Skins fans reflect on Cerrato's ouster
Mike Broderick wasn't going to the Monday Night Football meeting with the Giants. He'd seen enough. He had moved on emotionally to the Terps basketball season, and was trying to put this Skins season behind him.
But then Vinny Cerrato resigned, or, to put it another way, was canned like a pickled sardine. And so Broderick--the man who has relentlessly dogged the front office with his "Dumb and Dumber" campaign, and one of the real ringleaders of the Burgundy Revolution--felt a responsibility to show up one more time.
"My boss told me I had to come," Broderick told me before the game. "If they wouldn't have fired this jerk, I wouldn't be here."
"The Revolution needed us," added his friend, Seth Edwards.
And so there they were, trying to get Daniel Snyder's attention before kickoff. The "Vinny" half of their Dumb-and-Dumber shirt set had been crossed out. Dan Snyder's "Dumb" label, meantime, had been replaced with a question: "Smart?" And that was sort of the metaphor for the night. The question mark part of it, anyhow.
Like, out in the parking lot I met one dude dressed like Santa with a No. 9 Skins jersey on underneath his cape. "Sonny Claus," he called himself. I asked what Skins fans wanted this holiday season; "I think we already got it," Bill Beard said. "The GM, no question."
Later, though, I met another Santa, Collin McCune, carrying a case of Bud Light. I asked him the same question, and his wish list was different; "first of all, a new owner," he said. "Dan Snyder needs to sell the team."
See, it was a mixed crowd. Some people were satisfied, and some people weren't.
On the satisfied side, meet Chris Taylor, who had written THANK YOU all over his Fire Vinny Cerrato t-shirt.
"It's a winning season," he told me. "We can lose the rest of our games, and I'd feel like we won something."
"That makes our season," agreed Wayne Champagne from a few seats away.
"The Giants aren't happy," noted John Garguilo, who was sitting in front of Taylor. "We liked Vinny. Just keep Dan Snyder in charge, that'll be good."
The next section over, Mike Mintzer held a "Change is Good" sign.
"Ecstatic," said his friend Tracy Janiak, who had made the sign. "Thank God. Change is good."
But outside, at the Official Dan Snyder [Rhymes With Lucks] tailgate, the rabble wasn't satisfied. They hadn't hung their Official Dan Snyder [Rhymes With Pucks] banner, since they got there late, but they promised it would be back for the Cowboys game.
"Step in the right direction," offered Scott Houston, before his mates shouted him down.
"Nothing's gonna change as long as [Snyder's] still at the top," Tim Ellis said. "It's just another puppet."
"We've got to wait until next year to find out if he still [rhymes with ducks]," Evan Cosby said.
"I've been here before," Ellis said. "It's too many years. It's just another ploy. It's the same thing. Nothing's gonna happe."
"Breaking my heart here, Timmy," Houston said. "I had hope."
See, people want to hope. Like, Buddy Whetzel? I met him a year ago, during the glory days, when he was dressed like Santa and carrying a sign that read "All Santa Wants is a Hip Hip Hooray 2009 Season." This year?
"Even Santa Predicts New Coach," read Whetzel's sign. His sister had Santa's Naughty List. Vinny C. and Danny S. were both on it.
"There's a lot more to go than Vinny," Diane Whetzel Morris said. "We love our Redskins, we won't give up on them, but we're not happy."
"We have a long road to go," Santa Whetzel agreed.
But still, I'm telling you, people want to hope. So I went to find Chris Mitchell before kickoff. He's the lifelong Redskins fan who flipped the Skins flag on his pickup upside down after the loss to the Panthers, the universal sign for distress. He also helped raise $1,500 to pay for a portable "Fire Vinny" sign that rode around D.C.
Monday, before going to FedEx, Mitchell flipped the flag back over.
"I mean, mainly because Vinny's gone," he said. "They're finally shaking [stuff] up. It's just good to see new [stuff]. Bruce Allen might not be the best choice, but he's a proven winner. If he can win in Oakland with Al Davis, there's a chance he can win here with Snyder. It's still ridiculous, but at least Snyder's getting the message now. The franchise is still in distress, it's not fixed yet, but they know they have to do something. They've gotten the message."
That had me feeling at least a bit cheerful. Well, a few hours later, I got an e-mail from Chris. He had left the stadium when the Giants went up 24-0. It was the first time in his six years as a season ticket holder he had left a game early.
"Guess I jumped the gun on flipping the flag back over," he wrote. "Hopefully the front-office changes will show next year, but tonight was flat-out the worst game I have ever seen the Redskins play."
Still, the last time Monday Night Football came here, signs were banned. This time, they weren't. Small signs of progress.
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