Let's Hug It Out
Ever think about the hierarchy of the Redskins' front office as viewed through the lens of Entourage? Yeah, probably not, but then again I'm not your average bear. The more I've thought about this thing - I promise I haven't wasted too many brain cells on this wacky theory - the more I think there's something to it. Of course, I see parallels between pop culture and the real world all over the place, and that's with a wife and a baby and this crazy beat to cover. Imagine what I was like when I was single dude covering hockey with some actual time on my hands?
Anywho, here's my spiel. Let's start with the main man. Vincent Chase is the BMOC on Entourage, and The Danny gets the nod with the Skins. Both have all the cash (or at least the potential to get all the cash based on their position in life). While there's a nucleus of confidants around him, Chase ultimately calls the shots, just like Snyder. Leave obvious differences in appearances out of it, and I think you see where I'm coming from.
Joe Gibbs is E. The voice of reason. The moral oasis in a sea of cutthroat business practices. The good guy with the heart of gold. Vince was floundering before E came on as his manager, and he's the one guy who can cut through the ego and all of that stuff and tell him the straight dope, even if it's not what he wants to hear. He gets the ultimate respect from the man he works for. Like E, Joe has Danny's back, wants him to be seen in a positive light, can help with his image. Yeah, Joe has loads of experience and E has none, but both are best positioned to get the big guy where he wants to go.
Vinny Cerrato is Johnny Drama. He's not Snyder's brother, but he's the closest thing to one in the world of the NFL. He's been around the longest, remembers the lean years, and is relying on Gibbs/E to lead the operation, too. Yeah, Cerrato/Drama played in the big leagues before - Drama has "Viking Quest" and Vinny had his time with the 49ers - but there's no denying that these two are best known for their connections to Chase/Snyder. In fact, they're synonymous with the boss. Without the big dog, they probably couldn't live in that mansion. Neither looks all that comfortable in front of a camera, and they've both had their problems in the past - Cerrato was doing ESPNews the season Snyder let him go before bringing him back; Drama had his head shots done at a Kinkos - but everything's rosy now.
Next up is Ari. He's as ruthless as they come, not given to doing the PC thing, but in the end people flock to him and he keeps Chase paid. Mistakes will be made - charging steep prices for parking, charging to attend training camp, throwing around wads on free agents past their prime like a vain actor at a gentleman's club - but they always come out of it alright, and there's always another revenue stream to unearth. I'm going with the overall succession of VPs, team presidents and marketing execs for this role. Because no matter what they've done, and how much some average fans have complained about getting pinched, there's always 90,000 people in the stands, a legion of business lining up to become sponsors, and thousands of fans to purchase that latest new product or jersey. Cash is king, and these guys make loads for Numero Uno.
That brings us to Turtle. last but not least. You could go several ways here. There's long-term PR guy Karl Swanson, Snyder's self-confessed "henchman" who has proven he would do just about anything he's asked. There's "The Voice of the Redskins" Larry Michael, who would spew the company line about anything, anytime. I'm not even sure he has to be asked anymore. I'm thinking the mindwashing is complete by now and Michael is thoroughly reprogrammed. The ultimate media cyborg. But if you've ever been to training camp on a day when George "The Sports Machine" Michael was driving Snyder around Redskins Park in a golf cart, you'd be sold that this is our guy. It's about as menial a chore as you could imagine, and it's done with pride and loving care. Driving Mr. Snyder. That's Turtle.
Jason La Canfora
August 22, 2006; 12:35 PM ET
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