Forget Al Haynesworth‘s rank on the depth chart or Donovan McNabb‘s embrace of the Shanahan Squared Offense.

In the wake of Friday’s pretty darn good opening exhibition, Redskins fans are debating a much more fascinating topic: What does the “M” in Daniel M. Snyder stand for?

Believe it or not, as long as Snyder has been around here, and as long as he’s forced the Washington Post to call him “Daniel M. Snyder” in first references, there’s not much out there — ok, nothing out there as far as I can tell — that divulges his full middle name.

I became aware of this situation years ago, well into LaVar Arrington’s huge dust-up with the Redskins. Arrington had filed a grievance with the NFLPA accusing Snyder or ripping him off of a $6.5 million dollar bonus by playing bait-and-switch during contract negotiations. Arrington had allowed Snyder a chance to rewrite the original contract because, he told interviewer James Brown at the time, because that pact offered to him by the team had numbers that added up to “666.” From my story, “LaVarmageddon,” published in March 2005:

And in an interview on Sporting News Radio shortly after filing the grievance, he explained to host James Brown that the crossroads of his career came when the Redskins wanted him to make a deal with the devil. A transcript of that interview on the Fox Sports Web site has Arrington saying that the original contract he negotiated, which included the bonus, was against his religion.

“[M]e and my agent, we are Christian people and we were alluding to the fact that there were three sixes in the total of the contract,” Arrington said. “Three sixes, I think if you are a Christian you know what three sixes means. It is the mark of the devil.”

He had asked the team to tweak the numbers in the pact to “get those three sixes off,” Arrington told Brown. They did some tinkering and sent him, and not agent Poston, the reworked version. He signed it without talking to Poston, then later found out the three sixes were removed by removing the $6.5 million bonus.

Wowie. You think Art Rooney ever had to go through that?

Anyway, as luck would have it, just as Arrington was trying, and losing, his ecumenical argument and his $6.5 million bonus, National Geographic documentarians were working with theologians from Oxford University who were alleging that the “mark of the beast” had actually been misread all through the centuries; after further review of some papyrus uncovered a 100 years ago in Egypt, they had decided the Book of Revelations had been translated incorrectly.

The money upshot from the Oxfordians’ work: The mark of the beast really wasn’t “666”; it was “616.”

Hence, could the man without the middle name — “Daniel” “M.” “Snyder” = 616! — be the Beast Arrington really should have been on the lookout for?

Anyway, fast forward to this weekend, and folks on Snyder’s message board have begun taking cracks on what the M really stands for. The contenders are: Mervis, MacGruber, Milhouse, Milstein, Mutha-****in, Marsha, McDuck, McNuggets, $$$$$, Meddling, Mephisto, Marc, Malignant, Moneybags, and Doug.

The smarty pantsiest poster theorized: “The M. is just a placeholder. He is in negotiations with several companies to sell his ‘middle-naming rights.'”

But, guesses and all, unless “Marc” holds true, the mystery about Snyder’s middle name continues. It is kinda weird, ain’t it?

I’ve got an email into Redskins PR hoping to get to the bottom of the situation. Stay with Cheap Seats Daily for up to the minute information on Snyder’sMiddleNameGate™!