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When Gus Frerotte Was More Popular Than D. Green

There's a temptation to look backward and assume sports fans of decades past were more discerning of true talent, less likely to be blown to and fro by the latest fad, and more certain of their more trustworthybeliefs. But then you see something like the 1997 Best And Worst issue of Washingtonian, and you realize that no, sports fans a decade ago were every bit as stupid as we are today. Maybe more so. I mean, today's Redskins fans would certainly light this cover on fire in the parking lot at FedEx Field, for heat if nothing else.

If the cover blurb--"It's Official: Gus Frerotte is Washington's Favorite Redskins"--isn't proof enough of what I'm saying, flip inside, to page 77, where the Best section tackles local athletes. Here are Washington's "Best Redskins" from July of 1997:

1. Gus Frerotte
2. Darrell Green
3. Terry Allen

Gus Frerotte! I mean, Darrell Green could be playing on two broken termite-infested peg-legs, and he still should be first on this list, no? It's not like he was a cripple at this point; the longest interception return of his career, an 83-yarder against the Eagles, came this very season. And Washingtonians preferred Gus Frerotte? What, all their ballots for Jamie Asher and Cris Dishman got lost in the mail? They couldn't convince Albert Connell to pose with lipstick stains on his cheek? Frerotte's QB rating that season would be 73.8!

More categories, with much thanks to Max Wasserman for the images and text:

Best Bullet/Wizard
1. Juwan Howard
2. Chris Webber
3. Gheorghe Muresan

Best Washington Capital
1. Peter Bondra
2. Dale Hunter
3. Adam Oates

Best Oriole
1. Cal Ripken
2. Brady Anderson
3. Rafael Palmeiro

Local Hero/Heroine
1. Eleanor Holmes Norton
2. Cal Ripken
3. Eric Holder

Best Television Sportscaster
1. George Michael
2. Steve Buckhantz
3. Rene Knott

Best Newspaper Columnist
1. Tony Kornheiser
2. Dave Barry
3. Bob Levey

Best Local Website
2. AOL's Digital City

Best Morning DJ
1. Howard Stern
2. Harden & Company
3. Don Imus

Best Afternoon DJ
1. Stevens & Core
2. Don & Mike
3. Tony Kornheiser

Local Celebrity I'd Most Like To Sign A Pre-Nup With
1. Wendy Reiger
2. Brady Anderson
3. Cal Ripken

Oriole I'd Most Like To Fly Away
1. Roberto Alomar
2. Peter Angelos
3. Davey Johnson

Columnist I Wish Would Get Writer's Cramp
1. Richard Cohen
2. George Will
3. Tony Kornheiser

Internet Provider I Hope Contracts a Virus
1. AOL
2. Erol's
3. CompuServe

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 27, 2009; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Orioles , Redskins , Wizards  
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Next: Teddy Wins One


don't blame me, I voted for Shar Pourdanesh.

Posted by: inchesfromyourface | July 27, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

WOW, this list brings back memories...especially that last one "Internet Provider..."

Posted by: joeblazin | July 27, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

hahahahahaha Shar Pourdanesh. That was exactly who came to mind when I read this! How much of Terry Allen's career did you negate, you flagnet?

(flag magnet)

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | July 27, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

WOW, this list brings back memories...especially that last one "Internet Provider..."

Posted by: joeblazin | July 27, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse


I guess I'm not the only person who had Erol's back in the day, huh?

Posted by: M__N | July 27, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Just proves that the Redskins QB is always the most loved or most hated person in D.C.

As for Frerotte specifically, you gotta remember some things. First, this poll was before the infamous head butt. Second, he was very popular because he was a feel-good story for his first couple years--the underdog low-round pick who came in and beat out the holdout, high-paid, high-pick Heath Shuler. Third, he made the Pro Bowl in the 1996 season, the season prior to this poll. (I don't know how, but he did.)

Posted by: TheFingerman | July 27, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

so many things wrong with these answers. Wendy Reiger? wtf? and did you notice the #2 steakhouse in the picture with EHN? freaking Outback! hahahahahahahaha.

this makes me happy that neither my family nor I ever had a Washingtonian subscription during our years in the area.

this issue was only a month before the Michael Westbrook-Stephen Davis incident. i wonder how far down that would have dropped Westbrook on the list (if he wasn't already last).

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 27, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for Richard Cohen to develop that case of writer's cramp...

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 27, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I think I had Prodigy back then.

Posted by: sitruc | July 27, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

you can see this year's best of washington reader's choices here:

Posted by: catherineandrews | July 28, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

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