08 January 2008

Perhaps my only post about pro football.

I don't often write about Pro Football because, well, because I don't often write about Professional Wrestling, either. To my mind, the National Football League symbolizes the triumph of style over substance, a sport whose storylines are often more important for the "feuds" between the players or coaches than for the contests themselves. I have even more distaste reserved for the NBA -- a league that has actually destroyed the spirit of the game -- but I'll save that lecture for a later date.

Joe Gibbs has resigned. The first time he retired, he left a hero, having developed the Toughskins into dominating team for much of the 1980's.

The problem with retiring as a legend, though, is that any comeback will inevitably be compared to the first (aka the return of the Messiah), and shortcomings can only tarnish the legend.

In DC, the media thinks that whatever the Suburban Maryland Toughskins do is newsworthy. If a player's car gets dented by a shopping cart in the Giant parking lot, it's the lead story on the local news. Even in the offseason, if the staff parking lot at Toughskins Park is being repainted, it's worth a lengthy article in the sports section of the local papers, even if they have to bump a story about another sport's championship game to fit it in.

So I'm not really writing about professional football, am I? I'm writing more about the idiocracy that surrounds Deadskins coverage in this town -- about a team that doesn't even play in Washington and is in fact illegally poaching the name of our fair city. Did Irsay keep the name "Baltimore" when he moved his team out of Charm City? No, as much of a shitbag as Irsay was, he had the decency to rename the team to reflect its new home, Indianapolis.

But back to the resignation of Joe Gibbs. The Post is in a rush to protect his legacy. Thomas Boswell bloviates:
While Gibbs's retirement, of which he gave absolutely no hint at any time, was a shock and disappointment to his team and its fans, it at least came at a time when his coaching reputation had been restored.

Huh? How does sneaking into the playoffs at 9-7 and getting schooled 35-14 in said playoff game qualify as a restoration of reputation? [ESPN is also reporting this revisionist line, babbling nonsense like "His decision to leave follows perhaps the best coaching performance of his career. " Seriously, WTF?

I felt bad for Gibbs when I heard he was coming back to coach the Foreskins. As crazy and egotistical as Jack Kent Crook was, he at least seemed to understand that he didn't know a whole lot about the daily life of the team he owned. Gibbs had to deal with Little Napoleon, the NFL's version of Kim Jong Il, who somehow combines vast arrogance with sycophantic behavior around actual celebrities.

Dan Snyder drew back the veil on the savage reality of NFL branding by either charging or trying to charge for every single activity related to his team. He only cares for his team's fans so far as he can shake another dollar loose from them. And why should he care any more? The stadium is full no matter how shitty a product he puts on the field, more and more cars are adorned with those ridiculous window flags whether it's game day or not, and merchandise continues to flow from store racks to customers' backs at a brisk clip. I wouldn't put it past the minute megalomaniac to authorize special jerseys to "commemorate" (i.e. cash in on) Sean Taylor's death.

Snyder, whose patience is about as deep as a puddle following a spring rain, had painted himself into the corner with the hiring of Gibbs, because he couldn't very well fire a legend without enduring the wrath of the Toughskin faithful, who don't have much time for the tiny tyrant and hold Gibbs in reverence matched only by Christ/Allah/Yahweh/Etc.

Now the media is speculating on Gibbs' replacement. I've heard them mention Bill Cowher's name. For his sake, I hope he's smart enough not to take the job. After working for the Rooneys, working for Dan Snyder must make you feel like you constantly need to take a shower.


m.a. said...

You've come up with some lovely monikers for the football team.

That's all!

Grad School Reject said...

I agree with everything you have to say about Snyder and D.C. team. I'm a long time Baltimore fan and I really appreciated your dig on Irsay (sidebar: I still hate him). But I do think Gibbs did a great job getting his team into the playoffs considering his position following the death of Sean Taylor (and the general state of the team). I never had much of a soft sport for Gibbs until I read this article back in 2004 (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=aldridge_david&id=1703355)
It does a great job detailing the history behind how Joe Gibbs won over D.C. from a cultural/political stand point. If you have the time, I think it makes for a good read.

Grad School Reject said...

Shit - the link didn't paste all the way. I'll try and get it to you in an e-mail, but you can find the article by googling "David Aldridge Joe Gibbs"