Friday, December 5, 2008
Why I don't really hate the Deadskins anymore...
With the Washignton Redskins coming to Baltimore this Sunday for the first time in Ravens history, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the Redskins, and quite to my surprise, why I don’t really hate them as much as I’m supposed to.
I’m the typical near-30 Baltimore guy. I love my city, rep its teams via clothes and license plate frames, and drink lots of Natty Boh.
I came of age in that 13-year gap between the Colts and the Ravens. I had friends in elementary and middle school who bled burgundy and gold. I had to sit through their trash talk during their two Super Bowl victories in 1987 and 1991.
I rooted for the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers as a kid. Not exactly the class of the NFL.
It would have been easy for me to root for the Redskins and I don’t think anyone would have really chided me for that. After all, Baltimore didn’t have a team, the Redskins were only 45 minutes away, and most importantly, they were good.
But I couldn’t do it.
In my house growing up, we weren’t D.C. patsies. We rooted for the Orioles and whoever played the Colts and Redskins. I didn’t really know the Bullets or Capitals existed until I was a teenager. We hated Jack Kent Cooke for trying his damndest to keep football out of Baltimore. And when the 1993 expansion failed to net Baltimore a team, and Paul Tagliabue told Baltimore to build a museum, we hated him too.
And if ever there was a time to break down and join the Redskins bandwagon, after the expansion meltdown would have been it.
But no. I stayed strong. I went to Baltimore Stallions games. I watched the then Baltimore CFL’s lose in the Grey Cup their inaugural year. In the NFL, I kept rooting for the Steelers. Anything to break down and become a Redskins fan.
Plus I thought, and still think, that the Redskins uniforms are some of the ugliest in the league. No way could I root for a team with ugly uniforms.
But then it happened. Art Modell announced he’d be moving his Browns to Baltimore. Finally, I was saved from ever having to become a Redskins fan. Thankfully, Modell left the Browns’ ugly uniforms in Cleveland.
During the Ravens’ first few years, when they had some pretty heinous uniforms themselves, my hatred of the Redskins remained. And as time passed, and as the Ravens got good, the Redskins got bad.
It’s hard to hate a team that stinks. Although I still do hate the Raiders and their fan base. But since 1992, the Redskins have pretty much stunk. And so does their stadium.
Meanwhile, Baltimore was growing as a city. No longer were we the bastard stepchild of D.C.
We got Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which to this day, is the nicest stadium I’ve ever been too. The Inner Harbor and surrounding neighborhoods underwent unprecedented renewal, and the Ravens Stadium is one of the best in the NFL. Then came the best piece of art ever to be created. The Wire. Made and shot in Baltimore by two Baltimore guys.
And while I still enjoy a daytrip to D.C., it’s a soulless city filled with transients. Its suburbs are crowded concrete dominated mini-cities unto themselves, and the 496 Beltway is a nightmare 23.5 hours of the day.
Years later, when Peter Angelos tried to keep D.C. from getting baseball, I couldn’t really be mad at ‘ol JKC anymore. They were both greedy businessmen looking out for themselves. I can’t defend Angelos’ actions any more than I can blast Cooke for his.
Then I moved out toward Frederick, which is pretty evenly split between Ravens and Redskins fans. When driving home from work in Columbia, MD, I was forced to listen to D.C. sports talk since WJFK AM became static after Mariottsville Road. And what I found on D.C. sports radio was some of the best entertainment I’ve ever experienced.
Have you ever listened to Redskins fans? You really should. It’s priceless. They anoint themselves Super Bowl Champions after winning a pre-season game and then say the Redskins are the worst team in the NFL after losing one regular season game.
If ever there was a knee-jerk reaction fan base, the Redskins fan base is it. They’re annoying like that house-fly that won’t go away. You know it’s harmless, but crushing it under a rolled up piece of newspaper feels euphoric.
Plus they dress up as fat women and wear pig snouts.
How can you hate them for that? We should be feeling sorry for them.
And you know how annoying the Baltimore Ravens marching band is? (Although I must admit, they have gotten better, and less annoying, over the years)
Well the Redskins are the only other NFL team to have a marching band. So we’re pretty much brothers. Heck, we’re practically Siamese twins.
So there you have it. Hating the Redskins is much like hating that homeless guy on the corner. But I guess the real reason I don’t hate the Redskins as much as I used to is because now I have something to occupy my time. And that is rooting hard for the Ravens.
That said, I hope the Ravens kick the Redskins’ fucking asses on national TV this Sunday night.