Monday, January 28, 2008

The Definitive History of the Bud Bowl

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BREAKING: Snyder tabs Skins fans as head coach(es)

ASHBURN, Va. - Dan Snyder will introduce Washington Redskins fans as the replacement for head coach Joe Gibbs at a press conference tomorrow, according to a team official who spoke on condition of anonymity. (Shh...It was Karl Swanson.) The announcement ends nearly three weeks' worth of rampant speculation and consternation about who would replace Gibbs, who retired for a second time after the Redskins' 35-14 divisional playoff loss at Seattle on Jan. 5.

A man who identified himself as Mr. Six answered the phone at Snyder's residence and said the Redskins owner was not available to comment on the report.

The team official said Snyder originally thought of the idea while playing the popular football strategy game QB1 at a bar during Washington's bye week, and that the fans remained his top candidates to replace Gibbs after the legendary coach decided to return to NASCAR following a particularly trying season. Dragging out the process, the official said, was all part of Snyder's plan to foster as much resentment as possible among the fans before springing a surprise that would trump even Gibbs' return to Washington in 2004.

Jim Fassel, Gregg Williams, et al., were more or less pawns, and all of them wanted more control than Snyder and Redskins Executive Vice President Vinny Cerrato were willing to concede, the official said. By naming the fans, who will reportedly use a QB1-like interface on to make play calls that will be relayed into new offensive coordinator Jim Zorn's headset, Snyder will drive traffic to his site up and simultaneously save upwards of $3 million that he would've otherwise spent on an NFL retread.

"I think it's really going to help Jason (Campbell) develop," one NFC assistant said. "Plays like 'Pass Left,' 'Pass Middle,' 'Pass Deep,' and 'Run Middle' are a hell of a lot easier to master than Al (Saunders') 700-page playbook. Once Jason gets a feel for the offense, I think you'll see them get a little more sophisticated, maybe throwing in some 'Pass Deep Lefts' and stuff."

The same assistant cautioned, however, that Campbell, coming off a knee injury, might not be ready for the Game Breaker right away. "If those fans get trigger happy and go for the home run on every play," he said, "it could be a long year."

Zorn would neither confirm nor deny the report, but said he would "support whomever Mr. Snyder decides to bring in here."

When self-proclaimed Redskins superfan Eric Stauffer, heard the news, he was buying eggs at a local Safeway -- "to egg Danny Boy's house," he said. "Are you serious? That's awesome," Stauffer screamed, putting down the eggs and offering an early prediction for next season. "We're going to the Super Bowl, baby! I'm totally money at that game; I kick all of my friends' (butts)."

When asked whether his friends were also Redskins fans, who, presumably, would also help make play-calling decisions, Stauffer's grin disappeared.

"Oh yeah," he said. "That's a good point. I think as long as we find a way to keep Cowboys fans from getting on there, we should be OK. We'll work that out in training camp."

10 Things You'll Never Hear Dan Snyder Say

10. Mission: Impossible 2 sucked.
9. Come on kids, let's go to King's Dominion!
8. My heart will always belong to Raljon.
7. I drafted Adam Archuleta as my IDP in my fantasy football league.
6. I'm wrong, you're right, I'm sorry.
5. Hey LaVar, this is Danny, just seeing if you wanted to watch the game from my suite.
4. I searched my guts out to find a new head coach.
3. We listened to the players.
2. We listened to the fans.
1. Vinny, I think your hands could use a break, I'm going to cancel my scheduled baby oil rubdown.

The idea for this list came from my roommate, the rare breed of UVA graduate who is never borderline insufferable.

I kid. We can only hope someone so bright is running the Redskins someday, and sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hail...Jim(m) Fassel?

I’m really trying hard to avoid making any sort of snap judgment about the expected hiring of Jim Fassel, but -- oh, screw it, I can't resist -- WHAT THE &%#@ is Dan Snyder thinking? So much for continuity. So much for a sexy hire. So much for the next few seasons? I guess we’ll see. No snap judgments.

Understatement of the day in 3…2…1: Jim Fassel, Rex Ryan, and Jim Zorn aren’t exactly the Holy Trinity of NFL coaches. You know how Chris Cooley and Chris Samuels are going to honor the late, great Sean Taylor by wearing his No. 21 at the Pro Bowl? Well if Fassel is hired, I've decided to honor Gregg Williams -- the man Snyder should hire, the man the players want Snyder to hire, and the man who will, undoubtedly, haunt the Redskins in whatever job he lands next -- by referring to him as Jimm Fassel.

But enough of the gloom and doom, which has dominated Redskins circles since Fassel emerged as the leading candidate. (Nearly half of the respondents to a Washington Post poll think the decision to hire Fassel would be "Horrible," while 2.5 percent -- thanks for stopping by, Cowboys, Eagles and Giants fans -- say it's "Great." Incidentally, "I'd rather be bludgeoned to death with an end zone pylon than see Jim Fassel in burgundy and gold" was not an option.) Let's think positively, like akers553 on
"I hope they hire Fassel so all of you people that say you will give up your season tickets will do so and I can get closer to the top of the season ticket waiting list!"

That's the spirit! Also on the bright side, the Redskins actually could do a lot slightly worse than Fassel. I mean, it’s not like Danny Boy is going to hire any of these guys. Right?

Jerry Glanville

In his first season as head coach at Portland State, the Vikings’ high-octane offense scored an impressive 30.7 points per game while the team struggled to a 3-8 record. How? PSU’s un-Gregg Williams-like defense allowed 38 points and 425 yards per game.

Art Shell

Shell was ranked No. 55 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest NFL Players, but he couldn’t coach a hypothetical team comprised of players 1-53 on that list to a winning record in the NFC West. He does, however, satisfy this list's Rooney Rule.

Norv Turner

While Gibbs 2.0 wasn’t everything Redskins fans had hoped for, Norv 2.0 would be everything they have hoped against -- and more!

Vinny Cerrato

The day that Vinny finally gets the respect – and the authority to make roster decisions – that he so rightfully deserves is the day that I adopt the Baltimore Ravens as my new hometown team.

Mike Tice

Word is that the Potomac Riverboat Company offered to pay Tice’s signing bonus if Snyder made this happen.

Lindy Infante

The former Indianapolis Colts head coach was instrumental in the development of Ken Anderson and Bernie Kosar as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati and Cleveland, respectively. With a track record like that, maybe he could turn Campbell into a mediocre QB, too.

Wayne Fontes

When Lions owner William Clay Ford fired Fontes after a disappointing 5-11 season in 1996, Fontes called Ford the “best owner in the National Football League.” You think Snyder isn't jealous of this fact?

Rich Kotite

Kotite lost 31 of his last 35 games as an NFL head coach with the Eagles and Jets, but his experience and vast knowledge of the NFC East is exactly the type of continuity the Redskins’ front office was looking for.

Assist to JScramble for help coming up with this atrocious compilation of coaches. Narrowly missing the cut: Mike Riley, Gregg Popovich (double-G continuity, see), Dave Shula, Richie Petitbon, Terry Robiskie, Steve Spurrier, Ray Handley, Marty Mornhinweg, Brian Billick.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yeahhhhhhhhh, boyeeeee!

While watching Georgetown's OT win over Syracuse on Monday, my roommate commented early in the second half that Syracuse phenom Johnny Flynn looks a bit like Flavor Flav -- minus the viking hat, of course.

Flynn then proceeded to miss his final eight shots.

It's certainly no Chris Rock-Kammron Taylor comparison, but I could see Flynn rocking a clock and gold grill. You decide.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Boom Jaws

In last week's Bog Poll, I used an aquatic theme to describe the area's 11 best least awful teams. I compared Maryland, which was coming off a 1-point loss to Virginia Tech -- and, lest you forget, had previously dropped home games to Ohio (not St.) and American -- to the Red Hind fish. In addition to sharing the same color, Maryland also seemed destined to spend the season near the bottom of the ocean floor, or the ACC standings as it were.

No doubt inspired by the unflattering comparison, the Terps, for one day, at least, shred that Red Hind label with an impressive, out-of-nowhere win over UNC in Chapel Hill.

Beware, behemoths of the ACC, the Boom Shark is loose.

Duke's next.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Boom Goes That Undefeated Season

Heel. F-ing. Yes. Well that was fun.

After watching Maryland polish off Wake Forest on Tuesday night, I told my girlfriend I'd be watching Maryland beat North Carolina on Saturday afternoon if she wanted to join me.

On Thursday, I asked her, "What are you doing on Saturday at 3:30?" Without missing a beat, she responded, "Watching Maryland beat North Carolina." She even put it in her planner.

Only an idiot or an eternal optimist thought Maryland -- an 18-point underdog against an 18-0 team on the road -- had much of a chance against the Tar Heels. I'm a little bit of both.

When UNC alum Antawn Jamison was asked about his thoughts on the game following the Wizards' win over the Knicks on Friday night, he broke into a huge grin and said, "I'm smiling; tomorrow's going to be an easy one."

Not so much. Five minutes into the game, it was clear North Carolina wouldn't mop the floor with Greivis Vasquez's facial hair and cruise to another 30-plus point win -- a moral victory of sorts for the Terps. Still, Vasquez was making careless decisions with the ball, James Gist was taking ill-advised 3-pointers (who the hell does he think he is, Oleksiy Pecherov?), and one couldn't help but think that the Terps' six-point halftime lead should've -- and this is ludicrous to type -- been even greater.

But Vasquez settled down in the second half, Gist did his thing inside, Boom Osby continued to play like a beast, and Maryland got major contributions from Landon Milbourne, Cliff Tucker and Eric Hayes, who returned from an ankle injury to drain two huge threes. Had Tyler Hansbrough made that game-winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer, Maryland still would've left Chapel Hill with the confidence that it could play with any team in the country. Instead, with Gary Williams' seventh win over a No. 1 team, they left with that confidence and more, including a push closer to the outer fringes of the NCAA tournament bubble.

My girlfriend and I both enjoyed the shots of UNC coeds crying afterward. "All of them have bad skin," she told me. Ouch.

Vasquez's post-game interview with Steve Lavin was classic, especially the part when he wanted people to know that, while at times it seems he wants to do everything himself (No, it never seems like that, Greivis!) , it's not about him, it's about the team, it's about Maryland men's basketball.


This Could Get Ugly

Maryland visits Chapel Hill today looking to knock off top-ranked and undefeated UNC. The Tar Heels are all kinds of ridiculous at home, scoring 98 points per game, shooting over 50 percent from the floor, and pummeling opponents by an average of more than 30 points. Maryland, meanwhile, has pretty much sucked all year no matter where they play, and starting point guard Eric Hayes is expected to miss his fourth consecutive game. No big deal. I think the over/under on Greivis Vasquez's turnover total in this game is hovering somewhere around 14.

Still, I'm giving MD a shot. Remember 1995...

Selected Highlights:

- Rasheed Wallace's white spot (1:11)
- The "Wave hat" in the background -- I think this was the official NFL sideline hat in 1994 (1:18)
- Dante Calabria sucking (throughout)
- Dean Smith signaling "No mas" (2:18)
- Johnny Rhodes popping his jersey -- this was stupid even back then (3:01)
- Euphoric Guy (3:05)
- Red pom-poms(3:12)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What now?

How do you replace a legend?
A: Not with Richie Petitbon.

As the second search in the last 15 years for Joe Gibbs' replacement begins, the early list of candidates includes Redskin assistant coaches Gregg Williams and Al Saunders, and former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. While he has denied he is interested in getting back into coaching, Cowher is the most intriguing potential replacement outside of Nick Saban (would you really be surprised?), Steve Sabol (nobody's better at breaking down film), and Terry Robiskie (he could hire his son as the new Wide Receivers Coach).

JScramble and I would like to see someone else get a look. He's a man who represents the Redskins' glory years as well as anyone; a man who has the coaching skills and experience to build on Gibbs' success; a man who values the running game; a man who, according to Mark May, loves beer; a man who, presumably, knows the rule about calling back-to-back timeouts.

Hogs and Hogettes, Russ Grimm.

Grimm coached with the Redskins after winning three Super Bowls in Washington and studied under some of the game's brightest minds. He played for and coached alongside Gibbs and was a candidate for the head coaching position in Chicago before moving on to Pittsburgh, where he won another Super Bowl as Cowher's assistant head coach/offensive line.

Grimm was considered a candidate to replace Cowher, but when Mike Tomlin was hired, he headed to Arizona with fellow former Steelers assistant Ken Whisenhunt. When asked whether it would be weird coaching alongside a man with whom he competed for the Steelers' and Cardinals' head coaching jobs, Grimm said, "I don't mind riding shotgun."

It's the perfect time for the Redskins to put the former Hog in the driver's seat.

Say It Ain't So, Joe

"WASHINGTON -- Joe Gibbs will resign as coach and team president of the Washington Redskins, the Associated Press has learned."

While Gibbs' noncommittal press conference yesterday was a little strange, this is still pretty surprising news. Perhaps the emotional drain of what Gibbs called his most trying season took its toll on the greatest head coach in Redskins history. An explanation will likely come later today.

As critical as I was of Gibbs this season with respect to his poor clock management and baffling decisions, I respect and admire the way he held the team together in the wake of Sean Taylor's death. That remarkable feat, along with his final Super Bowl season, will be my lasting memory of Gibbs, not the back-to-back timeouts he called at the end of a gut-wrenching loss to Buffalo this year.

I'll remember the boundless optimism most Redskins fans felt when Gibbs announced he was returning to coaching in 2004, injecting new life into a franchise that needed it, and the conversation I had with Gibbs' son Coy for an article I wrote while in college shortly thereafter.

During the 1991 season, when the Redskins went 14-2, my uncle flew Gibbs from Virginia to North Carolina. Not much of a football fan, he raved about what a great guy Gibbs was and had him sign a plush Redskins football for me. I was 8 at the time, so imagine my excitement when my uncle handed me a ball that read, "To Scott, a super Skins fan. Thanks! Joe Gibbs."

Thank you, Joe. Best of luck in your life post-football.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Original Six

Ever wonder what happened to the Original Six American Gladiators? Find out on

Then, take a trip down memory lane, to a simpler time when competitors could run up the Travelator with relative ease and, uh, actually stay on the hand bike for more than two revolutions.

Bog Poll, Thanbauk Style

Atlantic 11 Bog Poll Pithmaster Bill Fitzgerald submitted some outstanding haiku and limericks with two of his most recent ballots, raising the proverbial bar for future pith. Like most of the local hoops teams that make up the poll, I have fallen woefully short of any such measure of success with my latest ballot -- in lovely Thanbauk form. It's fitting, really: Crappy and forgettable poetry for crappy and forgettable teams.

This week's full Week 8 Bog Poll -- and other goodness -- can be found here.

Oh, and if you're wondering why there's a photo of Jack Cust accompanying this post, well I guess you'll just have to read on. Sucker.

1. Georgetown

Hoyas down Knights;

Set their sights on

new heights – UConn.

2. George Mason

Pats jump to two;

Almost blew lead,

but phew, hung on.

3. Virginia

Where is the D?

Don’t ask me, dude

For three…it’s good!

4. VCU

Rebound from loss,

Maynor is boss, league

is toss-up, fool.

5. James Madison

Dukes fall to Pride;

Run and hide, as

this ride is stalled.


Dogs in ’08;

Looking great for

a date in Dance?

7. Virginia Tech

In wake of bust,

Hokies must win;

Jack Cust did ’roids.

8. Maryland

So hot right now;

Gary’s vow: Terps

will wow in March.

9. Richmond

Spiders surprise,

On the rise for

now; sky’s limit.

10. Old Dominion

Monarchs fade fast

in the past month;

near last in poll.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Playoff Prediction Haiku: NFC Wild Card Games

Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks

Amazing Collins
Throws all day against Seahawks
Redskins silence Qwest 12th Man

Redskins 28, Seahawks 17

New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Manning really sucks
Bucs' division even worse
Tiki Barber gloats

Giants 20, Buccaneers 17

Friday, January 4, 2008

Fun With Paint

No disrespect to Nate Robinson -- the Seattle Times' cartoonist, not the pint-sized dunking machine -- as I think his work is Todd Collinsesque, which is to say da domb diggity. Robinson's original cartoon, which I, uh, touched up using my mad Paint skillz, can be found here.

Go Skins!