone with perspective, if you’re scoring at home in the real world, nothing translates to the next week in the NFL this season — nothing.

While that San Diego win may seem like a major galvanizing force, there are simply no gimmes in the NFL. There are only choices made each week to be good and consistent or unfocused and unworthy of the postseason.

Look, fine lines in sports and life are simply glorious to behold. And if that Chargers game qualifies, amen to everyone.

Whether that win by his chinny-chin-chin elevates Shanahan to something more rewarding and his team eventually to the postseason can’t be known for at least another few weeks.

Bottom line, it’s probably best to wait on immortalizing the part of Cofield’s quote that mentioned “parade” and focus more on the “so we’ll see” part, however boring and non-committa l that might seem after Sunday.

For more by Mike Wise, visit



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