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Sunday Night Football does the Caps

(Via @gunaxin)

I'm a staunch member of the school that believes the Redskins' hold on D.C. is virtually unbreakable, and at least another half-decade of sustained mediocrity would be required to even threaten that hold. Still, the much-Tweeted-about dialog initiated by Al Michaels during the second half of the Redskins-Cowboys game was remarkable, merely for the suggestion that the Caps were making inroads on this hegemony.

And no matter what the TV ratings or anything else say, the Caps-clothing trend is inescapable. Four or five years ago, you just didn't see Caps gear at Redskins games. Now, you see tons of it, every week. Heck, I'm in Philadelphia right now, and I've seen a kid wearing a Caps shirt at breakfast two days in a row. (Might have been the same kid, but still.) No one can plausibly argue that Alex Ovechkin isn't currently D.C.'s most popular athlete, which is what led to this discussion, which couldn't possibly have taken place during a prime-time NFL game in too many other markets right now.

"You know when you go to a town and you walk around and see all the jerseys?" Michaels began. "You know what I saw walking around today? Alex Ovechkin's

Cris Collinsworth wasn't really feeling this, and started talking about Miles Austin. But Michaels wasn't finished.

"I'm not saying this is a hockey town," he continued, "but the Washington Capitals now have the most points in the National Hockey League. And we go to towns, and I am looking at all the Alex Ovechkin jerseys and not many Redskins jerseys. So I think people now in this town would rather talk about Ovechkin than kvetch about the Redskins."

"Do you believe in miracles?" Collinsworth said at some point, as the camera showed some Hogettes in the crowd. "They do. They wouldn't be here looking like that unless they believed in miracles."

"They were in tuxes for the Capitals-Devils game last night," Michaels added.

And I don't have the text, but there was yet another Caps reference near the end of the fourth quarter. So Al Michaels is definitely on board. Once Larry Michael decides the Caps are close to supplanting the Redskins, it'll definitely be time to run for the hills.

(No, I'm not going to take that cheap shot about how the Caps could have outscored the Redskins on Sunday night. Yes, I will take the cheap shot about how the Caps have three wins by a margin of at least four this month, and the Redskins have two wins by a margin of at least four this season.)

(Oh, and in case you think the entire national media infrastructure has Caps fever, observe this recent screenshot from ESPN News, via Reader Jim. Still some ways to go.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 28, 2009; 2:19 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media , Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lasting, disturbing 'MNF' Redskins images
Next: Flip Saunders goes off


On Saturday Canada's under-20 Men's Hockey Team beat Latvia 16-0 (yes, in a normal 3 period game) in the annual World Junior Championships.

Yesterday, Skins lose 17-0.

I wouldn't put the 'Skins on par with Latvia hockey in terms of suckiness, but they are awfully close.

Posted by: gfsportsfan | December 28, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Caps would have to go on a run similar to what the Redwings have done over the past 15 or so years (4 championships, 6 finals) for them to come close to amount veneration the Redskins get in this town.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | December 28, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

WAIT! When did the Caps fire Boudreau and rehire Hanlon? I thought I saw Boudreau make the comments about Koci's hit on Green. THIS IS MAJOR NEWS AND NO ONE IS COMMENTING ON IT! APPARENTLY, THE CAPS FIRED BRUCE BOUDREAU AND REHIRED GLEN HANLON!

Posted by: Matt23185 | December 28, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Last night, the sheeple of Redskins Nation dutifully paid their $30 for parking and filled Fed Ex Field by the thousands to indulge in Snyder's overpriced concessions and watch his substandard product. And the Sheeple brayed "RRRREDSKINS".

Meanwhile, Snyder was a good apparatchik to the Washington Power Elite as he entertained Alan Greenspan and Sam Donaldson in his owners box. If I was in charge, Alan Greenspan would be exiled to a deserted island (like Napoleon) for his mismanagement of monetary policy while Fed chairman.

One day the Redskin sheeple will wake up and realize they have a great hockey team in this town. Although most of the Caps players are not Americans, they speak better English then most of the Washington Redskins players which is a sad indictment on the American educational system when you think about it.

Posted by: escarleth1 | December 28, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Hahahahaha. ESPN failure - again.

Anyone just want to put this football season out of its misery in DC?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 28, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It takes the Caps the best hockey player in the world, the best record in the NHL and three seasons of playoffs to even broach the topic. All the Skins would need to is make it to the playoffs and BAMM!!!! Who are the 'Caps? I'm a Caps fan, but the Skins truly are (and probably always will be) the home town darlings.

Posted by: bsdman | December 28, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Collinsworth was more annoying than normal last night. Michaels was giving him a lot of talking points and good information, but Collinsworth wasn't having any of it. He preferred to spout off misinformed and plainly wrong stuff all night. There was one sack where he blamed Campbell and said he missed the receivers. He was hit from the blind side and didn't have any options in the backfield. The replay showed that the receivers were all still going down the field and hadn't turned or broken their routes when he got hit yet he continued to blame Campbell. I hate listening to commentators who speak out of their own preconceived thoughts and don't watch the game.

Posted by: sitruc | December 28, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Larry Michael is a homer beyond all reason, his preseason prediction for the Redskins this season was a 12-4 record, including a 5-1 division mark.

I nearly snorted the soft drink thru my nose when I heard the prediction.

For the love of Redskin nation, please fire this moron...

Posted by: terpfan4141 | December 28, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

No doubt that the Caps have made huge in roads. Mostly because of Ovie, but they are a well run organization and the Redskins are a terrible organization. If the Caps win a Cup, ALL BETS ARE OFF>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Posted by: poguesmahone | December 28, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Can we get a "DC Sports Bog does the Caps"...or Wiz?

How's the Caps lockerroom after hearing about the Clark trade? Why the change this year in the Caps introduction music? Why is "Unleash the Fury" sometimes shortened (as it was last night)?

What does Caron think about Gil being offered to Houston for McGrady? Have there ever been two more oft-injured players as part of trade talks? Who could possibly compare to an injury trade like that (if Houston hadn't rejected it)? early 2000's Grant Hill for Greg Oden?

Posted by: fushezzi | December 29, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Whatev... Beat the Penguins and then we'll revisit this...

Posted by: peterandmeredith | December 29, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

New Jersey is a bigger threat to the Caps than Pittsburgh.

Posted by: poguesmahone | December 29, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

We did beat the Penguins last season. We beat them 6 times.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | December 29, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

.... in the playoffs.

(yes, i know the skins suck and can't even make the playoffs.... just sayin'... to supplant the skins presence.)

Posted by: peterandmeredith | December 29, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

If the Capitals win a Stanley Cup this year and Ovechkin wins yet another MVP this town will be in Caps mania and nobody will give a crap about the Redskins until they put together a winning team. DC is craving for some kind of championship. If the Caps bring it home, it will be all Ovechkin jerseys on Wisconsin Ave as if it isn't already.

Now the Skins will always be DC's team but they may for a while be an afterthought if the Caps put it together.

Posted by: Sticksboi35 | December 29, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

In recent history, in the months of January-February-March-April, I'm under the impression that DC has been a Maryland basketball town -- true or false?

The Redskins' popularity in DC is very firm and the Skins aren't going anywhere as far as being the No. 1 team in the DC area. To me, it would be better to examine whether the Capitals have overtaken Maryland basketball as the No. 1 team in the DC area come the months of January through April.

Posted by: blindskateluke | December 29, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to my brother to start the ruckus.

Posted by: CapsfaninRaleigh | December 29, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Re: the Redskins and how they will "always" be #1 in the city, etc.

1. Who cares? I wouldn't go watch the Redskins if they played in my back yard. I loved the growing up. Snyder ruined it as did Angelos with the O's.

2. Who cares? If the Caps win a Stanley Cup, I won't for a second think: "gee, this would sure be better if people I don't know in SE DC, Manassas, and Bowie JUST LOOOOOOVED the Caps as much as the Redskins." If they win and nobody comes to the parade, ok. THEY'LL HAVE WON THE STANLEY CUP!!

3. I've lived here my whole life. I remember when you could walk up and buy a Redskins ticket on game days. I'm not THAT old. We had six season tickets in the RFK hey day. What the Redskins field now is crap. Keep at it and the tide may turn. When I was a kid NOBODY would have believed DC was a football town! (And really, I'm not that old!) :)

4. I love the Caps, love hockey, and am getting a kick out of the attention the Caps are getting. But make no mistake: DC isn't a hockey town. Not yet at least. The buzz in the air is ALL Ovechkin. The Caps have made it to the Finals before - and the city took note. But it was NOTHING compared to the reaction to Ovechkin. They once iced Langway, Gartner, Stevens, and Murphy -- all HALL OF FAMERS in their prime. The town yawned. This is all #8 -- and yee haw for it!!

Posted by: caps1974 | December 29, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Someone give me a rational definition of "hockey town". I've never heard one. Friggin Detroit is often mentioned, but the Red Wings don't dominate the other sports in attendance, ratings, etc. I would agree with Caps1974 that a lot of it is OVechkin, BUT I think a number of their young players are likeable, as is Boudreau.

Posted by: poguesmahone | December 29, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I believe that should be "Boudreau upset at perceived cheap shot."

Posted by: wis193 | December 29, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

My sources tell me London Fletcher has made the 2010 Pro Bowl. Hip Hip for London. Way, way overdue.

My only hope (though it's not going to happen) is that London holds a press conference tomorrow and declares he will never play in this sham joke of all star game, which is based almost entirely on popularity and name recognition and not actual merit.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 29, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Although most of the Caps players are not Americans, they speak better English then most of the Washington Redskins players

now that was funny

Posted by: greatteamdan | December 29, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

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