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D.C.'s second-most popular athlete?



Chatting at 11:30. Submit questions here.

I've occasionally done this thing where I attempt to rank D.C.'s top six athletes in local popularity. Yes, people can define the word "popular" in slightly different ways, but we all basically know what it means.

The drama used to be about who was No. 1. As far as I'm concerned, that debate is long-since settled. But I realized the other day that we suddenly have a gaping, jarring, depressing hole at No. 2.

Think about the previous names who populated such lists. Gilbert Arenas finished his NBA season in a halfway house. Clinton Portis is widely regarded as a locker-room cancer. Chris Cooley played just seven games a year ago, and has three touchdowns over his last two seasons. Mike Green had a sub-par postseason as the Caps flamed out. Ryan Zimmerman has the local profile of a wheat-germ pancake. Jason Campbell, Chris Samuels, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Ben Olsen are no longer D.C. athletes.

That leaves Donovan McNabb and Stephen Strasburg, neither of whom has ever played a game as a D.C. athlete. Can a player with zero games on his D.C. resume really win this award?

This is a debate best conducted on a rainy day with no local games of significance on the docket. That means today.

The Experts

To help me figure this out, I polled about 30 local sports bloggers and fans. The major demographic flaw of my plan is that virtually everyone who responded was a 20- or 30-something white male. So bear that in mind.

The results showed my dilemma. Of the 20 people who responded, I got six different answers for who should be second on this list. I asked people to rank their top 5, and while Cooley got the most second-place votes, McNabb had more first-place votes. Following the top three, the total points went to Strasburg, Arenas, Ryan Zimmerman, Brian Orakpo and Portis, in that order.

(The others to get second-place votes: Ovechkin, Strasburg, Arenas and Portis.)

For our purposes, I'll ignore the two brave souls who thought Donovan McNabb should be ahead of Ovechkin, and merely present some arguments for who deserves to be second.

(Ok, one argument for McNabb in first: "Sure, Ovi is more accomplished in his sport, but no one downtown would mob the guy; many people who aren't season ticket holders don't even really know what he looks like and would mistake him for a Falls Church mechanic or a sound technician at the 9:30 Club." Ah, Wise.)

Donovan McNabb

The most recognized D.C. athlete, even over Ovi. You said popular, so Ovi wins, but McNabb is second thanks to name and face recognition. (Jon Kelman)

Put it this way: Bob's Motors is a rinky-dink used car dealership with a tiny lot at the intersection of Georgia and MIssouri. It seems to specialize in '91 Suzukis and 15-year old teal minivans, but within a week of the McNabb trade, Bob's had a big color sign out front welcoming Donovan to D.C. (Markus Videnieks)

This is all very depressing. Still, I've seen multiple McNabb jerseys popping up around town, and the city is eager to embrace somebody in burgundy who could be considered a team leader. (Jack Kogod)

People were wearing his jersey within hours of the trade (they've been flying off the shelves since), he was already one of the most well-known players in the NFL before he got here, and he's got the many irrationally exuberant members of the Redskins' fan base so happy that they're talking playoffs even though the rest of the offense is a mess. (Eric Fingerhut)

Two words: Jersey sales. (William F. Yurasko)

Local sports has been one letdown after another, on the field/court, off the field/court, in the actual court. But sports is basically an exercise in unrealistic optimism , and that's what McNabb and Strasburg present to us. (David Malitz)

Chris Cooley

As long as they're still making pink Cooley jerseys for the ladies, and as long as he keeps being a dude/bro via social media, he will be popular in D.C. Of course, he seems replaceable by Fred Davis, and rabid Skins fans would much rather replace penis photo bombs with a winning football team. (Kyle Weidie)

He's good, takes his job seriously, doesn't take himself seriously, and is hip to new media. He's also some people's life coach. (Ben Becker)

Because I define popular as the person who you would most want to drink a beer and do a shot with. (Barno)

Still seen as a hard-working player who produces on the field, and you never know when he'll drive tons of Internet traffic to local bloggers by photographing another body part. (Thomas Threlkeld)

Ultimately, this comes down to the Bowling Alley Test. If you took two of these guys, put one of them at lane 1 in a bowling alley, one of them way down at the other end at lane 50, and announced over the PA who was at which lane, which side of the bowling alley would be more crowded? I think Cooley draws a bigger crowd than anyone else on this list besides Ovechkin. (Matt Terl)

In the absence of performance from stars, D.C. fans will embrace personality, and Cooley's undeniably awesome on that front. (Andrew Sharp)

Gilbert Arenas

Most of his fans probably don't think he's guilty of anything other than being a goofball. (Ian Herbert)

Gilbert still owns a part of this city, being the longest-tenured superstar in D.C. Anything he does is news, which makes him the most recognizable active athlete in D.C. (Kevin Ewoldt)

Stephen Strasburg

He's the only player in town who hasn't vaguely disappointed us in some way. Yet. (Chris Chase)

His arrival is more anticipated in this town than either of Gilbert's returns (and certainly more than the next one this fall.) (John Taylor)

Clinton Portis

Chad Dukes was the only respondent to not put Ovechkin first or second.

"No disrespect to Ovi, but Donovan McNabb is the biggest name in D.C. sports, and it's not even close," he wrote. "The juggernaut that is the NFL, combined with the enormity of McNabb's name and what he has accomplished in the NFC East dwarfs all other stories in D.C. sports this season. Whoever is at the helm of the football team casts the biggest shadow."

Dukes put Portis second.

The Vote Totals

(First and second-place votes in parentheses)

Alex Ovechkin - 95 (18 - 1)
Chris Cooley - 49 (0 - 8)
Donovan McNabb - 46 (2 - 6)
Stephen Strasburg - 32 (0 - 2)
Gilbert Arenas - 22 (0 - 2)
Ryan Zimmerman - 15
Brian Orakpo - 13
Clinton Portis -11 (0 - 1)
London Fletcher - 6
Nicklas Backstrom - 5
Alex Semin - 2
Nyjer Morgan - 1
Brooks Laich - 1
Albert Haynesworth - 1

See further explanations at Mister Irrelevant, Redskins Blog, WFY.

Your turn

Vote here, and explain below.

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 18, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Nats , Redskins , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Nats and the junkheap
Next: Manute Bol hospitalized

Comments

No love for Jaime Moreno, eh?

Posted by: the_slammer | May 18, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I voted based upon whose jersey i would buy first. right now that's Zim, then stras, then gil.

Portis is clearly last cuz he acts like a jerk even if he isnt. mcnabb is middle of the pack. he is still an eagle to me and i hate the eagles more than dallas. that said, he is above cooley and the hockey players becuase NFL >>> NHL.

Posted by: BigNasty | May 18, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Wait, what about Haynesworth???

Posted by: disgruntledfan | May 18, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

How about Nick Backstrom... he is now going to be here long term and is FAR more likeable than Green.

Give it up for Backie!!

Posted by: Hunter21 | May 18, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

This is just crazy. Gil and Clinton at the bottom? Really? McNabb, a Philly guy, over them?

Either:
A) The readers are short-minded and don't care for what these two have done for the city/area in the past

or

B) We need more black people reading this blog.

There is absolutely no reason for Backstrom to be #2 (which he is as of this post) and for Gil and Clinton to be last.

I'm beside myself.

Posted by: fushezzi | May 18, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I know its "just soccer", but Jaime Moreno is the all time leading goal scorer in MLS. you'd think that would at least get you in to the top 9.

Posted by: VTUnited | May 18, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm THRILLED that Backstrom is second on this list. That's fantastic. Well deserved for that quality young man who has lived up to his potential.

Don't mind Clinton and Gilbert at the bottom right now because Gilbert has gone bust since he signed a huge contract and Clinton's tired act is ... well ... tired.

I do agree that maybe Jaime Moreno could've gotten some love and been included on the list.

Posted by: CDon | May 18, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

People are tired of Clinton Portis. I know that I am. He needs to shut up and just play ball.

Posted by: linroy62 | May 18, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

There is absolutely no reason for Backstrom to be #2 (which he is as of this post) and for Gil and Clinton to be last.

I'm beside myself.

Posted by: fushezzi | May 18, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

========================================

First, you are out of touch dude. Backstrom is huge in this town.

Second, Gilbert and Clinton have dropped so dramatically due to their recent negative publicity. Gil will rise if he tows the line and Clinton just needs to shut up particularly about Lavar. That is so tired and nobody cares what he thinks about Lavar.

Third, I agree about Jaime. Fifteen years and the all-time scorer commands a little respect.

Posted by: blackandred777 | May 18, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Definitely not enough black people reading the bog.

Posted by: ndeutsch2 | May 18, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I think Brooks Laich should get at least an honorable mention. He seems to be popular with Cap fan die hards.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | May 18, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I have no clue who this Chad Dukes clown is, but anyone who says Ovie isn't in the top two is a complete moron. Doesn't know a thing about DC sports.

Posted by: poguesmahone | May 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Good to see Nicky first on this list. He's easily the best athlete at his sport on this list (unless Strasburg is the next Nolan Ryan) and easily a top-10 NHLer.
Here's why Gil and Portis are so low on the list.
Portis is a perceived jerk
Arenas is an idiot

Posted by: ASchumacher | May 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Never heard of Mike Green.

Posted by: Reignking | May 18, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Methinks the Quiet Swede benefited from a bump in post-contract signing coverage.

Lucky break, Backie!

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | May 18, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Never heard of Mike Green.

Posted by: Reignking | May 18, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

======================================

If I remember right you reside in Atlanta, I take it you never pay attention to the Thrashers. Having said that, I can't blame you as nobody in Atlanta does.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | May 18, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm so happy Backstrom is #2. Even in the face of the playoff bust he's still one of the main cogs on the areas most successful team. The skins and Wiz have been beyond awful for years and their "star players" are festering pustules of negativity.

Not enough black people reading this blog? What a crock. There are just enough people reading the blog who are sick of the BS from bad sports teams and clowns like Portis and Arenas.

Posted by: bseastwood | May 18, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Flyers fan...which is working out well. But I do know too much about Chris Cooley because of various radio shows that I still listen to.

But even I wouldn't vote McNabb over Ovechkin.

Posted by: Reignking | May 18, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin #1, no question.
MacNabb #2, and rising.
3# is Zimm.
#4 not in sight.

Posted by: ridgely1 | May 18, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

It wounds me that I didn't make the cut as a Bog Consultant. At least I would have partially swayed your white demographic.

Posted by: kolbkl | May 18, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Zimmerman should be higher. He suffers because the Nats have been so bad. And I agree that anyone who claims that Ovechkin isn't one of the top two is clueless.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | May 18, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I thought Gilbert was in Jail and isnt Portis a 3rd down back now...these guys should not be on this list

BTW - here is how it should go

Backstrom - Under appreciated
McNabb - All Star Qb's are priceless
Ryan Zim - Top 3 3B in MLB!
Cooley - Very good, but annoying
Mike Green - OVERRATED!!!
Strasburg - Its too early to compare

Posted by: Nats1924 | May 18, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

It's kind of unfair to Zim to rag on him for having a low local profile. I don't know much about Backstrom either; is he known for showing up around town much?

A year or so back, Zim was having some bad stats and bloggers started talking about how he was seen all the time a Liberty Tavern staying out late. I don't blame the guy if he started keeping a lower profile after that.

Posted by: LouLewis | May 18, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

A wheat germ pancake with a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger!

Seriously, what does the guy have to do? Dress in drag and do a media interview?

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 18, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Apparently I'm the only one that actually followed Steinberg's directions and kept my response to one sentence...and I got penalized for it and not included. Boooo!

My vote was Cooley number 2. Criteria is "most popular" and I define popular by the guy you would most want to have a beer and do a shot with.

Btw, totally agree with Fushezzi on Backstrom. Lot of what have you done for me lately fans apparently who jump off the Arenas and Portis bandwagon when times aren't so good. I still have them both in my top 5.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 18, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

i think the whole blog/poll is confusing to people..the blog was about the second-most popular athlete, while the poll asks "who is your favorite d.c. pro athlete"...most popular and favorite are completely different, atleast to me...i think that's why backstrom is so high..

Posted by: jdwood84 | May 18, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Btw, totally agree with Fushezzi on Backstrom. Lot of what have you done for me lately fans apparently who jump off the Arenas and Portis bandwagon when times aren't so good. I still have them both in my top 5.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 18, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

========================================

What does that have to do with Backstrom? It's not Nick's fault that Gilbert and Clinton have behaved like idiots lately. Backstrom is a great player and it has led to his increased popularity in this town. His popularity has nothing to do with Arenas and Portis. BTW- I am a Gilbert fan.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 18, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Memo:

To: Hockey bashers

Subject: Ship has sailed

For the past couple of decades there has been a group in this town that delighted in bashing hockey (Kornheiser, Wilbon, Pollin, etc) and it's place in this town (only fans in town are in the arena, ha ha ha). Funny thing has happened over the past five years, hockey has quietly moved to number two in this town as measured in internet activity, TV ratings and attendance. Like it or not, all of you that delighted in Tony's, Mike's or Andy's insults now must face the obvious. Hockey has made it here and it isn't changing anytime soon. Ovechkin's and Backstrom's popularity isn't a fluke.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | May 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I wish Portis and Arenas didn't even play here. Portis WAS really good. Running backs don't get better with age - it's been proven a zillion times.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | May 18, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm with JohninMpls on this one. To be honest, we could probably use a few more athletes who have "wheat germ pancake" profiles, rather than cowboy wanna-be's recklessly handling 6-shooters or those who dress outrageously in order to hide declining abilities. And don't forget Ryan Z's 30 game hitting streak last year. But I guess that's not good enough.

Posted by: valawman | May 18, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I have Backstrom easily 1st after OV followed by Cooley and Mcnabb and then Portis and Strasburg. Moreno should be in the mix as well. I am not a a Nats fan, but Strasburg is a phenom and will take the town by storm from the first appearance against presumably Cincy in a couple weeks. Until he gets here though, winners and Redskins all the way.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | May 18, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I have Backstrom easily 1st after OV followed by Cooley and Mcnabb and then Portis and Strasburg. Moreno should be in the mix as well. I am not a a Nats fan, but Strasburg is a phenom and will take the town by storm from the first appearance against presumably Cincy in a couple weeks. Until he gets here though, winners and Redskins all the way.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | May 18, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

What does that have to do with Backstrom? It's not Nick's fault that Gilbert and Clinton have behaved like idiots lately. Backstrom is a great player and it has led to his increased popularity in this town. His popularity has nothing to do with Arenas and Portis. BTW- I am a Gilbert fan.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 18, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Sure it has a lot to do with Gilbert and Portis. If all the "what have you done for me lately" fans hadn't jumped off the Gilbert and Portis bandwagon so quickly, there's simply no way 2 Caps players make it into the top 5...there wouldn't be room.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

London Fletcher is even underrated in LOCAL popularity contests. That's sad, Fletch should be above Gil, CP, and Greener. He's a true leader and manages to be nothing but a professional despite being on a dysfunctional team for the past few years. And oh yea, he's a really good player.

I guess "popularity" can mean good and bad. Everyone knows Haynesworth's name, but mostly for negative things.

I miss Sean Taylor.

Posted by: svonberg | May 18, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I'd be curious to see the results in late July to see where Stras falls. His last start in Syracuse drew more fans than recent Nats games.

Also, if he keeps it up, Matt Capps could deserve a spot on the list.

Posted by: 1ofamillion | May 18, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Call me crazy, but how about some athletes who are not only at the absolute pinnacle of their sports (NOBODY on your list), and who, occasionally at least, WIN something? (again...)

Serena Williams? (Washington Kastles)
Venus Williams? (Washington Kastles)
Abby Wambach? (Washington Freedom)
Sonia Bompastor? (Washington Freedom)

Of the career losers on your list, no choice but to go with the elite, personable, non-azzhats: Zimmerman and Cooley.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 18, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

the bigger question is why did stein ask mike wise his opinion anyways

Posted by: _stevo | May 18, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Sure it has a lot to do with Gilbert and Portis. If all the "what have you done for me lately" fans hadn't jumped off the Gilbert and Portis bandwagon so quickly, there's simply no way 2 Caps players make it into the top 5...there wouldn't be room.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

What have you been smoking? First, Ovechkin is a hands down first. No other athlete in this town is even close. Two MVP's and being the best player in the world tend to do that to an athlete's popularity. Second, Backstrom is a tremendous talent and arguably one of the five best players in the NHL which you seem to be completely clueless about. What have you done for me lately? How about producing and winning (Ovechkin, Backstrom) instead of gun toting and running your mouth (Arenas, Portis). If that makes me a bandwagoner then all I have to say is "All Aboard"! :)

Posted by: Gambrills4 | May 18, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

For once... I agree completely with Portis... McNabb will be the most popular DC athlete with a few wins, no doubt... It's simple, QB of the Washington Redskins almost is guaranteed to be #1 provided they win some ballgames. Most popular athlete on the most popular team will be McNabb.

Posted by: tony325 | May 18, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@jdwood84, not to belabor something of relative unimportance, but the concept of popular and favorite is being used correctly here. You don't look at a player and perceive them as popular to you. The question is who is your favorite. When somebody becomes a favorite of many people, that makes them popular.

Posted by: LouLewis | May 18, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Call me crazy, but how about some athletes who are not only at the absolute pinnacle of their sports (NOBODY on your list)

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 18, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with your points about the female athletes in town. However, you are dead wrong about Backstrom and Zimmerman. They are both elite players in their sport.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | May 18, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

What have you been smoking? First, Ovechkin is a hands down first. No other athlete in this town is even close. Two MVP's and being the best player in the world tend to do that to an athlete's popularity. Second, Backstrom is a tremendous talent and arguably one of the five best players in the NHL which you seem to be completely clueless about. What have you done for me lately? How about producing and winning (Ovechkin, Backstrom) instead of gun toting and running your mouth (Arenas, Portis). If that makes me a bandwagoner then all I have to say is "All Aboard"! :)

Posted by: Gambrills4 | May 18, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I never said Ovie wasn't number one. But yes, as indicated by your comments, you are clearly a bandwagoner and "what have you done for me lately" fan. You cast Gil and Portis away so quickly, even though they have both done light years more to bring joy to this town than Backstrom has at this point in his career.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 18, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Sure it has a lot to do with Gilbert and Portis. If all the "what have you done for me lately" fans hadn't jumped off the Gilbert and Portis bandwagon so quickly, there's simply no way 2 Caps players make it into the top 5...there wouldn't be room.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Let me guess, you couldn't tell the difference between a hockey puck and a ping pong ball. Obviously, you know nothing about the sport or the rise in popularity the sport has had in this town. Stick your head back in the sand.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 18, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

who's Backstrom?

Posted by: mcopete1 | May 18, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Is that Mike Green the Cap or Mike Green the 'Skin? :-P

Agree with the Moreno sentiment, he deserves some love from this town.

How about a vote for Mystics Attendance Banner?

Posted by: paperboy76 | May 18, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

It's almost comical that people would have to say more black or white people have to read this....and as for Chad Dukes....why was his opinion asked again...this isn't about the MMA??? He's lucky he's got Lavar's coat tails to hang onto. For him to put Portis over Ovechkin is just stupid. Just because he, like the rest of this town, can't get over the Skins (I hope they start winning as well though) well it is what it is I guess. This just in the last time the Skins has something good was almost 20 years ago....

Posted by: rdiehljr | May 18, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Why are Arenas and Portis even on this list? Arenas is not exactly Unseld and Portis is not exactly Riggins. Neither had more than a few good seasons here which by the way Backstrom has already had here and he is only 22 years old.

Posted by: blackandred777 | May 18, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"@jdwood84, not to belabor something of relative unimportance, but the concept of popular and favorite is being used correctly here. You don't look at a player and perceive them as popular to you. The question is who is your favorite. When somebody becomes a favorite of many people, that makes them popular."
----------

true, but i was just making a statement based on the people who are bewildered how backstrom could be #1 on the poll..."Who is your favorite athlete?" is completely different than "Who is most popular in D.C?".....backstrom SHOULD be in the top 3 on the poll...but based solely on name recognition and who would be recognized on the streets of DC, the top 3 would be Gil, Portis, and McNabb, or something along those lines

Posted by: jdwood84 | May 18, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Caps fan all the way and of course Backs is right after Ovi--the Caps dynamic duo will be creating their magic for a decade now.

For the Caps to have two elite players--and I do mean two of the top five players in the NHL--be committed to this town and this franchise for so much of their prime athletic years says much about how far the Capitals have come.

As for the rest of the list, I wouldn't recognize any of them. But I only watch a little baseball once the hockey season is over. Basketball and football--nope--interferes with the NHL schedule. If the Caps aren't playing, then I watch other teams.

Now I CAN recognize ALL of the Caps players in any context. In fact I have seen some of them around town. Several live in my neck of the woods near Old Town.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | May 18, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Jaime Moreno over Fat Albert 6 days a week, twice on Sunday.

Posted by: CHICO13 | May 18, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Well I failed to mention Greenie but I put him right after Backs.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | May 18, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I never said Ovie wasn't number one. But yes, as indicated by your comments, you are clearly a bandwagoner and "what have you done for me lately" fan. You cast Gil and Portis away so quickly, even though they have both done light years more to bring joy to this town than Backstrom has at this point in his career.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 18, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

==========================================

This statement clearly shows you know nothing about Backstrom and what he has done at this point in his career. As far as the number of productive seasons all three have had in this town, the total is pretty close. That may not be Portis and Arenas fault due to injury but the number of productive seasons is relatively close for all three. There isn't the disparity you point to.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | May 18, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

C'mon you all should know by now that arguing with Barno is like talking to a brickwall, granted the wall has more intelligence but still you get the idea.

With that said I wouldn't put Backstrom at #2. Nor would I put Gilbert or Portis.

Of course I'm sure Barno will label me a "fakey fan" or something like that and say I'm also a johnny-come-lately-bandwagoner fan with the Caps.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | May 18, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ovi being first but it's funny how quicky people can forget what two superstars have done for this city. Gilbert Arenas came to this city and carried the Wizards to multiple 40 win seasons and the playoffs. Did we all forget that already?? The Wizards were the doormat of the Nba and Gil changed that! But when Gil needs the city to show their support we turn our backs and basically say your on your own?? As far as Clinton goes he's been nothing but a success in his time in Washington. He's had two subpar seasons due to injuries and been in the top 5 in the Nfl In rushing in his other seasons. The Caps have had great success in the regular season but if I recall the Wizards have had more success in the past decade than the caps have!

Posted by: cscmanager62 | May 18, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Gambrills...
As the orignial poster of the "backstrom #2 is crazy" (paraphrased) let me address this.

First, I am a former Caps ticket holder (and every DC team except Wiz) so I know hockey (and the difference between a puck and ping pong ball). Don't get me wrong....Backstrom is good, very good. He's been great for the DC during his 3 years here.

gil's been here since 03. Took a team that was the laughingstock of the NBA and made them a strong playoff team. Yes, there have been some negatives associated with him (guns/injuries).

Portis has been here since 04, ran for over 1250 yards four times and was the face of the franchise. His work ethic may be questioned...I'll give you that.

But there is no way Backstrom is #2 in popularity in DC (and Gil and Portis are last) unless you are taking the poll on a Blog-site which is disproportionately white and favored by hockey fans (to a much lesser extent). Seeing that the poll WAS conducted on such a site, its understandable that Backstrom is #2.

However, my point was that this is crazy and not a true reading of DC area sports fans. There is NO WAY Backstrom is #2 if you take a multi-cultural poll in this area. I'll grab 300 white people, 100 black people, 75 hispanics and 50 people of other race/culture/etc and I'd be surprised if Backstrom was in the top 5.

Posted by: fushezzi | May 18, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

fushezzi,

I too have had season tickets or a ticket plan with virtually every team in town and I am currently a DC United and Redskin season ticket holder. However, I strongly disagree with you. I frankly don't care about race and it shouldn't be a consideration here. Popularity across the region is a statisitical item. You are talking demographics which is different than across the board popularity. McNabb will certainly move up if he wins as this is a Redskin town hands down. However, the Capitals have moved way up on the totem pole. It can be demonstrated by internet traffic, TV ratings, and attendance. While I agree that this is a recent phenomenon, it exists nonetheless. Ovechkin's and Backstrom's popularity is very real in this town. Langway and Kolzig never saw popularity numbers like this in their heyday.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | May 18, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked, shocked and appalled, that Alana Beard isn't even on this list.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | May 18, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

On the demographic question argued above: No doubt that hockey and the Caps are not as popular among the local African-American community as among, say, whites in the area. There still aren't that many blacks in the Verizon Center during Caps games. But listening to sports talk radio and hearing, multiple times, callers identify themselves as "brothers who are now watching hockey" or seeing some African Americans wearing Caps shirts or hats around town, it's clear hockey has more of a following in that demographic group than ever before in D.C. (And yes, I realize these are unquantifiable anecdotal reports, but they still mean something.)

Posted by: TheFingerman | May 18, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Another vote for Bompastor here.

Posted by: universityandpark | May 18, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who points at the name on the backof their Jersey, or does the moonwalk in the endzone, is an idiot. How can anyone actually be excited about McNabb?

Posted by: kdjsgreen | May 18, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? being popular is trivia. What counts is quality play. A third rater like Cooley is popular because he shoots off his mouth. While a great player like Zim gets ignored because he isn't a schmuck.
If quality is what counts then players do go down on the list as they get worse (a normal process after a certain age). Portis is no longer a good player.

Posted by: brachabatrachel | May 18, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@brachabatrachel, Cooley is a two-time Pro Bowl selection. Is there a 1st and 2nd Rate Pro Bowl for better players that I'm not aware of?

Posted by: LouLewis | May 18, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm betting Cooley doesn't make it through the season here. He'll be traded because Fred Davis is as good, younger and makes less. Then we'll need another vote. BTW, I love these morons who still don't get how much progress the Caps have made in terms of the DC sports market. Talk about people still living in the 1980's. jeez.........

Posted by: dcsportsdude | May 18, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Try this poll among women and/or baseball fans and watch Zim rocket much higher. He's my favorite from both perspectives. (Of course, the Skins have never been my football team, either...)

Posted by: dryw1 | May 18, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I love these morons who still don't get how much progress the Caps have made in terms of the DC sports market. Talk about people still living in the 1980's. jeez.........

Posted by: dcsportsdude | May 18, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

--------------------------------

Presenting.....

Moron #1) Michael Wilbon
Moron #2) Tony Kornheiser

Both of these guys are hopelessly out of touch with today's DC sports scene. They are just as you describe, stuck in the 80's/early 90's.

Posted by: blackandred777 | May 18, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Last I checked, Stasburg has not even arrived in town. So how can he be on the list of D.C.'s most popular athletes?

Posted by: loux24 | May 18, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

George Carlin said it best.

People think hockey is a sport. Hockey is not sport. Hockey is three activities going on at the same time: ice skating, playing with a puck, and beating the sh** out of somebody. If these guys were intelligent at all, they would do these things one at a time. First you go ice-skating, then you play with a puck, then you go to the bar and beat the sh** out of somebody. The day would last a lot longer, and these guys would have a whole lot more fun.

Tell you another reason hockey is not a sport -- it's not played with a ball. Anything that isn't played with a ball can't be a sport. These are my rules, I make them up. Hockey is played with a puck. What is a puck? I never even heard of a puck outside of hockey. The only other place you'll find a puck is in the urinal to control the smell in the bathroom. And as far as I'm concerned, any game where the main object is something that came out of a urinal is definitely not a sport.

Posted by: loux24 | May 18, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer Morgan should have gotten more votes. Tony Plush is a riot. And he brought us the Silver Elvis Wig! Give it a couple of years and he makes the list.

Of course, give it a couple of years and both Zimmerman and Strasburg could be tough to top.

Posted by: LetTeddyWin_com | May 18, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Zimm should be number one. Out of the other second place choices he is the best at his craft. Cooley has to be next because he is obviously loved by the fans and is the only good player on the Redskins offense. I refuse to give Mcnabb or Strasburg any credit until the play in their respective team's uniform. The area in between is a little fuzzy to me. I would probably place Arenas behind Cooley followed by Backstrom and Green. I'm not going to lie, the hockey players should be higher but I don't pay enough attention to the sport to give them the credit they deserve.

Posted by: zimmasterslim | May 18, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Just a little perspective here. Most of you are giving #1 to Ovie hands down and several are arguing that Backstrom should be #2. Could Caps fans have even dreamed of having this conversation five years ago?

I don't think the Caps will ever replace the Redskins as top dog in this town, due to exposure and demographics. But I'd say right now the Caps are a strong second. (p.s. My message to the pseudo-sports fans who put down hockey. REAL sports fans respect all sports and the athletes who participate in them.)

Posted by: StevefromSacto | May 18, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsdude, not going to argue your point about Cooley and Davis. I've never pretended to have a mind anything like a GM for stuff like that. But Davis has a ways to go to pass Cooley for popularity. He's not even as popular as Cooley's brother in this town.

Posted by: LouLewis | May 18, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

@StevefromSacto

Nice perspective. It is remarkable to me how far hockey has come in this town. I have many hardcore Redskins friends who are talking to me about the Capitals, who know players such as Backstrom, Laich, and Semin as well as Ovi, who have attended games at Verizon, and who commiserated with me after the playoffs.

Add in the fact that Leonsis and Caps management have made serious longterm commitments to the team, fans can feel secure that Capitals hockey is here to stay, that this town is a strong hockey town.

Critics should go to one of the games sometime. The atmosphere is electric. The excitement tangible. The sea of red--expensive jersey red I might add--is mesmerizing.

When Backstrom, Ovi, and Knuble do one of their tic-tac-toe passes for a goal, or Backstrom sneaks in to receive a backdoor pass for a goal, or whenever Ovi gets the puck on his stick especially on breakaway racing down the ice to shoot the puck in the net with incredible force, the crowd literally holds it collective breath then erupts.

Yup--Caps hockey is here to stay!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | May 18, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

How about Mike Richards!!!

LETS GO FLYERS!!!!! WWWWWHHHHEEEEEE!!!!!!

Posted by: Dog11 | May 18, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

How about Mike Richards!!!

LETS GO FLYERS!!!!! WWWWWHHHHEEEEEE!!!!!!

Posted by: Dog11 | May 18, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Tell you another reason hockey is not a sport -- it's not played with a ball. Anything that isn't played with a ball can't be a sport. These are my rules, I make them up. Hockey is played with a puck. What is a puck? I never even heard of a puck outside of hockey. The only other place you'll find a puck is in the urinal to control the smell in the bathroom. And as far as I'm concerned, any game where the main object is something that came out of a urinal is definitely not a sport.

Posted by: loux24 | May 18, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

====================================

Anyone that authors such immature drivel is definitely not working with a full deck.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 19, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Yet another stupid exercise by the Post to pit one local team or player against another.

Posted by: EnoughISEnough | May 20, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

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