A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Cake or Death?

Friday Night Redskins

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Some movies make a ton of money because they have star power. Jack Reacher will end up doing fine at the box office because Tom Cruise is a crazy SOB, but he still draws. Big time. Other movies try to tell us that someone is a star, and bank on the audience not being able to figure out that their wannabe star isn't yet.

(Taylor Kitsch in Battleship and John Carter on Mars (or whatever the hell that was called) come to mind. Oh Tim Riggins, why are you doing this to your career?)

Problem is, there are very few bankable movie stars any more. Will Smith. Tom Cruise. Denzel. A few others maybe, but not an overflowing list. So without those bankable stars, what does Hollywood have to do?

Work on the story. Work on chemistry. Find the right cast.

You know where this is being done best right now? Television. And it's not close. In his excellent book, [URL="http://www.amazon.com/The-Revolution-Was-Televised-Slingers/dp/0615718299/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356969238&sr=8-1&keywords=sepinwall"]The Revolution was Televised[/URL], Alan Sepinwall argues that the last ten years or so of television have been a golden age where character, writing and story became more important than stars, and cites The Wire, The Shield, Mad Men, Lost and others as examples. None of his list of ten shows had a superstar leading it when their run started, yet they are now all considered to be some of the best TV shows ever produced.

(I have watched 5 of his shows in their entirity - The Wire, BTVS, FNL, Mad Men, Breaking Bad - and find it difficult to argue)

Well guess what, Redskins fans? The Redskins have made the adjustment and are catching up with TV, while leaving the Eagles and Cowboys behind at the movies. The Skins have figured it out, that character and chemistry are so much more important than talent and names.

Sure, we have Griffin, and he was highly touted coming into the league. But he had proven nothing, nothing at all. And he did more than he was supposed to, and carried the team for the first 75% of the season with some help here and there from Morris and Garcon. But these last four weeks have barely featured Griffin at all. Cousins has stepped in twice and performed great. Morris has been a revelation, more than willing and able to pick up any slack. And the offensive line, once mocked and picked apart, has played phenomenally well of late.

But you know who has really stepped up the last 7 wins? Jim Haslett. The guy everybody loves to hate in DC has put together the gameplans of his life here lately. Everyone hated Pete Campbell in Mad Men, until the 4th season when we all figured out how integral he was to the agency's success. Pete was Don Draper's whipping boy, blamed for every failure, until he started landing accounts that Don couldn't. We the fans have heaped more than enough derision and scorn on Haslett during his tenure here; let's give the guy some credit. The D has played lights out over the past two months, in large part to Haslett's schemes. Give the man his due.

And that's the point, isn't it? If the Redskins were only about Robert Griffin III alone, they wouldn't get very far. But they're MUCH more than that. They are about a bunch of (mostly) unknowns coming together and telling a GREAT story, playing WAY over their heads. Truly, the sum plays better than its parts. When you have a team like this, who knows what can happen.

My favorite show on that list is probably Friday Night Lights. If you haven't watched it, go Netflix it. I'll be expecting your thank you notes. In the first season [SPOILER ALERT], the football team rebounds from a horrible set of circumstances to rally behind their QB and coach and win it all.

That sounds about right to me.
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