There is always a day in early March when the nation's capital is a buzz. It has nothing to do with anything at the White House, on Capitol Hill or on the Mall. The buzz is about what happens at Redskins Park in Ashburn, where the Redskins are almost always a contender to win the Free Agency Bowl.
After a year of modest activity in free agency, we should have known the Big and Little Enos Burdette of the NFL, Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, couldn't sit still. They went immediately for the big splash. One made by the biggest fish in the pond, both literally and figuratively, Albert Haynesworth. It's reported Haynesworth, is about to sign a seven year/$100 million contract with the Redskins. That is a very big investment in a player who, when motivated, healthy and in shape, is considered the best defensive tackle in the game. But, those are three giant qualifying factors considering Haynesworth have never played a full season. In fact, according to this piece by The Washington Post's Jason La Confora, Haynesworth has never played more than 65% of the snaps in the season. Given the Redskins' history in signing big name free agents, I think I'm bound to see Haynesworth down at the Weanie Beanie ordering a dozen chili dogs at a time and talking smack with the locals....and eating his way out of football.
If you're wondering how the Redskins think they are going get the money to pay this $100 million to Haynesworth and the $55 million pledged to D'Angelo Hall earlier today, I have your answer. They think it's me. That's right, for the third year in a row, I have received a letter from the Redskins telling me I have the "once in a lifetime opportunity" to buy up to eight Redskins season tickets. (Geez, I'm lucky. How many times does someone get a "once in a lifetime opportunity" three times?) Unfortunately for the Redskins, I'm going to wait for a fourth "once in a lifetime opportunity", hoping the fourth opportunity is me meeting a super model who is smart, funny, perpetually horny and who loves Shedd more than anything in the world. I'll save my money for our honeymoon and never give another thought to those Redskins tickets I don't have.
But seriously, I retired as a Redskins fan in the summer of 2008, the day Darrell Green and Art Monk were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. All through the 1990s and up to the 2006 season, I had Redskins tickets I had purchased from a family friend or from a person who had worked for me. Meanwhile, I waited for my name to come to the top of what I was told was a 90,000 person season ticket waiting list. I was thinking it would really be cool to have tickets in my own name so I wouldn't be dependent on other people for tickets.
Up until 2005 or so, I really enjoyed going to the games, although the Redskins were never good. I had the good fortune of being part of a good sized tailgating group. Some Sundays we would have 25 or 30 people and we always had good food and cold beer. But a few years ago, things began to change. Ticket and parking passes steadily increased in price while the product on the field never got any better. Slowly, our tailgating group got smaller as, one by one, ticket holders in the group got frustrated with the Redskins' play and the feeling that Dan Snyder was looking only to make money, not to field a winning team. I attended my last game in 2007. By that time, our tailgating group had shrunk to five people and getting to and from Fed Ex Field was just a labor, not a labor of love.
So, now that I've written this blog entry, the letter telling me I have risen to the top of the now 200,000 person waiting list and giving me the chance to see Albert Haynesworth from somewhere in the upper regions of Fed Ex Field, is going into the trash can next to my desk. My fandom for the Redskins has been there for a quite a while.