September 13, 2000
Can’t Buy Me Wins
by Dave Sabo
Are you ready for some football?! Well, too bad, because so far, neither Dallas nor Washington is, which bodes ill for their Monday night meeting in D.C.
Thanks to the stellar football acumen of both Jerry “Ol’ Yella Teeth” Jones and “Li’l” Danny Snyder, Dallas vs. Washington has gone from “Marquee Match-up” to “Embarrassing Sideshow” in the space of just one off-season. ABC must be thrilled. At the rate these two teams are going, don’t be surprised if the Cryboy’s team plane crashes into the Deadskin’s practice facility and we’re all spared from this looming debacle. I’ve been hearing that CBS plans on locking 16 football fans in a room to watch this game and the last one left watching wins a million bucks. It ain’t worth it.
‘Skins owner “Li’l” Danny Snyder has obviously taken a page from the Peter Angelos book of sports franchise ownership. Got a problem? Throw money at it! Especially if there’s an over-priced former MVP, Pro-Bowler or future Hall of Famer well on the downside of his career there to catch it. Instead of addressing depth problems at wide receiver, Snyder chose to offer Bruce Smith, Mark Carrier and Deion “Way Past His Primetime” Sanders ridiculous signing bonuses, which they happily accepted. The results have been a missed 27-yard Richie Cunningham field goal short of disastrous.
While Smith has been solid (but overpaid) on the defensive line, Carrier has managed to get himself suspended and Deion has been nearly useless as both Carolina and Detroit threw at him with marked success. He is no longer in the same class as long-time fan favorite, and fastest man in the NFL, Darrell Green. And Deion’s 4.8-yard punt return average certainly isn’t making D.C. fans forget former Redskin return man, and long-time fan favorite, Brian Mitchell. Unfortunately, Deion’s huge contract has relegated Green to third down defensive back and precipitated Mitchell’s release. Division rival, Philadelphia, quickly snapped him up.
Li’l Danny also signed Adrian Murrell to a hefty contract to ride the pine behind Stephen Davis who, due to the huge signing bonuses of Smith, Sanders and Carrier, was low-balled by the ‘Skins in his contract renegotiations. Snyder was eventually forced to overpay him to keep him. It would seem to have been more advantageous to forget Murrell, let Skip Hicks back Davis and gone after free agent wide receivers Joey Galloway or Carl Pickens. Already dangerously thin at wide receiver, Washington was dealt a devastating blow on Sunday when Michael Westbrook went down for the season with a torn ACL. They signed Andre Reed on Monday night, but even if Reed passes his physical, he’ll be playing behind ancient Irving Fryar and the stunningly mediocre Albert Connell and James Thrash.
Let’s not forget Jeff George. Realizing that the ‘Skins had gone an unheard of two years without a quarterback controversy, Snyder created one with by going out and overpaying sideline cancer and locker room politician, Jeff George. Incumbent, Brad Johnson’s confidence seems to be shaken as he’s struggled early. Of course, George has played well everywhere he’s been despite his attitude. But there has been much talk in the District that the George signing was less about need and more about Johnson being a Charlie Casserly acquisition. Forget Survivor office pools. The hottest pot in town is the “When does Brad get benched” pool.
Throw in the disappointing progression of highly touted rookie linebacker, LaVar Arrington, LeCharles Daniels ineptitude as special teams coach and a monster schedule (they play three of last year’s four Conference Championship participants) and you’ve got a team that will struggle to make the playoffs. The Super Bowl? Not a chance.
Now that I’m done ragging on the Deadskins, how ’bout them Cowboys!? For those of you who missed it, the Cryboys season ended approximately 2 seconds into their game against the Eagles when they were fooled badly by an onside opening kickoff. While the Cryboys stood around wondering just what the hell was going on, the Eagles recovered the kick and scored shortly thereafter. Game, and season, over.
That resounding thump you heard was the sound of hundreds of thousands of front-running Cryboys fans jumping off of “America’s Bandwagon.” Or maybe it was the sound of quarterback Troy Aikman getting drilled again (on a serious note, after sustaining his eighth concussion, Troy Aikman needs to retire NOW. Anybody who saw his complete inability to avoid the jailbreak that his old, fat, slow offensive line allowed on every snap would have to agree that if he plays again this season, he’s going to get hurt. Badly. VERY badly).
Where to start with this train wreck? How about at the top with Ol’ Yella Teeth? He’s finally run out of people to blame — this team is his and his alone. When asked about division rival, Washington, this is the man that said, “I like our quarterback better than theirs. I like our running back better. I like our receivers.” That’s great, Jer, because nobody else does! Know what I like? I like the fact that this imbecile doesn’t think he needs to hire a GM. As bad as the Redskins are, Dallas is infinitely worse.
Thanks to Ol’ Yella Teeth’s ego, no NFL (or college, for that matter) head coach would seriously consider taking the job in Dallas. So, after axing Chan “Evidently NOT the Man” Gailey this past offseason, he had to settle for Cryboys’ defensive coordinator, Dave Campo. The sideline shots of Campo lumbering around with a pained look on his face have been priceless. I’m looking for a really good nickname for this inept yutz so, if you have any ideas, let me have ’em.
Add to the mix the seemingly endless parade of Dallas casualties and the Cryboys look to provide their legions of detractors with guffaws aplenty this season. Where to start? Aikman and 59-year old back up QB Randall Cunningham are both banged up (noggin and thumb, respectively) and Cunningham’s decent performance on Sunday night should have Dallas mired in it’s own quarterback controversy. Regardless of their health or depth chart status, the days of either of them being a truly effective starting NFL quarterback for any extended period of time are past. Number three signal-caller and lone deep threat, Joey Galloway, is gone for the season with a torn knee ligament. Emmitt Smith is hobbled with a bum knee and has been held to 88 yards rushing on 23 carries this season. Both lines are nicked up, but neither of them has exactly covered themselves in glory anyway. This team is in trouble. Don’t ya love it?
In the late ’80’s, the last time a Dallas team looked this bad, I made a horrible mistake and pitied them. To be perfectly honest (and I’m soooo ashamed to have to say this), I actually felt a little sorry for them. Then along came Troy and Emmitt and Michael Irvin and Deion and the rest of the thugs and crackheads in their pimp suits and Sunday-go-to-arraignment fur coats, the inane chants of “Mooooooooose” every time Daryl Johnston managed to hang on to the ball and stumble into the endzone from the six-inch line without tripping over his own feet and the flocking of the puny-brained front-runners to what Cryboys haters lovingly refer to as “America’s Bandwagon.” Trust me, I will not make that mistake again and that is my solemn vow. So, to the few passengers still onboard the Bandwagon, may I be the first of many to say, “BWAAAAHAAAAHAAAAHAAAAHAAAAHAAAA!”
So, watch if you dare this coming Monday. My guess is that many people will be unable to look away from this game the same way many people are unable to look away from any disaster. The Redskins SHOULD win. But, oh, is it gonna be ugly. Real ugly.
In closing, I’d like to ask anybody that knows the number to Bengals president, Mike Brown; can you pass it on to Jones and Snyder? Who better than Brown to explain that you don’t have to spend $100 million to miss the playoffs?
Finally, before I go, I’d like to say that it’s been quite a week. Between Opening Day (and the twin Titan and Cryboy losses) and the announcing of the team name, color and logo, it’s been a long and hectic 10 days. The site has undergone a makeover (tremendous thanks goes out to Ric for the gargantuan task of getting that piece of business taken care of through extraordinary circumstance), and I think that Houston Texans fans everywhere should join me in thanking Bob McNair for coming up with a fantastic logo. The color scheme is a natural with the name Texans. I think the uniforms are going to go heavy on red to avoid looking like the Giants, Bills and Pats. Liking or disliking the name “Texans” is a matter of opinion, but all you nattering nabobs of negativity that said that such a name would lead to a lame or unoriginal logo owe Mr. McNair an apology. Y’all were flat wrong. He’s done Houston and Texas proud. Thanks, Bob!
Dave Sabo is an Archives Specialist with the National Archives and Records Administration. A native of Spring, TX and a life-long Oiler fan now languishing in the heart of Redskins country (Laurel, MD), Dave is utterly convinced that new ‘Skins owner, Daniel Snyder, is, indeed, the anti-Christ.