Category Archives: Best of WWN

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jordan-zimmermann-nohitter

Jordan Zimmermann throws first DC no-hitter since 1931 in Nats final regular season game

Monday is the 10th anniversary of the announcement that baseball was returning to D.C. What happened on Sunday morning might be one of top three highlights of that decade — Jordan Zimmermann pitching a no-hitter for the Washington Nationals:

103 pitches, 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 runner advanced to first on a wild-pitch strike three and then got promptly picked off. Here is the final out, a diving catch by defensive replacement, LF Steven Souza, Jr., as told by four different broadcasters:

That’s a really good call by Bob Carpenter. It was thrilling to watch.

Zimmermann recorded just the third 9-inning no-hitter in D.C. history. Other no hitters (as seen on Washington D.C. Baseball History Facebook group):

Walter Johnson – July 1, 1920 / 9 innings
Walter Johnson – August 25, 1924 / 7 innings, game was called due to rain.
Bobby Burke – August 8, 1931 / 9 innings
Jordan Zimmermann – September 28, 2014 / 9 innings

Ian Desmond hit a second inning homer and that was all Zimmermann needed for run support.

A great game deserves a great gamer:

Thomas Boswell finally saw a no-hitter:

The only two moments that compare to this — Ryan Zimmerman’s Nationals Park Opening Night Walkoff in 2008 and Jayson Werth’s Game 4 walkoff in 2012.

So far.

This was an exclamation point to a 96-win season with home field advantage in the NL playoffs. Zimmermann’s performance gives Nats fans a roaring crescendo to the regular season. The tension of the playoffs can wait for several days as it will surely happen, particularly when the opponent is determined by the NL Wild Card play-in game.

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REDUCE SPEED: These neon signs used to be all over the New Jersey Turnpike. Photo by Ian Ligget.

REDUCE SPEED: Vintage neon NJ Turnpike sign for sale on ebay

Can somebody please buy, ship and store this outstanding New Jersey Turnpike neon sign for me? It’s only $2,000! You can drop it off with me when I get a house. A really big one, apparently.

In 2013, I mentioned the coming end of NJ Turnpike exceptionalism when it comes to signs. The Turnpike Authority has begun modernizing (note: I did not say “upgrade”) highway signs to comply with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Though not necessarily directly related, the neon “REDUCE SPEED” signs that have been on the Turnpike since time immemorial are being removed in favor of modern LED signs.

I have been wondering what will happen to all of these classic neon signs. I hope that some are saved for museums. Maybe I’ll tweet at them to buy this one, though on second thought the Turnpike ought to donate one. There probably ought to be one or two at a service plaza on the Turnpike itself.

The sign itself probably weighs at least a ton and it has to be picked up. This isn’t a really good time for me to do that logistically or financially. So, a little help?

Failing the acquisition of this neon sign, I’d be okay with a Turnpike trailblazer. A Garden State Parkway, Capital Beltway and even a Pennsylvania Turnpike sign while you are at it.

Photos © Ian Ligget

h/t Steve Anderson

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W&OD Trail clinched…again!

w-od-clinched
Eight years after I did it the first time, I rode the length of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail from Purcellville (Loudoun County) to Shirlington (Arlington County). This time, I rode solo though my brother contributed with a ride out to the western terminus.

20131110_101651

Riding the length of the W&OD Trail is enjoyable because just about every part of Northern Virginia is seen from a bicycle seat. There are the old towns of Purcellville and Leesburg. In the west, there are still working farms, whereas in Ashburn, there is sprawl on what were farms until about 25 years ago, maybe less. The old Partlow Bros. general store there has been turned into an excellent barbecue place and retains the old charm. Before even reaching Ashburn is the Luck Stone quarry with an overlook. In several areas adjacent to the trail are auto repair shops, just about the closest that we get to light industry in Northern Virginia. The practice bubble of Redskins Park stands out from a countryside awaiting its own sprawl. Sterling has its own sprawl from the 1960s and 1970s while Herndon seems almost quaint, particularly in the center with its restored rail station and caboose. Reston, one of the original planned communities, now has highrises and a skyline. Between Reston and Vienna, an area I spent a lot of time riding through as a kid, the earlier sprawl has grown in as it has in Vienna. My hometown also has a caboose and a restored rail station and a block away from the trail, the Vienna Inn. East of Vienna, the Capital Beltway (I-495) and I-66 are crossed with the latter bisecting the last significant hill of the ride. Falls Church, “the little city” has a little of the light industrial feel, but is mostly suburban, while aside from some on-street portions entering Arlington County much of the rest of the ride is through Four Mile Run Park which also has a caboose at Bluemont Jct. The last mile or so parallels Four Mile Run Drive which has apartments on one side, more “light industry” and high rises a few miles away, before terminating in Shirlington across from Weenie Beenie (closed Sunday).

20131110_114512

I could not specifically say how much has changed since the last time I made the trek, but there are so many grade separated crossings now that stops are relatively few. There are several stations for water and air too. I wasn’t stopping unless I had too, but there are numerous displays about the old railroad and the history that happened along it through the ride.

BEFORE AND AFTER

20131110_10123120131110_144332

SOME STATS

Distance: 44.9652 miles

Time: 4:21 total, 3:27 actually bicycling

Calories burned: 6,291

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WMATA’s new Metro map with Silver Line released

With new Metro map, agency tries to market Silver LineThe Post
The new Silver Line, currently expected to open in early 2014, requires a new Metro system map. In order to accommodate the line that will serve the Dulles Corridor, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority brought back original designer, Laynce Wyman to figure to create an updated map. An initial version debuted in 2012 in conjunction with Rush Plus.

The new map (with annotations from The Post) keeps the basic design that dates back to the 1970s. There are several differences:

  • The Metro lines are not as wide
  • For the Blue-Orange-Silver portion, there are little white prongs attached to the station circle
  • Abbreviations are also being used for station names — i.e. Morgan Boulevard is now Morgan Blvd

One change that isn’t mentioned is that the line colors are different shades than what was used for about three decades. This change actually occurred within the last couple of years as the proposed Silver Line started appearing on maps.

I decided to go back and find an older Metro map* and compare it with the current edition.

WMATA MAPS PRESENT & PAST

NEW


OLD

maps not to scale

Using graphics software, I grabbed the hex/RGB numbers of each line’s color, past and present and put them together in this table:

WMATA SPECTRUM PRESENT & PAST
LINE NEW COLOR NEW HEX/RGB OLD COLOR OLD HEX/RGB
BLUE #0795d3
198-97-83
  #015593
1-85-147
RED   #be1337
190-19-55
  #e7312e
239-49-46
ORANGE   #da8707
218-135-7
  #f86e33
248-110-51
YELLOW   #f5d415
245-212-21
  #fbd731
251-215-49
GREEN   #00b050
0-176-80
  #00733a
0-115-8
SILVER   #a2a4a1
162-164-161
N/A N/A

I’m not sure that these color changes needed to be made, particularly the Orange Line which is pretty dull now. The Yellow Line seems the least changed.

As for the Silver Line itself:

Now, Metro has turned its focus to what its chief marketer calls “raising awareness” of the new, $6 billion rail line that eventually will run to Dulles International Airport and parts of Loudoun County.

Research among focus groups and from surveys conducted this year showed that only 45 to 55 percent of riders in the Washington region are aware of the rail addition, Metro said.

That leaves some transportation and land-use experts skeptical of whether — and when — the Silver Line will meet its ridership expectations. As one of the country’s most expensive transportation projects underway, the Silver Line is seen as an important test of whether drivers will abandon their cars and ride a transit line.

The Silver Line extension being built from East Falls Church will be 23 miles long when completed. The first phase is 11 miles and includes four new stations in Tysons Corner and one in Reston. Construction of the second phase, which will run to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, is expected to start in mid-2014.

I would like to know more about the survey — which riders are most aware or unaware of the Silver Line. If they are Red Line riders, that’s probably not too big a deal. If they are Orange Line riders in Arlington, we’ll that’s a different story.

I still wish WMATA had gone with a letter/number suffix naming convention.

On a lighter note, I think I’ll wait until the Silver Line is completed to Loudoun County before I order a Metro map shower curtain (We Love DC).

*Finding an old Metro map was harder than I expected. The small one I found turned out to be from Hardball Talk of all things, from last season when the Washington Nationals in a typical tone-deaf move, argued about keeping Metro open in case of late-games.

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30 years ago: Huge Redskins-Cowboys Monday Night Opener

One of the great Monday Night Football games happened thirty years ago tonight at RFK Stadium. The Washington Redskins were beginning their title defense after winning Super Bowl XVII. Their opponent was the hated Dallas Cowboys, looking to avenge their NFC Championship humiliation from the previous January. It was one of the first games I can remember. The whole game is on youtube, so I thought I’d watch it again.

A lot happened that night, both in the game and on the telecast.

WEATHER
90° on the field, 70% humidity in the air

NATIONAL ANTHEM
“Princess Pale Moon, an authentic Indian princess will render the anthem”

HOWARD COSELL, JAKE GIBBS AND THAT LITTLE MONKEY
1983 was the final year Howard Cosell was on Monday Night Football.

Cosell talks up the Cowboys more than the Redskins who were merely the defending champs

There was some sort of international crisis (Lebanon bombing I think, Cossell doesn’t say)

“Jake Gibbs” several times before being corrected.

Around 30:30 Completion to Alvin Garrett on first down…

Cosell: “Jake Gibbs really wanted to get this kid and that little monkey gets loose.”

Don Meredith: It’s actually JOE GIBBS, Jake was the other kid who was a great quarterback.

At 1:25:25 Cosell: starts defending the “little monkey” remark. ”

“A couple of AP reporters apparently going to our truck…I’ll pick up in moment. ”

(play by play continues)

“Let me pick up, according to the reporters, they were told I called Alvin Garrett a little monkey. Nothing of the sort and you fellas know it. No man respects Alvin Garrett more than I do, I talked about that man’s ability to be so elusive despite the smallness of size.”

Cosell would say “Jake Gibbs” again later in the telecast.


Camera shows Dave Butz

“He’s 800 lbs and 17 feet tall”

“Our new anchor, Peter Jennings”

Fascinating – All-time Dolphins backup QB Don Strock apparently held out, Dan Marino’s rookie year.

FRANK GIFFORD
Gifford doing the play-by-play and doing it well, though he kept saying “Rich Walker” instead of Rick Walker.

“Joe Theismann, who will have a word with you…”

“a little quieter in the teepee at the moment” – after White’s second bomb to Tony Hill to make it 23-17, Washington 1:38:14

DON MEREDITH
“Don’t worry Good Time Tommy” – as camera shows Tom Landry after John Riggins scores touchdown on fourth down in the late first quarter.

“Dallas goes into their infamous Flex defense”

After Danny White’s 76 yard touchdown pass to Tony Hill to open the second half: “I’d about decided that since Tom wouldn’t let them dance in the end zone, they wouldn’t go there any more”

SPONSORED BY
Wang! Eastern Airlines!

INTRODUCING DARRELL GREEN
At about 20:40 they talk about “little Darrell Green” getting roughed up by the Miami Dolphins in preseason. At 39:00, Tony Dorsett busts through the line, but you can watch it here:

Dorsett had to ice his knee afterward and the Cowboys settled for a field goal.

HALFTIME
Right before half-time, after Skins go up 23-3.

Cosell: when have you seen the Dallas Cowboys appear in such disarray?

Meredith: Last time they were here

22+ minutes of possession for the Skins in the first half

2ND HALF – DANNY WHITE’S REVENGE
The Dallas quarterback, who was famously knocked out in the previous NFC Championship game started off the first quarter with -10 passing yards in the first half.

3 touchdown passes, 1 touchdown run in the second. His United Way commercial got edited out of this video though.

At 1:59:05 (9:25 left in the game) Mark Mosely, who went 20 of 21 in 1982, missed a 31 yard field goal after a Don Warren catch and first down was called back for offensive pass interference.

At 2:05:38 White converts on 4th and inches on a QB sneak with about 4:55 left in the game. He then fumbled the next snap, but recovered.

Shortly there after, at 2:06:45, a shot of Riggins with a towel on his face – “think Big John Riggins just dozing off there a little?” – Gifford. Meredith and Cosell disagree.

At 2:08:33, White runs a keeper on the right side to put the Cowboys up for the first time all night. 24-23, Dallas. 2:25 on the game clock.

At 2:11:35, Theismann gets picked off by Fellows who takes it back to the 4.

At 2:14:08: Meredith: “It’s just been a good night, you want to get it off, start it off on a good positive note.

Cosell: Boy have you changed, you were enjoying their demise before.

Meredith: You were incorrect. Once again.

At 2:14:55 White throws another touchdown, this time to Doug Cosbie. Meredith: “That may have tied a long-standing record of Eddie LeBaron, he threw a 12 inch touchdown pass here in Washington.” Dallas 31 WASHINGTON 23.

At 2:15:18 a great “WELCOME HOME, JOE – VIENNA LOVES ITS REDSKINS – HIGH FIVE FUN BUNCH” banner in the end zone. Vienna did, Vienna does.

At 2:16:22 Mike Nelms with a great return, only to the 26, but he really fought to get an extra five yards. He was simply an outstanding kick returner.

At 2:17:21 reminds us that this rebroadcast “without the express written consent of the National Football League is a no-no.” Sorry, Don.

At 2:18:20 – cheerleaders with bad 1980s hairstyles.

At 2:18:30 – Cowboys fans holding a banner. Commentators note they waited to pull it out.

At 2:18:50 – DEXTER MANLEY MOHAWK!

Meredith sings “turn out the lights, the party’s over” at 2:22:25. Gifford talks over him. Gifford “you make Willie Nelson sound like Perry Como.”

Don Warren touchdown catch, despite Everson Walls interferance at 2:24:24. Ten seconds left in the game, no two-point conversion available. PAT is good. Dallas 31, WASHINGTON 30.

Dallas recovers the onside kick at 2:27:28. Dennis Thurman, burned earlier in the game, recovered the onside kick. Game over.

SARTORIAL SPLENDOR
The Redskins were in their traditional white over burgundy of the Gibbs eras. Joe Washington looking great with black shoes. They really need to start wearing burgundy pants with the white jerseys again.

The Cowboys were in their bad luck blues over true silver pants with the numbers on them. The captain’s “C” that Danny White, Drew Person, Bob Breuning and Ron Fellows wore was mentioned around 1:35:20. Meredith noted, “It’s amazing what the get tough rules mean down there – democracy is moving in.”

GINA CARANO’S DADDY
If you are like me, I’m sure you saw Glenn Carano holding for placekicks and thought that someday his daughter would be something called a mixed martial arts fighter.

Carano got leveled by a diving Darrell Green trying to block the kick. Green was injured and penalized.

SELLOUT STREAK
123

THE GOOD OLD DAYS BEFORE RESTRICTED AIRSPACE
A Goodyear blimp, Enterprise, was overhead for the game. Back then, blimps used Dulles Airport as their base of operations when they were in the D.C. area. Flying out to Dulles took it right over our house in Vienna. After the game, I remember hearing it and it was SO LOUD for about 10 minutes. My father got up, walked out the front door and looked up. “All I saw was blimp” he said. I wished I had at least gotten out of bed and looked out my window. He wished he had taken a photograph and send a letter to Goodyear, hoping to leverage a ride out of it. Oops.

EPILOGUE
On Channel 9, Mike Buchanan covered the loss like it was death.

The Cowboys rolled to a 7-0 start on the way to 12-2. The Redskins lost another one-point Monday Night game, 48-47 at the Green Bay Packers, the highest scoring Monday Night game ever. In week 15, they met in Texas Stadium as the Redskins dominated the Cowboys 31-10 in what is remember as the “no, Danny, no!” game. The Cowboys then lost their next two games, including a home Wild Card game to the Los Angeles Rams. A week later, the Rams went into RFK and got dominated by the Skins 51-7, setting up an NFC Championship game between the Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. The Skins overcame 4 missed Mark Mosely field goals and a furious 49er rally to advance to their second consecutive Super Bowl. The less said about that game the better.

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DC tied for 14th in 2013 Uni Watch Power Rankings

For the second year in a row, Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch and ESPN has put together another Power Rankings of team uniforms from the MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA.

One was fun. So we figured twice would be nice.

Consider that your welcome to the second annual Uni Watch Power Rankings. In case you missed last year’s edition, the concept behind the Power Rankings is simple: We’re assessing and ranking the uniform sets for each of the 122 teams in the “Big Four” pro sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. Last year’s debut installment of the Power Rankings was a big hit, so we’ve decided to do it again.

Last year I compiled a simple spreadsheet of all the cities with 3 or more teams, adding up the Uni Watch Power Rankings and seeing how the Washington, D.C. teams did: How Washington D.C. teams did in the 2012 Uni Watch Power Rankings, coming in 13th. This year, Lukas changed the methodology, ranking each sport individually rather than all 122 teams against each other. In doing so, D.C. dropped a ranking, to 14th overall, tied with Minnesota’s Twin Cities:

.

City MLB NFL NHL NBA AVG

.

1 Pittsburgh 11 (Pirates) 4 (Pittsburgh) 7 (Penguins) 7.33

.

2 Chicago 15 (White Sox), 3 (Cubs) 1 (Bears) 8 (Blackhawks) 10 (Bulls) 7.4

.

3 San Francisco Bay Area 13 (Giants), 3 (Athletics) 6 (49ers), 2 (Raiders) 19 (Sharks) 5 (Warriors) 8

.

4 Boston 16 (Red Sox) 14 (Patriots) 2 (Bruins) 1 (Celtics) 8.25

.

5 Philadelphia 4 (Phillies) 10 (Eagles) 5 (Flyers) 15 (76ers) 8.5

.

6 Toronto 8 (Blue Jays) 6 (Maple Leafs) 21 (Raptors) 11.67

.

7 New York/New Jersey 14 (Mets), 7 (Yankees) 12 (Jets), 15 (Giants) 11 (Devils), 15 (Islanders), 4 (Rangers) 16 (Knickerbockers), 13 (Nets) 11.8

.

8 Detroit 6 (Tigers) 27 (Lions) 5 (Red Wings) 12 (Pistons) 12.5

.

9 Los Angeles/Anaheim 12 (Angels), 5 (Dodgers) 30 (Kings), 17 (Ducks) 26 (Clippers), 2 Lakers 15.33

.

10 Dallas 21 (Rangers) 7 (Cowboys) 12 (Stars) 25 (Mavericks) 16.25

.

11 St. Louis 1 (Cardinals) 21 (Rams) 27 (Blues) 16.33

.

12 Miami 29 (Marlins) 18 (Dolphins) 13 (Panthers) 6 (Heat) 16.5

.

13 Tampa Bay 18 (Rays) 11 (Buccaneers) 23 (Lightning) 17.33

.

14 Washington 26 (Nationals) 19 (Redskins) 28 (Capitals) 7 (Wizards) 20

.

Twin Cities 24 (Twins) 17 (Vikings) 10 (Wild) 29 (Timeberwolves) 20

.

15 Houston 23 (Astros) 23 (Texans) 19 (Rockets) 21.67

.

Atlanta 17 (Braves) 28 (Falcons) 20 (Hawks) 21.67

.

16 Phoenix 27 (Diamondbacks) 29 (Cardinals) 21 (Coyotes) 11 (Suns) 22

.

17 Cleveland 28 (Indians) 16 (Browns) 24 (Cavaliers) 22.67

.

18 Denver 22 (Rockies) 23 (Broncos) 29 (Avalanche) 17 (Nuggets) 22.75

DC would come in 9th amongst 4 or more teams.

Pittsburgh was first and Denver was last in both rankings.

There is functionality on the Power Rankings that allows users to rank each league and I’ll do that separately. I have to believe that the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals and Wizards come in higher than 14th though and certainly better than the Twin Cities. I know the Nats have better uniforms than Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers and the Redskins certainly look sharper than than the Philadelphia Eagles. The Caps are superior sartorially than the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild or Vancouver Canucks. I’ll “prove” it soon.

Lukas will be chatting tomorrow, so tell him he’s wrong, not me.

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Challenges to Redskins nickname growing

Opposition to the name “Redskins” is building momentum in the last several months. A conference today at the National Museum of the American Indian Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports is getting a lot of attention. The Redskins nickname has been the subject of many recent columns. At the very least, that was enough to get name-change proponent Paul Lukas down here — we got a UniWatch happy hour out of it.

Here are my positions:

  • Redskins is historically a slur
  • Redskins probably means “Washington D.C. football team” to many if not most Americans on first reference
  • I don’t feel strongly about the name
  • Change is inevitable, though probably not imminent
  • Either way, a lot of people are going to be angry

I think the best case scenario is for owner Dan Snyder to figure out a strategy for changing the name and do it on terms that are most acceptable to the most amount of people. Involving prominent members of the team’s past and present would be critical to help with acceptance of the change — I nominate Bobby Mitchell, Joe Gibbs and Robert Griffin III.


ABC A – Always B – Be C – CHANGING

D.C. teams have changed names several times already. Before coming here, the Redskins were originally the Boston Braves, just like the old National League team. Then, when they moved to Fenway Park, they became the Redskins.

The Wizards were originally the Bullets, a name traced back to Baltimore, where they started out. They were Capital Bullets for their first season at the Capital Centre.

In baseball, the Nationals and Senators were used interchangeably to the point people weren’t even sure which one was the actual name! Charlie Brotman made it Senators officially in the mid-1950s. Then the team moved, but the expansion team that showed up the very next season kept the name. When baseball returned, Nationals was selected because D.C. didn’t have Senators.

The Washington Capitals have always been the Capitals though.

D.C. United has always been the MLS team’s name, but previous professional soccer teams were known as the Darts and Diplomats.

NEW NAMES!
Okay, so a new name needs to be decided, let’s have some fun with it…

Bullies
– Name it after the people who won’t shut up about the name? Hey now!

Bureaucrats – George Will does like to point out that football contains violence punctuated by committee meetings…

Burgundies – One of the two colors the team has claimed. There would be a lot of Anchorman jokes though, plus rival fans mocking the name because D.C. fans would rather drink a nice burgundy in the parking lot rather than a mass-produced light beer or something like fans from REEL FOOTBAW TOWNZ. Plus, the jerseys haven’t really been burgundy since 1960s.

Capitalsauruses, Capitalsauri? – Sounds too much like the hockey team and a dinosaur has been kind of cheesy in Toronto where the Raptors are an NBA team. Learn more about the Capitalsaurus on Ghosts of DC

Defenders – King of generic and sure to be ironic when DeAngelo Hall gets burnt in coverage.

Dukes – Some guy named Edward Kennedy Ellington was born in the District and he played the piano pretty well I’m told.

Federals – While the “Feds” doesn’t sound too bad, D.C.’s USFL team used that name and nobody looks back on them fondly. Almost nobody. (More to come on that)

Hogs – Named after the 1980s offensive line. Only one syllable which would mess up the meter of “Hail to the…” Maybe Red Hogs? They’d need to buy the HogsHaven logo.

Pigskins – winner of the CityPaper contest. Not bad, keeps the “skins” in D.C. and there is the connection to the “Hogs” but I’m not sure Joe Jacoby, George Starke, et al. like the idea of being skinned. Russ Grimm — maybe.

Red Arrows – Name may soon be available (The Mirror) apparently

RedBullets – Fix two nickname problems at once!

Red Lines – Exclusionary as it leaves out other Metro lines. Also, slow, old and broken down not the image one wants to project.

Red Tape – Too easy

Senators – was used in a multiple baseball incarnations, not used again because D.C. doesn’t have its own senators. Or technically, a professional football team in its borders.

Warriors – Pretty generic — really just a tougher sounding Wizards. The franchise already has “WASHINGTON WARRIORS” trademarked.

Werewolves – I’m seeing this suggested on Twitter, player video intros might be kind of fun

Wonks
– Yay, alliteration

Lastly…

Redskins – Put a potato on the helmet! That was Tony Kornheiser’s idea. I think it’d be epic trolling too, but “spuds on the warparth” isn’t real exciting, is it?

Also, have you seen Mike Shanahan when he’s arguing a call?

In the end, I’d probably go with “Red Hogs.” Changing the team nickname to be based on offensive linemen is fairly respectable in my book.

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