Redskins Mix Sacred, Profane
Well that was quite a win. Quite a day, all around. The second-most important day of the 2007 sports calendar, on the second-to-last day of the year. I'll admit, I enjoy being offered free beers and foodstuffs as I move through those parking lots. Who doesn't like free beers and foodstuffs? And I always turn down the offers of illegal drugs.
As per usual, the NFL experience left one's head spinning, with or without those drugs. The massive ESPN.com display with Rock Cartwright's mohawk and a massive headline, "D.C. UNITED." Really?
And did you hear after the game, how so many players and coaches were saying the 21-point margin of victory was some sort of message from their own 21?
I find it touching how much they care about Taylor, how much they think of him still, and I really don't want to be insensitive to what these guys earnestly believe, but I think the world can pretty much be broken down into people who believe the dead can influence the final margins of NFL games and people who, well, don't think that.
Santana Moss, though, spoke very eloquently about this, not saying that the 21-point margin was preordained, but that Taylor--or the idea of Taylor, maybe--can get inside your head and rattle things around.
"I have learned so much from him not being around," Moss said. "It makes me appreciate this game more. It makes me appreciate life a little bit more."
Either way, it's something holy the Redskins were talking about here, the way this tragedy still affects their lives. You think of that, and then you think of the six-year old boy, wearing Redskins gear, standing outside the players' parking lot before the game, screaming over and over and over at the parading Cowboys fans: "YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK!" That's where the sacred/profane thing comes in.
"You couldn't write a better script, facing the Dallas Cowboys," London Fletcher said. "We don't like each other. This is the most hated rivalry in sports."
Is it? Is that why I talked to one fan who said he ripped a sticker off a Cowboys fan's car, and the Cowboys fan retaliated with a sucker punch, and the Redskins fan responded by smashing a megaphone over his head? Not sacred, perhaps.
But then you listen to the post-game talk, and there was so much heartfelt talk about the Lord. The Lord is discussed after most every sporting event nowadays--read about Tim Tebow's religious efforts and the way the media deals with them, for example--but this seemed like more than usual, for a host of obvious reasons.
"There comes a point in life when you have to say, 'Hey, I want what the Lord wants, not what I want,' " Joe Gibbs said. "I felt like that was really a defining moment for me four weeks ago. I get kind of emotional talking about it, but that is the truth."
And then you think of Portis, who also delivered heartfelt words about Taylor, saying "ever since the incident with Sean, the guys in the locker room, grown men are walking around saying, 'I love you,' 'good luck, take care.' It's hard to tell another man you love him. But as a team, I think guys appreciate their teammates more, guys appreciate coming to work."
Some of this is genuinely touching, right, just like the kiss from Bugel to Gibbs? And then you think of the blatantly homophobic displays in the parking lots, like the above, or the t-shirts that were everywhere. I try to keep opinions and politics and all that out of this space, in favor of jokes about facial hair and tattoos, but c'mon. This isn't ok. It just isn't ok. It isn't ok to put that up, and it isn't ok to laugh at it, and it isn't ok to say it's a joke. This is a football game; take the hate speech somewhere else.
But jokes about Jessica Simpson? I see nothing wrong with those. The masks were everywhere. Just everywhere. Plus the large men dressed like, well, like Simpson I suppose. The amount of Redskins-related cross-dressing, from Choo-Choo to the Hogettes to the Jessica lookalikes....I'm telling you, your head keeps spinning. Tony Romo, he of the Jessica connections, sounded real reasonable-like after the game.
"The teams are real close talent-wise, and sometimes it's just a matter of a few things going your way or a team playing with that much emotion," he said. I mean, all these teams in the NFL are just about identical, talent-wise. That's why the Redskins can lose half their team to injury and still be the hottest squad in the NFL.
But that's Redskins Insider talk. Boooo-rrriing. And all this philosophical/religious talk belongs elsewhere, too. Here, maybe. Or here. NFL games aren't supposed to be about spiritual metaphysics. They're supposed to be about the wearing of mustaches and bright purple boots. That's for the next post, later this morning.
As far as any analysis, I'll just close with the best quote in the Redskins locker room, one Kedric Golston, who analyzed the win thus:
"It was hard-fought," he said, knowingly. "Extremely hard-fought."
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