Redskins Fans Gloriously Vote Their Team Colors
At first glance, I just thought it was kind of silly that after the first round of fan voting, 21 of the 26 NFC Pro Bowl positions were led by Washington Redskins players, some by enormous margins, with punter Ryan Plackemeier among the 21. I thought by writing something like "democracy sheds a silent tear" concerning a vote-as-much-as-you-like ballot for a meaningless postseason exhibition, it might have been obvious that I was joking about a game that is, itself, something of a joke.
But I'll admit that that "mockery" was perhaps a bit much, and there certainly could be another way to spin this: as a triumph of a fan base that has wiped the voting-booth floor clean with their fan-base peers. And since some of you have interpreted my previous item as part of an anti-Redskins Washington Post bias, I'm happy to give voice to this alternate viewpoint. Figure it's the only way to escape from the shackles of this dirty cage out here at Redskins Park.
1) Fans stuffing the all-star ballot box for their favorite players, regardless of on-field performance, is a time-honored trick, in virtually every sport. Even the WNBA.
2) The NBA is even wondering whether Yi could cruise into the All-Star game on the strength of a massive online vote from China.
3) And things are way worse in the NHL, where the rules might even have been broken. Plus, remember the Vote For Rory campaign? No one is claiming Redskins fans have done anything but take advantage of the rules as written. Maybe they just don't have as many computers in southwest Ohio or something.
4) If DeShawn Stevenson were leading the NBA voting, I would certainly celebrate this as a triumph of witty D.C.-area fans who desire nothing so much as a lack of face feeling at the All-Star game.
5) Washington's fanbase has been ridiculed in recent weeks after their poor showing vs. the Steelers; having Ryan Plackemeier and Kedric Golston and Pete Kendall and Shawn Springs in contention for Pro Bowl spots would seem to indicate that there are, still, a lot of Redskins fans out there.
6) And hey, the Cowboys did it last year, to the tune of a baker's dozen worth of Pro Bowlers.
7) The opposition media is actually celebrating the Internet savvy and marketing genius involved here. "How could Jerry Jones not have thought of this?" asked DMN blogger Todd Archer.
8) And other fans have also taken notice. This could energize the entire nation into a frenzy of suffrage. It's just a continuation of the Obama phenomenon. See: Giants fans, Vikings fans, Pro Football Talk, Ravens fans, Maryland fans, and so on. As one Skins fan put it, "This is like the best/worst thing ever, all at the same time," which is probably the tone I should have struck yesterday.
9) Fan voting is only 1/3 of the process, so probably 21 Redskins will not make it. Maybe only 14 or 15.
10) The NFL actually wants fans to get excited by this process, and has specifically encouraged other teams to emulate Washington's creative effort to energize its voting base: "Let me know if you need any ideas or support from the league (or the Redskins :)) in this important initiative." This team is setting an example for all time. In many ways.
Now can you loosen these handcuffs, guys?
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