I highly recommend Steve Coll's mini-screed on the New Yorker's web site right now. Like Coll, I enjoyed playing offensive line back during (briefly) the Peewee Football/Pop Warner stage of life. Unlike him, I was not a childhood fan of the Redskins -- the L.A. Rams, as then existed, had their summer training camp in my home town, and my brother and I lived for the moments when we could watch them up close and get autographs on the practice field. But you can't raise sons in DC, as my wife and I have done, without having the Redskins be the common bonding experience, topic of phone calls on Sunday afternoon, and all-purpose cultural touchstone for a lot of people in DC.
Unfortunately the Redskins of the Dan Snyder era, which is now a decade long with no sign of relief, are simply a cause of heartache, nausea, and depression. The only reason I've been able to watch this year is the stylish and stalwart Chris Cooley, who tonight apparently has been injured in the soon-to-be completed loss to the Iggles. Jeez.
Back to Steve Coll. He has won every journalistic prize, been a power at the Washington Post, now runs the New America Foundation, etc. But the words he may always be proudest of are those he's written about what has happened to the city's team:
"The issue is not the team's performance on the field, dismal as that is. It is the culture created by the owner--one of greed, expediency, and mean-spiritedness. The general atmosphere around the team suggests Zimbabwe--a failed state, an intractable dictator, and an impotent and suffering populace."