****** As Published in RVA Mag ******
X-Mas has come early, R-Words fans. We typically have to wait until January for the off-season, the real football season for the R-Words, to start. This year, the off-season is in full swing as R-Words fans are adorning their X-Mas trees with X-Mas lights. Washington fans everywhere are waking up from hibernation, their cryogenic sleep that all other NFL teams call “the regular season.” They’re waking up debating about who should start at quarterback in 2015. They’re googling free agent lists to see who the R-Words should overspend for. They’re purchasing ESPN insider accounts to watch Todd McShay be insecure and try to talk over his idol, Mel Kiper Jr., about who the R-Words should draft in the top-5. You shouldn’t have, R-Words.
And get this: there are still three games left. What’s a game, you ask? It’s when the R-Words line up 11 players against another NFL team and practice against them. Don’t worry yourself about that little box in the top left of your screen. This “score” the announcers are always yapping about isn’t important, as any R-Words player will tell you. “But who’s keeping score?” is a common joke along the Washington sideline. During these games, R-Words fans get to watch all the players they argue about in the off-season. Instead of just arguing about who would win in a fight: Superman or Hulk, imagine they both came to you and said, “we’d like to settle this by fighting in front of you.” Should the R-Words overpay for a safety in free agency, or is 2012 4th round pick, Phillip Thomas, going to be worth starting in 2015? No problem, says the benevolent R-Words, I can cue that up for you. Who should I hate: rookie head coach, Jay Gruden, or light of my life, Robert Griffin III? Grab a bowl of popcorn, a beer, and call your loved ones. These last three “games” will show you. A merry X-Mas indeed.
“What is it, dear?” says Santa Snyder, as he notices you’re still sitting on his lap.
“Well, there is just one more thing, Santa.”
He pats you on the head.
“Well,” you work up the courage to say, “I think I’ve been really good this year.”
“Well, can’t I spend just a little bit more time with RGIII?”
“I’m sorry to tell you, dearie, but Robert’s passed away. Santa Snyder has a lot of power, but he can’t raise anyone from the dead.”
“It’s just, there are three more games and I know he’s leaving forever. I just want to say goodbye to him this X-Mas. Can you let him play just three more times? Please?”
“Hold on. Tom Cruise is texting me telepathically.”
There was a moment in the blanking that St. Louis delivered on Sunday when fans started chanting, “RGIII! RGIII!” This was for a few reasons. Firstly, anyone that was attending that game was already delirious. The only reason they were there is because the tickets cost less than a Bud Light, and it was going to be funny. The majority of them laughed their way to buying those tickets, thinking that going to an R-Words game when they’re this bad would be hilarious. They laughed their way through five beers at halftime, which is the second reason they were chanting for Griffin. Another reason is that the only thing R-Words know how to do is chant for another quarterback. This is why we love the off-season. It’s nine months of chanting for another quarterback, another coach, another wide receiver.
The final reason is that we still love RGIII. We hate him for deceiving us, for leaving us, essentially. Justin Tuck cursed the football gods for putting RGIII in the same division, once upon a time. He was possibly the best rookie of all time, once. He was better than Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, once. We know the smart thing is to get rid of him given how terrible he is right now, but there’s still a little boy inside of us that believes. It was the drink, the truth serum that brought it out of the fans at FedEx Field. Unabashed, they chanted, like the Ftrench patrons in Rick’s bar in Nazi-occupied Casablanca, singing the French national anthem through tears, and we in front of our TV’s and computers didn’t disagree. We hoped for a split second: but what if he can? This is why RGIII must get out of our lives forever, but this is why we need him to start the final three games. We need to know without a doubt that he’s not the one. Do it for us, Jay. Forgive him, R-Words fans, for he knows not what he does, not having been in pain for the last 20 years.
The greatest manifestation of R-Words fanhood was also on display at FedEx Field. The camera panned to a fan who had put a bag on his head to show his embarrassment. He had drawn an angry face on the front. But there was something wrong with the bag; it had ripped, exposing the man’s face. We can’t even put bags on our head right.
This is what it means to be an R-Words fan. We will put a bag on our head because we’re steaming mad at the R-Words, but we will keep one eye open, just a little tear, because we can’t help but watch and hope. Maybe this play.