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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 12/17/2010

Playing in snow and skipping dessert

By Stephen L. Carter

The other day on Redskins Insider, Jason Reid posted that the Redskins are the league's only cold-weather team without an indoor practice facility. I hadn't known this. He further noted that when meteorological conditions turn foul, the team often practices in a gymnasium.

My first thought was, "This explains so much!"

My second thought was, "Why take them inside?"

Earlier this week, Gregg Easterbrook wrote in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column that although the Patriots do indeed have an indoor practice facility, Bill Belichek rarely uses it: "If the weather is freezing or rainy, that's what the Patriots practice in because that's what they need to be ready to play in." He added this tidbit: "At New England, Belichick is 10-0 in games played in snow."

Now, I am not suggesting that practicing in the snow and rain will magically transform our hapless squad into a Patriot-like juggernaut. But I do find myself wondering whether the great Gibbs teams of the eighties practiced outdoors in bad weather. Or whether other teams in the league also eschew their practice bubbles; and what their results are if they do.

* * * * * * *

In a previous post, I suggested that Albert Haynesworth had a fair shot at recovering one game check on appeal. Now comes the news that the National Football League Players Association, perhaps worrying about making the me-first Haynesworth its poster boy going into an off-season of tough negotiations, is not rushing to press his appeal. And Haynesworth, who has already received over $40 million from the Redskins, surely does not need the game checks.

Now that it is plain that the Redskins and Haynesworth are finished, there has been a great deal of muttering about money down the drain. In business, as in gambling, the money tossed down the drain is irrelevant to the question of what to do next. In what economists call the sunk-cost fallacy, people take into account the money that is already gone in deciding where to spend the next dollar. To see how this works, imagine that you go to a very trendy and expensive restaurant. Your appetizers and main course cost you and your date $250, and, bite by bite, the food is simply awful. Maybe the chef is having a bad night. Maybe it is always this bad and people pretend to like it because others say it is great. But you and your date hate it. Now the waiter comes by and offers dessert menus. Do you order, reasoning that you have already spent so much, and dessert costs so much less than the entree, so you might as well give it a try? Or do you pay your tab and go to the corner ice cream parlor instead? The point of the fallacy is that the fact that you have already spent a great deal of money on dinner provides no reason to think that dessert will be any better than the meal. If you get up and leave, you will at least save the few bucks you have left.

By Stephen L. Carter  | December 17, 2010; 11:43 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins, Stephen L. Carter  | Tags:  Redskins, Stephen L. Carter  
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