|A signed London Fletcher photo I saw at a store in the mall last week.|
It just has to.
I write this on Sunday morning, hours and hours and hours ahead of the biggest Redskins game since I returned home to the DC area in 1999 as an adult professional in the radio business.
It's a game so badly needed, by a fan base so badly abused, teased, misled, and milked for their cash and emotions by a decade plus of "stupid, loud, and pointless."
A win will be a genuine plastic banner raising moment: NFC East Champs.
Thirteen years since Dan Snyder raised a plastic, Kinko's caliber banner that said exactly that above the doorway at Redskins Park. I remember long ago myself and others mocking this. Really? A banner for a mere Division title? And plastic? Oh god.
He really didn't even win that one anyway. This was a Casserly-Norv ensemble that he just finished signing the papers on that August.
Little did I, or we know, how starved we would become in the following 12 seasons for something legitimate. A division title. That's legit. It's not much to some franchises (see: Patriots, New England) but it'll mean the world around here.
A wildcard is nothing. Sure, you can win the Super Bowl off the wildcard. Joe Gibbs 2.0 swerved into two wildcards, declared victory, went back to racing, and left us with Jim Zorn.
Not to be an ingrate, but... thanks for nothing.
A wildcard says you really didn't have that much of a season.
These Redskins have had... A SEASON. In fact, several seasons.
There was the early burst of flash and hope. Then there was the first crushing of RG3 and his concussion, along with nonsense like DeAngelo Hall and Kyle Shanahan with the referees. The Panthers came into down, and needing a win badly, got one, when our coach had said point blank it was a must win for us!
Then Shanny delivered the last rights.
Oh yes, he definitely did. Which is fine. He was pissed. I get it. But the scramble on Monday to backtrack and pin the blame on Mike Wise for writing the column upside down without calling Shanny first was just silly.
Then the team played some inspired and disciplined football. The running game continued to grind opponents into dust. The defense somehow got very "sticky" against the run, and began creating those 1-2 clutch turnovers you need at just the right time to win games.
Pierre Garcon returned, literally one news cycle after it was speculated that he might be done for the season - and all hell broke loose. In a good way. A great way.
And of course, RG3 continued to embarrass those of us who said "no single player is worth 4X worth of draft picks."
It didn't hurt to get a smidge lucky along the way. The Eagles had just lost Vick to a concussion, and served up dopey Nick Foles, at just the right moment in the season. A fumble against the Giants bounces forward for an easy touchdown. The Browns somehow forget bootleg action is a Shanahan favorite. Another does of Foles, who mercifully doesn't understand when to throw a ball away.
And the masterpiece of a magical season: The Ravens Game.
Talk about a confluence of "holeee sh**!"
A fumbled kickoff is overturned by replay. Shaky. RG3 demolished. Limps back on. Here comes Cousins. Thank you prevent D! A lollipop throw for a wide open TD! A ballsy 2-point conversion call by Shanny Jr. Ravens sleeping. Delirium. Overtime. A great return by somebody - finally! - not named Brandon Banks.
And another "gimme" from the Miracle 3rd String Kicker Who Simply Cannot Miss.
If that game didn't put the indelible mark of "This Is Destiny" on this team, I don't know what would.
So tonight, anything can happen. It's football. Winning SEVEN in a row in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE is very, very, difficult. This team has delivered 6 really solid efforts in a row. Why should it be so hard to do it again?
It shouldn't. But you know football. We'll see.
That said, I feel quite at peace with tonight. I just don't see Tony Romo suddenly shedding the karmic stink of big games that has enveloped him. Besides, his defense has been allowing 400+ yards per game this month. The only way he wins, is by a wild shootout, 48-45 or something.
Cowboy fans may insist that Romo, their Charlie Brown, finally kicks that damn football in a big game.
My money is still on Lucy.
Call Kinko's. See when they open tomorrow.