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Football season means more than a reason to look forward to Sundays. It also means it’s time to turn the keys of the column over to Boudreaux, my hero and the onetime sage of local sports-talk radio, for an annual rant about the late-model Redskins. This year’s model:
“When I was growing up, my mother always told me to be very careful who I hung around with: You can be judged by who you associate with and spend time with. Whatever you think of Steve Spurrier as a coach, he told Dan Snyder, ‘My manhood is not for sale. You can keep all your money and that contract. I just want out of here and want nothing to do with you.’
“Contrast that with Joe Gibbs’ involvement and culpability with Dan Snyder! Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Moral principle is a looser bond than pecuniary interest.’ You can’t beat Abe.
“I mean, what a hypocrite Joe Gibbs is! Here he is standing right on the sidelines, a few feet from those cheerleaders wearing their tiny little flag costumes. Good thing they’re not working for Abercrombie & Fitch, or he’d be firing off a letter to his partner, Dan Snyder.
“They love to tell the story of when Dan Snyder was a young man, he was such a fan that he had a Redskins belt buckle to hold his pants up. Now he uses the Redskins to hold up the fans.
“The acting coach Lee Strasberg used to always ask his students what their motivation was. That’s what I want to know about Joe Gibbs: What’s his motivation? It’s got to be about greed, about avarice. This man is 64 years old; he’s got a certain amount of dignity, based on his age and his accomplishments. But you never see the guy unless he’s wearing some kind of logo. Never! He doesn’t wear those hats because he wants to cover a bald spot. 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?
“He’s contradicted himself so much since he came here. He came back and all that talk was about core-group Redskins. Well, all the core-group Redskins got flimflammed. We now have core-group Redskins doing missionary duty for Monsignor Gibbs in Minnesota, with the New York Jets, and the New York Giants. Fred Smoot was a core-group Redskin. He’s gone. Laveranues Coles was a core-group Redskin. He’s gone. Antonio Pierce was a core-group Redskin. He’s gone. LaVar Arrington was core-group, about $6.5 million ago.
“Arrington looks like a broken-down guy now. All opposing offenses have to do is line up and run right at Arrington’s contract, and he’ll fall on his knees. It’s pathetic the way he just folded. The biggest baddest defensive player the Redskins have didn’t look too tough trying to get his millions back. Arrington has gone from being Dan Snyder’s private chess partner to being on the losing end of playing leapfrog with him. He’s always on the bottom.
“So now with Gibbs, it’s all about ‘real Redskins.’ He had to come up with something new, because of what happened to all the core-groupers. James Thrash is the example he’s giving now of a real Redskin.
“Two years ago, wasn’t that guy a real Eagle?
“My favorite Joe Gibbs performance was when he told George Michael, ‘My total focus is all on the Redskins.’ I could tell he was telling the truth, because he said it from pit row at Daytona. Next stop after this is a press conference at the speedway in Richmond, again stressing his total focus is the Redskins.
“What we got here instead of Steve Spurrier and his golf clubs is Joe Gibbs and his NASCARs. Gibbs says coaching an NFL team and running a NASCAR team are the same thing. The man is either delusional, or Terry Labonte should replace Mark Brunell.
“Everybody always says he must be so great because he went to NASCAR and won the Daytona 500. Let me remind you: David Letterman won the Indy 500.
“I read articles in the paper that Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell are fast friends, that they do everything together. And the favorite thing they do is going deer hunting together. Monsignor Gibbs’ two star altar boys out killing Bambis warms your heathen heart, doesn’t it? Makes me think of Mahatma Gandhi, saying if it wasn’t for Christians, he would probably be one.
“Joe Gibbs always falls back on his piety. Now, he’s learning, in the words of the great philosopher Anonymous, ‘A halo has to fall only a few inches to be a noose.’
“Mark Brunell is mostly over the hill. Patrick Ramsey mostly can’t get up the hill. Jason Campbell is mostly still looking for the hill. Joe Bugel just looks like the hill fell on him.
“I thought the Redskins were going to have to use their two first-round draft picks on Sean Taylor, just to make sure they could get him into camp.
“Now it looks like Sean Taylor is in early rehearsals for the next remake of The Longest Yard. He’s still playing defense in Miami. Sean Taylor thought Gregg Williams had a good defense. He better hope his lawyer has a good defense.
“Sean Taylor got arrested for doing what the good son of any sheriff would do: He got a posse together and rounded up the ATV rustlers. It’s not like he was out at 4 a.m. in the morning driving drunk after attending an all-night Redskins party. The fact that he’s accused of firing two shots from a .45-caliber pistol and didn’t hit anybody and then went after them with a baseball bat should tell you Joe Gibbs was right about his new rookie safety: Sean Taylor has the high character and is the quality individual the Redskins want. Why give your opponent a forearm shiver or spit in his face or tackle him out of bounds after the whistle when you can just shoot him twice with a handgun and finish him off with a baseball bat? Maybe Sean Taylor just got confused. When he heard Joe Gibbs agreed to use the shotgun, he thought the defense could use the handgun.
“Maybe Joe Gibbs will have to get Tony Stewart to show Sean Taylor how to climb a fence.
“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.
“My question is, if the Redskins do worse than 6-10, will that qualify them for a visit from George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton?”
Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Illustration by Max Kornell.