Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Unbearable Weight of Suck: A Historical Perspective

Fresh on my sixth beer after watching the Washington Generals fumble away a most heartbreaking near-upset (they never trailed, all the way through OT until the final FG), the urge to purge can only be palliated with the broadest of historical perspectives.

The DC Skins suck in 2009. That has been apparent (at the very least) since they lost to the 0-19 Lions. Yet they continue to play hard, taking the NFC-best Saints almost all the way to the limit before being repeatedly stripped [pictured]. Bless their beating hearts: they are just not winners.

My late father reared me on fidelity for the Washington Redskins, his hometown team. They rewarded our devotion with three Superbowls during our lifetimes (in addition to one Championship in 1937, their first year in DC, and one in 1942, the year my father was born).

Verily, the 3-9 Washington Red Stains are not winners. The Snyder era, which began with the 2000 season (69 wins & 87 losses = .441 win percent + 1 playoff win), has been unholy. As Kafka wrote, "There are two cardinal sins from which all the others spring: impatience and laziness."

From a historical perspective, how bad are the 2009 Redskins?

They missed the postseason from 1946 until 1970, twenty-five years of woe including a gorge-raising stretch of non-winning seasons from 1956 until 1968. My father somehow remained loyal to the team which he used to watch for free (just to fill the stands) in the old Griffith Stadium.

In 1950 and 1954, with Sammy Baugh and Al Dorow at QB respectively, the Washington Redskins went 3-9, on par with the 2009 team.

They went 1-9-2 with QB Eagle Day (really) in 1960, then dug deeper in 1961, the Redskins' worst-ever season, a record of 1-12-1. You can chalk some of that up to QB Norm Snead [pictured].

After three-time champ Gibbs left, the 1993 Skins went 4-12 with Mark Rypien. That paved the way for Heath Shuler to achieve 3-13 in 1994 under Norv "Meat Blanket" Turner.

Under yuppie-trash ownership since 2000, the worst Washington Generals teams went 5-11: in 2003 under Spurrier and 2006 with Mark Brunnell as QB.

Where do the 2009 Washington Generals fit in? The four remaining games (Raiders, Giants, Cowboys, Chargers) will answer that sad-clown question. I can say this: they are still playing hard. But also, they are not winners.

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