Oh, the orchestrated chatter last week. Looking back on it now, it seems like a long time ago.
The thematic march was in honor of the Washington Nationals, owners of the best record in Major League Baseball and seemingly the talk of the town. Sports-talk radio hosts wondered aloud whether D.C. had become a “baseball town.” The Washington Post had an A1 story Saturday that delved further into the question.
This was Tony Kornheiser’s famed Bandwagon in reverse, with the Redskins having been left at the bus stop.
Nats are hot. Skins are not.
And then Sunday happened.
Robert Griffin III happened.
And when the Redskins and their prized rookie quarterback left the Superdome with a 40-32 win over the heavily favored New Orleans Saints, when RG III became the talk of the league after his debut, it was almost as if one switch had been clicked off and one clicked on.
The Nats? Oh yeah. Go Nats. But man, how ‘bout that RG III?
Before the baseball season, Nats manager Davey Johnson coyly said of D.C.: “It’s a baseball town, not a football town.”
This is not a baseball town. This is not a football town. This is a Redskins town.
Wes J., of Sterling, said as much late last week while getting ready to enter Nationals Park.
“Right now, I’d probably watch the Nats and (tape) the Redskins,” he said, adding with a knowing grin, “But I’ve been a Redskins fan all my life and, hey, you know.”
Added Peter Laiti of Fairfax, also entering the game, “There used to be no comparison. I’m all about the Nats but I still love my Redskins. So in that respect, there’s no comparison.”
Remember, this was before the Redskins’ win last weekend.
That one was a jolt of exhilaration to long-suffering fans. A joyful – yet ever so hesitant – glimpse at what might be.
This reporter covered the 1992 NFC championship game at RFK Stadium when the Redskins beat Detroit 41-10, and the stands literally – and famously – shook. Actually, it was more of a pogo effect, and it certainly wasn’t the first time.
That team went on to win the Super Bowl, the last of three Roman numeral trophies for Joe Gibbs.
Those foot-stomping fans don’t forget. You never forget. And kids in this area have been brain-washed by their parents into believing the Redskins actually used to be a really good team. No, really. They were.
And then Sunday happened.
Redskins this, Redskins that, Redskins period.
The Nationals’ run is one heck of an intriguing story, and one that may well wind up eclipsing all else if an expected postseason berth results in World Series inclusion.
But let’s stop this silly – if not contrived – argument right now.
For better or for worse, this is a Redskins town.