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
This evening, I filled out my ballot for the Pro Bowl online at http://nfl.com.probowl . I did so with considerably less of a feeling of awe and responsibility than I had when I punched out my ballot at the neighborhood elementary school in last week’s national election.
Still, I don’t want to goof around with such things. My big problem with filling out the ballot was that I’m so focused on the Redskins from week to week that I really don’t have the means to evaluate how other players around the NFL are performing. There were several positions where I either didn’t cast a vote or voted for fewer players than the designated maximum.
I also didn’t want to be a moronic homer and vote for all the Redskins that appeared next to the selection buttons, so I chose my Redskins carefully.
- Clinton Portis—I’ve gone over his accomplishments extensively over the past few days, no need to elaborate.
- Tom Tupa—As much attention as James Thrash got for downing punts near the goal line on Sunday, someone had to put them there to be downed. Tupa booms them when he needs to and often managed to come up with the well-placed pitching wedge when needed.
- Fred Smoot—He’s elevated his game to a new level, one that’s worthy of a trip to Hawaii.
- Shawn Springs—Springs’ long arms help him bat down passes and wrap up opposing quarterbacks. Not many corners have intercepted Favre twice in a game.
- Cornelius Griffin—This may be a bit of a stretch, but after watching promising free-agent tackles such as Big Daddy and Stubblefield come in with high expectations and fail, it ‘s great to see one finally come through.
One thing that was interesting to note about the voting process was that after voting for the offensive skill position players, the kicker and the punter, I got the following message: “You have the completed the EXPRESS ballot, click here to submit your ballot.” There was also an option to continue voting for the grunts, the offensive linemen and the defensive players. Of course, I took the continue on option after being somewhat insulted that I was given the option to opt out of the process after voting for the big-money guys.
It was as though after punching out the chads for the President, Congress and the Senate last week, a message had appeared on my butterfly ballot saying: “You’ve voted on the important stuff. If you really want to go on and vote for those obscure county commissioners and those boring bond issues, keep on. Otherwise, turn in your punch card now.”
Anyway, let me know what you think of my choices. If you can make a compelling case that anyone I left off should be included, let me know. Conversely, if you think that I voted for an undeserving Redskin, your comments are also welcome.
NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.
Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.
“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”
The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”
“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”
Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.
“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.
In a thriller in Foxboro, the Patriots handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.
It wasn't pretty but the Rams slipped past the Broncos to remain the lone unbeaten in the NFL.
Remember when the Lions beat New England on Sunday Night Football and folks were ready to bury the Patriots? Yeah... how did that 'hot take' work out?
Will the real Redskins please stand up? A win over the Panthers moved the Skins up three spots. Give the Redskins this, they are consistently unpredictable.
The Ravens are on the rise and Marcus Mariota is happy the Titans won't have to play Baltimore again.
So the Cowboys have an offense now? Or does Jacksonville not have an elite defense anymore?
And the Bears let Brock Osweiler throw for 380 yards. Yes. You read that correct. 380 yards.
How far will the Bears drop because of that dreadful defensive performance?