Sep 21, 2005, 12:34 PM EDT
The best part about it was that there were so many best parts about it. It was Dallas, in Dallas, on a Monday night. All Redskins fans have had to put up with so much from the Dallas fans who always seemed to crawl out from everywhere after yet another loss to the Cowboys. It was the stunning, unexpected nature of it after such a listless offensive effort for 55 minutes. It all combined together to make for a day that provided more spontaneous smiling by Redskins fans than any since the few giddy days after Joe Gibbs came back as coach.
And that was one other great part about it–Gibbs’ reaction. The mild-mannered coach’s most demonstrative expression of emotion generally is to break into a broad smile and to look for others to congratulate as he did after each of the Redskins’ Super Bowl wins. Not this time; after this game ended, it was party time:
That’s Gibbs on the left, after the Gatorade bucket bath and after he jumped up into the air and brought his knees to his chest. He celebrated with everyone he could find to celebrate with and then went in and called the win one of his greatest moments in sports, this from a man who has lifted the aforementioned three Lombardi Trophies and a couple of Winston Cups.
Gibbs had stuck his neck out in making one of the quickest quarterback changes in history. Well before that, in March, he had stuck his neck out even more by trading away Laveranues Coles for Santana Moss, taking a huge salary cap hit in the process. After the game, John Madden revealed that Gibbs had said that he felt like the Cowboys were treating the Redskins like a homecoming opponent, what with the scheduling of the Ring of Whatever ceremonies for the night of the game. His offense, his specialty, was, at its better moments, sputtering.
You can agree or disagree about the QB move and the long-term effectiveness of the offense, but you have to agree that nobody in sports has earned a moment of sheer joy more than Joe Jackson Gibbs.
Not bad, not bad at all in the end. I did say that the team employing the running back between Julius Jones and Clinton Portis that had the better night would prevail. Jones did outgain Portis on the ground 81 yards to 52 but Portis picked up another 25 in receptions so their output was pretty even. As was the score and the bottom line here was:
Last year the policy in this space was that there would never again be a prediction that the Redskins would beat the Cowboys until such time that the Redskins actually did beat them. But, keeping with the theme here that what’s in the past is irrelevant, the final will be:
Washington 17, Dallas 16
After I posted this prediction, I received a number of emails from some who evidently were Dallas fans who were questioning my football knowledge, my sanity and/or possible intake of banned substances. The following was typical:
In accordance to your final score prediction to monday nights game……..don’t count your chickens before they hatch bubba.
In reply, I didn’t bother telling him that examining things that haven’t hatched yet is the very nature of a prediction. Some concepts are way to difficult for room-temperature IQ Dallas fans to grasp. As I did with the other emailers of his ilk, I just told him to enjoy the game and come back around and share his razor-sharp insights after the game. I have yet to hear from him or any of them.