Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com
Yes, in the grand scheme of things what we might be thankful for regarding a football team pales in comparison to what’s really important in our lives. So, with perspective fully in place and wearing Redskins hat, here’s what Skins fans can be thankful for:
- Antonio Pierce—He wasn’t supposed to see the field except on special teams, but he’s stepped in for the injured Michael Barrow and gotten the job done. From his middle linebacker spot he calls the defensive signals, gives his all on every snap and is rarely out of position. Pierce is a joy to watch.
- Heritage—Here’s one for you: of the teams who have won at least three Super Bowls only the Redskins and the Packers also won more than one NFL title in the pre-Super era. There’s the more distant past to celebrate with the championships in ’37 and ’42 earned by Battles, Baugh, Farkas, coach Ray Flaherty, and others. Then there are the recent champs with Riggins, coach Gibbs, Theismann, and the Hogs. In between, Sonny and Billy, Larry Brown, Hanburger, Houston, C. Taylor, Mitchell and many, many more. The legacy of this team is second to none.
- Gregg Williams—As good a defensive mind as there is in the NFL, a man who has done a worst-to-first job on the Washington defense. Of course, as an aside to this, we’re all thankful actually to have a defense that’s worth talking about at all. Without the performance of this unit, playing without perhaps its best player in Lavar Arrington, this season would be much uglier than it is right now (which isn’t too pretty).
- Redskins fans—That’s right, be thankful for each other. It’s a great bunch of folks to talk football with, as classy and knowledgeable as any group of fans in the NFL. Add in the fact that no seat at FedEx Field ever goes unsold, guaranteeing that every game every year will be on local TV.
- Fred Smoot—He’s gone from being a brash, cocky kid who talked just to hear himself talk to being a team leader who speaks for the players. Smoot has still managed to maintain that brashness, a refreshing quality among today’s players. Oh, yeah, almost forgot the on-field aspect of Smoot; he’s a tough as nails player who can lock down any receiver in the league.
- Tom Tupa—The first Redskins punter in years who doesn’t automatically boom every punt from the opponent’s territory through the end zone on the fly. He hits pitching wedges that die inside the five where they get down by. . .
- James Thrash—It’s become cliché to talk about this guy, what a team guy he is, how he’s willing to do anything asked of him, how he just wants to win. Well, it’s become that because it’s true.
- Joe Gibbs—He’s back home where he belongs. Give him time, he’ll get it done and he’ll get it done the right way.
If you have anything to add to this list, feel free to leave a comment here or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
On a personal note, I’d like to thank all of you who check out this space to read what I have to say about the Skins. This is a lot of fun to write, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun knowing that so many of you get some small bit of enjoyment out of it.
Hail to the Redskins and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!