A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Cake or Death?

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I watched the movie Sneakers with my 10 and 13 year olds last Friday. Terrific movie with Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Akroyd, River Phoenix, David Straitharn, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell and James Earl Jones, among others. Fun, ensemble cast, ahead of its time, technologically, and just a darn good popcorn flick. The kids even liked it.

Anyway, at the end of the movie, with a gun pointed at Robert Redford, Ben Kingsley says, "There's a war out there old friend, and it's not about who get the guns and bullets. It's about who controls the information." As a side note, I first saw this movie almost 20 years ago, and I have remembered and quoted that line more than any other in just about any other movie. Not sure why, but it resonated with me.

Very prescient, no? From the Wiki - leaks documents to, yes, Redskins park, the war is about who controls the information. Seems to me I have heard stories about some sort of, um, disagreement between the Washington Post and Redskins Park a few years back. Because of the petty nature of human beings, the coverage from the Post started being a little too negative, so the Redskins answered with Larry Michael. :) Seems like everybody has an agenda. The Redskins want us to believe they never make mistakes, have the perfect plan in place to return us to Super Bowl prominence in the next couple of years, and Dan Snyder is actually tall. Cheap shot, sorry. :)

How refreshing would it be to have Shanahan or Haslett come out and say something to the effect of, "man, we really screwed that one up, what the hell were we thinking. We should have evaluated Haynesworth more closely and come to a different conclusion..." Never gonna happen, my little friend (check me, I'm Paul Reiser!).

Why? Is it right to expect openness and honesty from a sports franchise? We've been told for years that it is necessary to lie about the injury reports, to make sure our upcoming opponents have to scheme for players who may or may not be playing. The front office can't possibly tell us what their long term (or short term) plan is because it might tip their hand to the rest of the league. Your professional sports team HAS to shroud themselves in mystery, or they will lose some degree of competitiveness.

Is that really true?

I'm not advocating they show us their game plan before each game, or give us their draft board ahead of time. But wouldn't it be nice to hear them admit mistakes? Or have them come out and let us know why some of their moves appear to be aimed at the long term scheme of things, while others were done to help us win now. I think we as fans would understand some of that. Far too often, we fans give the benefit of the doubt to our professional sports people, assuming that because they are at the pinnacle of their profession, they must be so far superior to us, it's a wonder we can even understand them when they deign to talk to us.

You know what? They make mistakes too. They don't always know what they are doing. Sometimes, generally not pertaining to X's and O's, we may know more than they do about how to manage a personality type, how to create a better fan experience, or even how good a player is from our alma matter.

So why not rip away the shroud of secrecy? Is it an ego thing? Probably. Who wouldn't enjoy being the great and powerful Oz, shrouded in mystery? For the Redskins and specifically Mike Shanahan, the honeymoon is just about over and done with. So why not let us in on your plans a little. Heck, fake it like Gibbs did. Gibbs would talk to the fans through the media for hours without telling us much of anything. But we felt loved.

Shanahan, it's time to talk to us. Tell us what your plan is. We [U]want[/U] to believe, we really do. We want to jump on board and root like crazy. But the performance of the team, the switch to the ineffective 3-4 and the Haynesworth fiasco leave us disturbed that you may not know as much as you want us to think you know. You know?

Stop trying to over control the information. We can handle it. Really.
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