Where is the most opinionated man in Redskinland?
Ten years ago this week, after a Redskins preseason loss to New England, former Redskin and then-radio-host Jeff Bostic made a plea on his WJFK-FM sports-talk show.
“Boudreaux, my man, where are you?” Bostic begged. “We need you, Boudreaux!”
I had met Boudreaux a year earlier, in 1995. At the time, he was the star of Redskins radioland, a guy who dominated every sports-talk show in the market with his brainy and entertaining rants on call-in programs. Most of his commentaries condemned the home team and/or the way the local media covered the home team. Yet they were so good that even Bostic, often the target of a tirade, realized that Boudreaux’s weekly calls were the best thing about his post-game broadcasts.
Then, in 1996, Boudreaux disappeared from the airwaves. Lucky for me, he started dialing my number about this time every year and ranting to me instead of some radio yakker. Better yet, he allowed me to go to print with his words. From then on, the funnest part of football season has been each opportunity to type up Boudreaux’s diatribes.
But, alas, this year, no call has come my way. And because of an agreement I made with him long ago to never seek out personal info about the man behind the voice (Boudreaux isn’t his real name), I have no way of getting in touch with him or even finding out if all’s well.
For the last several weeks, I’ve been floating in Bostic’s old boat, wondering, Boudreaux, my man, where are you?
And in that time, along with staring at the phone and longing to hear his wisdom on Red Zebras and macacas and Tom Cruise, I’ve compiled some of my favorite Boudreaux moments, just in case the call never comes:
On Norv Turner’s genius for passing blame after every late-game loss: “You take ‘if,’ ‘the future,’ and ‘rebuilding’ out of Norv Turner’s vocabulary, and the guy would be mute! The team loses in the last two minutes every week because that’s not enough future for him! He needs next week, next draft, next season to be successful! When he says the Redskins are ‘improving,’ he must mean the team is getting closer and closer to securing the first pick in next year’s draft!”
“Jack Kent Cooke makes me sick,” he railed. “He’s always talking about how much he loves ‘The Redskins family’ and everybody in the media here buys into it. What a load of crap that is! This is a business, and let’s not act like it’s anything else. Last year, I counted about 24 Redskins—former ‘family members’—playing well for other teams, and his former coaches are stuck all over the damn league. What the hell does he know about family? I’ll tell you what he knows: The very same week he paid $19 million to sign that shitass kid from Tennessee, he’s in a Loudoun County courtroom saying he’s not going to pay any more child support for his own daughter.”
On Turner’s promise to bring the Skins back to respectability: “You want my definition of scary? That’s when you’re at home and you hear your doorbell and find Norv Turner at your front door, and he tells you, ‘Hi, I’m here to rebuild your house.’ Look what he’s done to this team! What was his last rebuilding job? The South Bronx?”
On the Redskins’ overpaid underachievers: “None of the Redskins free agents work out, anyway. But of all of them, I love Dana Stubblefield best. I can hear him saying, ‘Football? You pay me $47 million…and you want me to play football? Mister, a man with that kind of money don’t play football!’ How can you pay somebody that much and expect him to play that kind of game, a hard game? I’ll never figure that out. You look at the high-paid guys on the team. Michael Westbrook, he’s the biggest mystery ever to come out of Boulder other than ‘Who killed JonBenet?’ The guy lines up for more snaps at the X-ray table than the line of scrimmage. And Tre Johnson, the fat bastard? I finally figured out what Tre stands for: three games played, and three games out.”
On fledgling owner Dan Snyder: “He goes around with this attitude: ‘I spent $800 million for this team. Now everybody’s going to pay!’ There’s a toll-booth mentality to the team since he bought it. He charges for training camp, raises the price of tickets that were already the most expensive in the league, and puts a tariff on everything remotely connected or inferring the name Redskins. I was driving around the Beltway the other day, and I was afraid to glance over at FedExField, because I didn’t want to get a bill from Snyder. When Daniel Snyder says Washington has the best fans, he must mean you can gouge them best.”
Deion Sanders? “I will say this for the guy: He knows how to pick a nickname,” Boudreaux said. “You look up ‘neon’ in the dictionary, and you’ll see ‘a gaseous element that is used in display and television tubes.’ Is that him or what? As much as he says he doesn’t play football for the money and as much as he tells you how religious he is, I bet he doesn’t tithe as much to his church as he does to his tailor.” (A priest at the Church of Ascension and St. Agnes on Massachusetts Avenue NW put Boudreaux’s tithing remarks into a 2000 sermon.)
On Snyder’s addition of “Dream Seats,” field-level tickets that Snyder began retailing in 2000 for $3,000 apiece: “Unless you dream of Bruce Smith’s ass, those ain’t dream seats.”
On fans being banned from walking into FedExField: “I loved it last year when Little Danny gave away all those tickets to a preseason game to the sick children at Children’s Hospital. I could imagine all these kids at the hospital being so excited by getting to go to a Redskins game that, like some great miracle, they throw away their crutches and they jump out of their wheelchairs! But there’s Little Danny telling them: ‘Sorry kids, no walking into the stadium!’”
On Steve Spurrier’s arrival: “Like everything else with the Redskins, the hype about Steve Spurrier is so out of proportion to the reality. I mean, OK, he won one NCAA championship. But doesn’t some coach win an NCAA championship every year? The fact is the guy couldn’t beat Florida State [lifetime record against the ’Noles: 5-7-1] or Miami [0-1]. They say Steve Spurrier left college football for the pros because he was courted by Danny Snyder or because of that huge contract. He probably left because he didn’t like being the third-best coach in the state of Florida.”
On the NFL’s season-opening party on the National Mall, “Operation Tribute to Freedom,” co-sponsored by the Pentagon and featuring Britney Spears: “What the hell does that have to do with football?” he asked. “You got Britney Spears exploiting sex on one end, and then you’ve got the soldiers being exploited to boost the Redskins and the NFL. I can’t believe they’re telling soldiers to show up in their uniforms. Am I less of a soldier if I don’t have a uniform on? What sort of hollow patriotism is that? The whole thing reeks and stinks.…This is nothing to celebrate. I hate this more than I can say. But I’ll tell you this, it ain’t about football anymore.”
On Snyder selling “obstructed view” seats at FedExField: “Those seats are right behind the main structural-support columns that hold up the stadium. Let me tell you this: If you sit and look at a support beam for four quarters, the Department of Homeland Security’s going to be after you.”
On Gibbs’ combination of piety and income: “It’s all over literature and philosophy, and it’s just true: You can’t have that much money without being tainted. One of my favorite Bible verses, Matthew 19:24, says, ‘It is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to get in the Kingdom of God.’ Good luck game-planning that camel through the eye of a needle, Joe!”
On Joe Gibbs’ being a multicompany man: “You never see the guy unless he’s wearing some kind of logo. He’s a corporate whore. I saw him once wearing a hat that had Home Depot on one side and Interstate Batteries on the other. Think of the great scientist of X’s and O’s up in Massachusetts with his gray hooded sweatshirt, and the coach in Dallas with his buzz-saw commitment to football, and Vince Lombardi in his camel-hair overcoat and earmuffs, and Tom Landry in his Sunday-go-to-meeting suit and hat. And then think of this billboard, Joe Gibbs. Can you imagine Andy Reid or Bill Belichick or Bill Parcells wearing a hat with Home Depot on one side and Interstate Batteries on the other?”
On Sean Taylor’s behavior on and off the field: “Maybe Sean Taylor just got confused. When he heard Joe Gibbs agreed to use the shotgun, he thought the defense could use the handgun. Actually, as good as they say Sean Taylor is, when you look at all the evidence, you have to admit, he’s still no Ray Lewis.”—Dave McKenna