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Living in Missouri

Show me.

Historians attribute Missouri’s 'Show Me’ moniker to U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903. While a member of the U.S. House Committee on Naval Affairs, Vandiver attended an 1899 naval banquet in Philadelphia. In a speech there, he declared, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.

No, really…

Show me.

Myself? I come from a state that raised me on a winning football franchise, NFC East dominance, consistent smackdowns of enemies we called Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles, and Super Bowl wins. No amount of fancy PR fluff, message board homerism, Bruce Allen tailgate handshakes, Popeye’s Chicken ('Love that chicken from Popeye’s!’), or scoreboard exhortations to 'Make some NOISE!!!’ will convince or satisfy me. I am a Washington Redskins fan from Virginia. You have got to show me.

Come on Redskins. It’s time to show me something.

Like that co-dependent enabler of a Mom or Dad on 'Intervention’, I’ve spent years watching my chain-smoking, vodka-swilling, crack-addicted, money-stealing loved one abuse my kindness, charity, and devotion. Oh sure, once every couple of years, they’ll tell me how sorry they are for it all. They’ll promise they’ll do better. They’ll start hanging around a better class of people, make a few new friends, get a job, and promise 'this time, it’s going to be different’. And you so want to believe them - because you love them, and because believing is sort of part of the point of loving something so much. Logically, you know you should’ve hidden your wallet, changed the locks, and thrown their ass to the curb years ago, but you know you’ll never do it.

That’s a pretty good description of my Redskin’s fandom.

This time – things really need to be different. Scot 'McLovin’ McCloughan has arrived, and word on the street is, no one does an intervention like he does. He’s seen hard luck cases before. He’s stared 'it can’t be done’ in the face and proven the naysayer’s wrong. He’s waded into haplessness, dysfunction, and despair, and come out the other side of it smelling like roses. And he’s done it more than once.

If anyone can do it in D.C. – it’s McLovin – right?

Tell me I’m right. No – better yet…

Show me.

The rosy-cheeked one is less than 6 months into his tenure as Redskins GM, but already there are positive signs. 'Rebuilding’ is no longer anathema or some dirty word – it’s the mission. So massive has the roster revamp been, Redskins fans will literally need a lineup sheet on opening day just to figure out who the hell they are applauding after a big play. Draft picks are gold again. The barely visible outlines of a strategy and team identity are beginning to take shape. A language of winners is being learned throughout the organization. Words like 'toughness’, 'character guy’, 'high motor’, 'motivated’, 'leader’, 'physical’ – words that describe who we are becoming and who we want to be, are becoming part of the Redskins daily lexicon. Football guys are in, meddling owners and glad-handing team politicians may not be out, but are at a safe arm’s distance while the big boys figure it all out.

The culture change appears to go all the way up and down the organization. Coaches better produce – or they’ll be out too. Jay Gruden will, despite a miserable inaugural season, get a fair shake. But another dismal soul-sucking season like 2014 will likely be his last. He’ll be expected to lead his team to steady, notable improvement on the field. If he proves not up to that task… Coaches that couldn’t get it done in previous years are no longer in D.C. Accountability for success is finally part of the annual coaching performance appraisals at Redskins Park. Player turnover is nearly rivaled by coaching changes. The new staff is an interesting mix of unproven castoffs from other NFL squads, and wily vets with years of success in their roles. Whether Joe Barry, Perry Fewell, Robb Akey, Bill Callahan, Matt Cavanaugh, and numerous other new assistants are the beginning of a Redskin’s coaching renaissance or another list of dungeon masters in a continuing dark age, only time will tell. But clearly, change has been embraced with no apparent reluctance to make more changes if necessary.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me just about every offseason over a 20 year stretch of disappointment – well, that’s just a damn shame for all of us. I like what I see from McLovin. I like what I am hearing coming out of Ashburn, Virginia. I like the moves we are making. I like that McCloughan and company appear to eschew 'conventional wisdom’ and are making the decisions they think are the correct ones for the future of our Redskins. Drafting an O-Lineman at #5 when most were screaming for a sexy pass rusher, extending a supposed franchise-killing QB bust to give him another year to prove himself, cutting a beloved fan favorite – I don’t know if these will prove to have been the right decisions, but I like that we are decisively making them, whether they are popular or hailed by the 'experts’ as great decisions or not.

I like a lot of it.

But this is my drug-addicted loved one we’re talking about. No matter how much love I feel, and how much I want to believe things have changed, deep down I’m a beaten down, cynical skeptic who knows I can’t really believe a word you say.

Show me. For God’s sake, if you ever loved me, even just a little, when you take the field this September Redskins…

You have got to show me.

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