The Washington Redskins will be handing out 50,000 burgundy towels to fans entering Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys. Dan Snyder-owned ESPN 980, the radio network's flagship station, is sponsoring the promotion and is calling the cloths "Redskins Rags".
Of course, we all remember the Terrible Towels that the legion of Steeler fans waved at FedEx Field last Monday night. I don't know if this promotion came about as a response to that—I would think that it would be difficult and expensive to acquire 50,000 towels and have something printed onto them in the space of a week—but in any case it's a bad idea.
The waving of towels is a Steeler tradition. It has been for some 30 years. You can't just take one team's tradition and try to adopt it as your own. That would be like throwing seed corn onto a paved parking lot and coming back hoping to see stalks as high as an elephant's eye.
My high-level inside source inside the organization—a friend of my brother knows someone who has a cousin who is an intern in the PR department—has said that the attempts to bring other teams' traditions to FedEx Field will not stop with the towels. Among other ideas in the pipeline:
- Having a Native American ride a horse into the stadium and planting a flaming spear into the Redskins logo at midfield.
- Getting the fans to do an Indian chant while making the signal for a first down in unison.
Should those Native American-themed ideas prove to be too politically incorrect for DC, there are other ideas being floated around Redskins Park:
- At halftime, the Redskins band will form "Redskins" in script and the senior sousaphone player will dot the "i".
- Before the game, a semi-prominent celebrity will raise a flag emblazoned with the number 12 in one end of the stadium. It will have to be explained that the number represents not the "12th man" but the new price for a 12-oz draft beer.
- A Metallica song will play and fans will be encouraged to jump up and down as the players come onto the field.
- After the Redskins score, the cheerleaders will do a pushup for each point the Redskins have scored up to that point in the game. (Given the way the Skins have been putting up points lately there is no danger that the cheerleaders will overexert themselves from this.)
- A rock will be placed on a pedestal outside of FedEx Field and the players will touch it on their way in.
- Hedges will be planted running the length of the field behind the benches.
I'm sure that other ideas are under consideration; perhaps you could leave yours here in the comments.