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Terrible idea

Nov 11, 2008, 9:16 AM EDT

The Washington Redskins will be handing out 50,000 burgundy towels to fans entering Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Dan Snyder-owned ESPN 980, the radio network’s flagship station, is sponsoring the promotion and is calling the cloths “Redskins Rags”.

Of course, we all remember the Terrible Towels that the legion of Steeler fans waved at FedEx Field last Monday night. I don’t know if this promotion came about as a response to that—I would think that it would be difficult and expensive to acquire 50,000 towels and have something printed onto them in the space of a week—but in any case it’s a bad idea.

The waving of towels is a Steeler tradition. It has been for some 30 years. You can’t just take one team’s tradition and try to adopt it as your own. That would be like throwing seed corn onto a paved parking lot and coming back hoping to see stalks as high as an elephant’s eye.

My high-level inside source inside the organization—a friend of my brother knows someone who has a cousin who is an intern in the PR department—has said that the attempts to bring other teams’ traditions to FedEx Field will not stop with the towels. Among other ideas in the pipeline:

  • Having a Native American ride a horse into the stadium and planting a flaming spear into the Redskins logo at midfield.

  • Getting the fans to do an Indian chant while making the signal for a first down in unison.

Should those Native American-themed ideas prove to be too politically incorrect for DC, there are other ideas being floated around Redskins Park:

  • At halftime, the Redskins band will form “Redskins” in script and the senior sousaphone player will dot the “i”.

  • Before the game, a semi-prominent celebrity will raise a flag emblazoned with the number 12 in one end of the stadium. It will have to be explained that the number represents not the “12th man” but the new price for a 12-oz draft beer.
  • A Metallica song will play and fans will be encouraged to jump up and down as the players come onto the field.
  • After the Redskins score, the cheerleaders will do a pushup for each point the Redskins have scored up to that point in the game. (Given the way the Skins have been putting up points lately there is no danger that the cheerleaders will overexert themselves from this.)
  • A rock will be placed on a pedestal outside of FedEx Field and the players will touch it on their way in.
  • Hedges will be planted running the length of the field behind the benches.

I’m sure that other ideas are under consideration; perhaps you could leave yours here in the comments.

  1. Skudge - Nov 11, 2008 at 11:55 AM

    Burgundy towels is a terrible, desperate idea.

    It’s like getting beat up one day, and then walking around your junior high school the next day dressed up and acting like the dude that did it.

    “Hey Guys, I’m cool too! I’m cool. Aren’t I cool, too? Guys? Guys.”

    If we actually do this, it’ll be unbelievably embarrassing.

  2. Anonymous - Nov 11, 2008 at 12:01 PM

    I know! I know! The Redskins players could prepare to take the field and the announcer will say in a loud, booming voice: “It is now time to defend the R!”. The players would then rush onto the field and jump up and down in the middle of the field.

    Oh wait, R kind of rhymes with star and we all know where that comes from.

    Oh, never mind. :-)

  3. Phil H - Nov 11, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    Here’s a great idea, instead of spending all that money on the towel buy up all the tickets on ebay,stubhub, etc and give them to fans who can’t afford them. We can call it the Redskins Give Back. The place would be a mad house.

  4. Ben Folsom - Nov 11, 2008 at 2:10 PM

    Here is one, dress Barack Obama up in sweats, run b-roll of him running through the District, culminating with him running up the Watergate Steps, where he turns at the top to face the river and pumps his fists in the air.

    Then run that on the big screen over cheesy movie music before team introductions to excite the fans.

    That would be like totally original.

  5. Joe in Raleigh - Nov 11, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    Ooh, I like Ben’s idea. But I would like to see the b-roll include Obama slashing an animated Cowboy with a sword.

    Then I would like to see it culminate with the ACTUAL Obama astride a might steed, galloping onto FedEx Field, waving his glorious saber menacingly at midfield as the Redskins take the field.

    Wahoowa… er… Hail to the Redskins!

  6. Charlie - Nov 11, 2008 at 8:03 PM

    Remember the seat cushions many years ago at RFK. They would be fun.

    I think I still have one but not two. I had given a ticket to my neighbor’s son who went to the game with my daughter. Neighbor’s son sailed his cushion toward th field, as did half of the others that day!

  7. Michael - Nov 11, 2008 at 8:44 PM

    The towel idea is lame. It copies another team’s signature theme. I do like the other two ideas of (1) having a Native American ride a horse into the stadium and planting a flaming spear into the Redskins logo at midfield, and (2) getting the fans to do an Indian chant while making the signal for a first down in unison. While both are Florida State themes, they are at least Indian/Redskin related themes rather than just Steeler related themes. Perhaps we could have foam tomahawks? Tell Danny those would be big sellers! Those ideas, if done properly, might also sooth relations with our Native Indian community. Bring in some Indian consultants!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Boss Hog - Nov 11, 2008 at 8:54 PM

    What about Redskin Thunderstix, Redskin Rally Monkeys, Redskin Cowbells, Redskin Octupi, or a Redskin “Burgundy-Out”, where all fans wear only burgundy?

    We need MORE pathetic corporate gimmickery at FedEx Field!…

  9. Rich Tandler - Nov 12, 2008 at 12:08 AM

    –Good thoughts by all. Ben, only you could come up with Obama as Rocky. I thought you were going Nixonian on us here until I clicked on the picture and saw you were talking about the real Watergate, not that Watergate.

    –I liked a couple of Dan Steinberg’s ideas–dubbing one end of FedEx the “Hawg Pound” and to encourage players to jump into the stands after scoring, performing the “Landover Leap” (my name, I like it better than his).

    –Say what you will about the departed Funky Four, but at least that was an original tradition for the Redskins. Of course they jumped the shark when that FedEx commercial intro they added left them with about 30 seconds to do their thing.

  10. Sean - Nov 12, 2008 at 3:16 AM

    Burgundy towels is a GOOD idea. It’s a great message to the players on the field. I don’t think this is meant to steal a tradition, but instead make up for the lack of loyalty last week, and also say that we still believe in our ‘Skins, but the bad stuff out of our minds and see the rest of the season take off. If it is meant to be a new tradition, than we should be happy it’s coming from a franchise as respectable as the Steelers. Let’s face it: stealing traditions is, well, tradition. Although, I will admit, if I was going to the game and was handed a towel, it would be awkward to wave it after what happened last week. I just hope we don’t lose and get embarrassed on ESPN all week because of all the rags. Oh, man, now I’m nervous.

  11. Skins FTW - Nov 12, 2008 at 9:29 AM

    This makes me upset. Omg and this comes this week, what happend to doing this when the gold towels were in our stadium last week. I was so frustrated at the game and i think it woulda messed there heads up to see us waiving our burgandy and there gold towels ultimatly making it burgandy and gold! I even brought a home made ripped up towel diveded in 4 with 4 of my friends us waving a cut up towel last week! I like the idea just upset that we thought of this one week late.

  12. Chris C - Nov 12, 2008 at 7:42 PM

    If Dan Snyder wanted a serious homefield advantage he’d put a cantilevered roof on like Seattle has, just over the sides so the crowd sound can be reflected onto the field.

    We all know how loud it gets there. Our fans our louder, they just have it set up better acoustically out there.

    Our normal crowd would sound loud, and our loud crowd would sound incredibly. That would be money well spent.

  13. Anonymous - Nov 12, 2008 at 8:46 PM

    hand me a towel at this game on sunday and i’m going to throw it in the garbage. the last thing that i’d hope anyone would ever want at fed ex is anything that even remotely has anything to do with the state of pennsylvania.

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