Praise be to the Football Gods, who, in Their divine wisdom, have smiled upon the Redskins thereby allowing the 'Skins a chance at the post season! Praise be!
I have been a Redskins fan since they beat the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. I can remember my 5th grade teacher giving us extended recess every time the 'Skins won a playoff game, culminating in a full day of recess after the Super Bowl win, and a party, complete with popcorn, to watch the homecoming parade. I can vividly remember watching TV as John Riggins barrelled down the sidelines, a Miami defender helplessly hanging on to his leg. Since that time I have enjoyed watching them win the Super Bowl twice more, and have suffered through many the losing season, these past 6 years being nigh unbearable, particularly because I was living in DC and unable to escape the endless coverage of their craptitude. The signing of Deion Sanders was a particularly low point in my life, and one that I look back on with scorn and derision.
Through it all, I have never once entertained the notion of liking another team. Sure I have shown interest in AFC teams due to certain members helping me to win FFL Super Bowls (Steve McNair comes to mind), but even when the Redskins were at their lowest point, I have never waivered in my devotion. Complained? Yes. Bitched and moaned? Certainly. But waivered? Never. I have also never missed wearing a jersey on game day since I started the tradition several years ago. My children now share in this tradition and I have told my wife that my kids can be whatever they want, gay, straight, whatever, but if they become Dallas fans, they're out of the will.
I believe in the Redskins. I also believe in the Football Gods, that mystic pantheon of deities that watch over football matches and grant their favor to those teams that show guts, patience and fortitude on the field. The Football Gods smile upon those teams that use the run to set up the pass. On those that go for it on 4th and 2. On those that aren't afraid to try for 2 to avoid overtime.
On many occasions, the Redskins have run afoul of the Football Gods. Having a phenomenal running back in Stephen Davis, and wasting him on some god-awful pass-heavy, Steve Spurrier offensive monstrosity incurred their wrath. Insisting on signing talented individuals who were concerned with nothing but their own stats, rather than the good of the team, cost them the favor of the Football Gods. Even this season, when their balanced attack and stalwart defense were pleasing to the Gods, they ran up the score against the hapless 49ers one week, and were rewarded with a full-on ass whupping at the hands of the Giants the next. Trifle not with the Football Gods, lest ye be punished.
So, as we entered these last few weeks of the season, and the Redskins faced down three divisional opponents in a row, a stretch of games the outcome of which would decide whether or not the Redskins made it to the playoffs, I turned to the Football Gods for help. As anyone who plays in Fantasy Football Leagues will tell you, the FFL playoffs and Super Bowl are all held in the weeks leading up to the end of the regular season, the idea being that the star players are all still playing well to get those coveted real life playoff spots. I was well on my way to making an appearance in my FFL's Super Bowl, and while money wasn't involved, a lot of effort is involved from week to week to not care about the outcome of the season.
With this in mind, I made a plea to the Football Gods on the day of the Dallas game. Take my FFL Team. Take my Vegas Odds Pick'em Score. Take them both, but smile upon the Redskins. For the Football Gods are the Old Gods, and the Old Gods demand sacrifice. The Redskins completely demolished the Cowboys, I moved into first place in the Vegas pool, and moved on to the FFL Super Bowl. While I was happy for the Redskins, I was concerned for it would appear that my sacrifice was not accepted. As it turns out, I was incorrect. Both of my running backs were injured, causing me to make last minute drafts. I entered the FFL Super Bowl unsure as to my prospects, but mindful of my promise.
Again, prior to the Giants game, I made the same promise. This time, the Football Gods took their payment. The Redskins beat the Giants, and I lost to my opponent in the FFL Super Bowl, by an amount that would have been easily surpassed had I started one of my original WR's. The full measure of the Football Gods' plan was then apparent to me. The sacrifice that I was making would be the hardest to make, only if it were the championship game, and only if it were such that I felt it was preventable. They are wise in their ways, the Football Gods are. Was I upset? Surely, for one doesn't play unless one expects to win, but my dissappointment in losing is nothing compared to my excitement that the Redskins are one win away from their first post-season appearance since 1999.
This week, I have nothing to give but my Vegas Odds score, which I will gladly give up for their favor. It is a small price to pay to see my beloved Redskins achive some semblance of the glory that they once held. Plus, I really fucking hate the Eagles.