On Redskins-Fan Arrogance: A Good Old Fashioned Fisking

Jordann passed along this gem of blog post, and it seemed like a great chance to dust off one of my favorite blog tropes, the fisking. (That's fisking, with a "k," BFD.)

Let's be honest, the Texans shouldn't even exist

Oh, really? That’s an interesting thesis that I have no doubt you will back up with logic and insight.  I'm sure we all want to see how this fellow makes his case, so let's make like Evel Knievel and drive our browsers over this jump.

I have a message for Washington Redskins fans: We are very lucky. And spoiled. As bad as the Redskins have been lately, we have a team with Super Bowl victories, a commitment to winning (bear with me on that one), and a loyal fan base. In fact, pretty much all the teams in the Northeast can say this. Well, Philadelphia can’t say the Super Bowl part [ducks a battery]. What I'm getting it [sic] is that it could be worse -- we could be a fans [sic] of the Houston Texans.

The Texans have existed since 2002. In that time, the Redskins, who have existed since 1932 (originally founded as the Boston Braves; became the Redskins in 1937), have made the playoffs twice and won one playoff game. Translation: During the time period when both of these teams have existed, you do not "have a team with Super Bowl victories."

Furthermore, not to spoil the ending of your amazing post, but you ask readers to "bear with [you]" regarding the Redskins’ "commitment to winning," then you offer nothing to support this contention. Are we supposed to bear with you until some future post? I ask because I want to see you explain how your team record since 2002 of 55-74 (including 2010) demonstrates a commitment to winning. (For the sake of comparison, the Houston Texans are 50-79 in that timeframe. Also, since Gary Kubiak took over in 2006, the Texans are 32-33, while Washington is 23-38.)

But, hey, at least you’ve got those "loyal fans." You know, the fans that Drew Magary once described thusly: Redskins fans are nothing if not passionate. But that passion comes with a side helping of obnoxiousness so brutal that you'll wish you had giant hands the size of Dave Grohl's in the "Everlong" video, so that you can choke them all. Peep the DTC if you don't believe me. As I've said before, the Redskins fanbase consists of a million little Dan Snyders, all of whom think the team is constantly on the cusp of returning to gloree (We signed Heensworth, Cooch!), treating every win like some kind of historic milestone, and treating every loss as an opportunity to call into talk radio stations to give the team a pep talk it will never hear. Gloria Swanson doesn't live in the past as much as these people do.

I don’t have any problem with the Houston Texans. Nobody does. Why bother? I bet 20% of sports fans think that the Houston football team is still the Oilers playing in the Astrodome.

This is beyond asinine. You don’t think sports fans realize that the Oilers left Houston and that a new team called the Texans entered the league in 2002? Really? I mean, I am far from the biggest NBA fan, but I am aware that the Sonics left Seattle. I only casually follow the EPL, but I could tell you that Portsmouth, Hull City, and Burnley were relegated at the end of the 2009-2010 season and that Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion, and Blackpool replaced them.

Point being, your definition of "sports fan" must be pretty loose if you think one-fifth of them don’t know that the Texans exist or that the Oilers left Houston. (This, in turn, makes one wonder about your claims of Washington having "a loyal fan base," but we'll get to that.)

The NFL originally awarded an expansion team to Los Angeles, but went back to Houston only when LA couldn’t get a stadium together. They’re the NFL’s safety city.

Except that’s not how it happened. The league had looked at both Houston and L.A. Due to L.A.’s market size, once L.A. had an investor who said he could put together a $750 million package, the NFL awarded the new franchise to that city contingent upon L.A. putting together an ownership group and stadium deal within six months.

L.A. failed to meet this deadline. The NFL then re-opened bidding on the team and accepted bids from L.A. as well as the ownership group headed by Bob McNair. The Houston group outbid the L.A. group, $700 million to $540 million, and the franchise was awarded to Houston.

So, no, Houston was not a "safety" city. They were not awarded the franchise by default simply because L.A. could not come through; they outbid L.A. for the team head-to-head. True, they were only allowed to bid because L.A. blew their initial opportunity, but it took a legit ownership team and stadium funding, neither of which L.A. ever managed to assemble, to bring that team to Houston.

Also, if we’re going to mock how a city got its team, we could always talk about the team owner who got mad that his team, which had only one winning season in Boston, could not draw many fans and decided to move the franchise to Washington D.C. Why did he choose D.C. over NYC, Philadelphia, Buffalo, or Cleveland, all of whom were interested and rumored to be considered? Because he owned a laundry business in Washington D.C. That’s it. So, you’ll forgive me if I take "ownership group outbids L.A. when given a chance" over "owner chose our city over better venues because he had laundry business in this town."

They have exactly zero playoff wins -- which isn’t too surprising considering that they’ve never actually made the playoffs.

Isn’t too surprising? I’d say "isn’t even slightly surprising." What would be surprising would be if they had won a playoff game without being in the playoffs. That would even be more surprising than a fan of a team that has won one playoff game since 2002 commenting on the Texans’ lack of a win.

The franchise’s greatest game was the big win against the Cowboys -- in the very first game. I’m more interested in the game-planning DC college bars need to do with Matt Leinart coming to town than anything else.

The Redskins’ greatest game was the big win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. I like toast.

non sequitur --- noun. 1. An inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premises or evidence. 2. A statement that does not follow logically from what preceded it. (From Latin, lit. "it does not follow.")

Even ignoring your jarring change of subject, I still don’t get it. You’re more interested in the Matt-Leinart thing than, say, the outcome of Sunday’s game? You’re literally more interested in that than anything else? What an odd stance to take, especially about something that no one else in the whole world would care about at all.

This is not uncommon once you get away from the traditional sports cities and franchises. I moved from DC to San Diego in 2001 and that year the season opener for the Chargers was, coincidentally enough, the Redskins.

Yes, that is an amazing coincidence. You and the Redskins both went to San Diego the same year. IT’S LIKE DESTINY INTERVENED AND BROUGHT TWO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS TOGETHER.

When I called the ticket office, the nice young man [What are you, 75 years old? –Ed.] told me that "we expect it to be a sell-out" because of "all the military people in area" -- aka Redskins fans.

Yes, I know that, when I say "military people," what I really mean is "Redskins fans." Who doesn’t mean that?

Sarcasm aside, I am failing to see how it is that surprising that the Chargers’ ticket office would take into account that there might be a number of people at the various military bases in and around San Diego who were Redskins fans.

I got decent tickets in my own sweet time and got to watch Jeff George’s last professional football game (yay!) with a stadium almost half full of other Skins fans.

No, you did not. The game you went to was September 9, 2001; Jeff George’s last professional football game was September 24, 2001, against Green Bay. What you did see, however, was the Redskins get curbstomped, 30-3, behind rookie LaDainian Tomlinson’s 2 TDs in his first career game.

As for the "stadium almost half full of other Skins fans," San Diego was coming off a 1-15 season and had not had a winning season since 1995. They also only drew 83.3% of capacity that year, so tickets were obviously easy to come by. San Diego is a military town, meaning lots of people from outside San Diego live there. Given all of that, why wouldn’t Skins fans in the area go to the game in a fairly large number?

What is your point here, anyway? That San Diego in 2001 is somehow indicative of how non-East Coast cities view sports and their respective teams? That makes no sense. For one thing, San Diego was miserable at the time, and Southern Californians are notoriously fair-weather in their rooting interests. (Though, to be fair, San Diego fans are far more loyal than were fans of any of the L.A. NFL teams.)

For another, it’s not like D.C. sports other than the Redskins are blessed with hardcore fans who attend through thick and thin. The Nationals and Wizards don’t draw well at all, and the Capitals only draw fans when they are winning. Through that lens, I don’t see how Washington is that different from Kansas City (where Chiefs fans are complete nutcase diehards but the Royals struggle to draw 20,000 most nights) or most other cities. As I said, the NFL is the most popular sport in the U.S. Only a few markets have trouble selling out every single game, and most have a waiting list for season tickets. Proclaiming that D.C. is somehow special in its attachment to sports based on people liking the NFL a lot is like proclaiming that Sheboygan is special in its attachment to food based on people liking McDonald’s.

I’m also a little unclear as to your getting "decent tickets in [your] own sweet time." You mean you called the ticket office, spoke to a nice young man, found out that they were expecting a sell-out, and chose not to buy from the ticket office on that date? Why?

This week, the Chargers’ home opener will be blacked out, even though they have won the AFC West four years in a row. I guess the Tebow-less Jaguars don’t have the same kind of draw.

Sunday’s blackout is San Diego’s first in 48 games going back to 2004. In that time frame, not counting division games, they’ve played the 2004 Buccaneers (5-7 at kickoff), the 2005 Jets (2-5), the 2005 Bills (4-5), the 2006 Browns (2-5), the 2006 Cardinals (5-10), the 2007 Texans (3-4), the 2007 Ravens (4-6), the 2007 Lions (6-7), and the 2009 Redskins (4-11). None of those games was blacked out. I guess all of them had Skins-level draw, huh?

Oh, one problem with that Skins-level draw: the only reason the game you went to wasn’t blacked out was because the Chargers’ franchise bought up unsold tickets from 1997 through 2003 to prevent blackouts. So your draw was actually no better than any other opponent’s.

The fact is that many communities just don’t get that worked up about their football teams. It’s hard to understand until you live in one of those non-sports towns.

2009 Washington Redskins attendance:
91,704 capacity, 84,794 attendance, 92.5% filled
Greater Washington area population: 5,358,130 2009

San Diego Chargers attendance:
71,294 capacity, 67,543 attendance, 94.7% filled
San Diego County population: 3,053,703

All of which is to say that San Diego County has 2.3 million fewer residents, yet those residents filled more of their stadium last year than did the D.C. area and its rabid, loyal group of fans. Meaning that even if your San Diego example held water in 2001, it really doesn’t today, and it’s certainly not a basis for silly crowing about the greatness of D.C. as a sports town.

So, to all you nutcases out there who take all things about the Redskins too seriously, I salute you. We should all raise a glass and toast each other as we watch the Redskins take on the whatchamacallits on Sunday.

Oh, I see what you did there. Actually, no, I don’t. Even if we pretend like you hadn’t already used the Texans’ name more than once earlier in your post, if you are such a great sports fan from such a great and rabid NFL town, shouldn’t you know the Texans’ name, even if those lesser fans in lesser cities do not?

Based on your title, I assumed this post was going to explain why "the Texans shouldn’t even exist." Yet, other than a dismissive half-paragraph about L.A.’s failure to get a stadium, you don’t address this at all. Instead, you ... well, let me see if I can summarize your post in one paragraph.

Redskins fans are lucky because, despite having roughly the same record and success during our common years of existence, our team is much more winning and successful than the Texans. Redskins fans are rabid and great. This one time, nine years ago, I went to a Redskins game in San Diego and there were other Redskins fans in attendance! Now, nine years later, the Chargers are going have a game blacked out. I bet they wish they were playing the Redskins so they would sell every ticket!! I have no need to actually look at the numbers or see if my argument is legit because, well … GO SKINS!

Compelling.

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