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Infinite Sadness

When All You Can Do Is Laugh

Laughter is the best coping mechanism. There’s little scientific evidence of why it’s true, but it is — we smile instead of cry in all sorts of inappropriate instances. Freud’s famous example of this cites a prisoner being led off to execution on a Monday. He turns to his guard and says, “Well, this is a good beginning to the week.” Freud argued that laughter liberates us from the reality of painful situations, making it easier to eventually accept the truth.

So, on Sunday, I laughed. A lot.

I laughed as Sav Rocca’s first punt line-drived its way just 33 yards downfield into the arms of Dexter McCluster for a 57-yard return, just a sign of things to come. I laughed as RGIII telegraphed yet another pass, reminding us that he is still very much a work in progress. I laughed when Rocca’s third punt — this one actually traveling a respectable 58 yards — was returned for a touchdown; I laughed harder when the kickoff following the Skins first, and only, touchdown was brought back 95 yards for six points.

When it was finally, mercifully over, Washington had lost its tenth game, 45-10. Another one to throw into the dumpster fire that is this season — possibly the worst of my 31-year lifetime. A new low to top the many lows of the Dan Snyder Era.

I poured myself a tall glass of whiskey, the second-best coping mechanism, and settled in to watch the postgame press conferences. To see what Shanahan would have to say about the report earlier in the day, suggesting he was ready to quit last year. And to see how RGIII would handle rock bottom.

Griffin was clearly frustrated — he even said as much — but his body language and responses were strange. When asked if he knew anything about Shanahan clearing out his office last year, he looked around for a couple seconds with a sarcastic smile before saying, “No.” He said the report wasn’t “relevant to my life.” And, of the organization in general, he said, “Some things are allowed to happen. We can cut a lot of it out and it’s not being cut out. It’s very unfortunate. That’s all I can say and all I will say.”

And then there was Shanahan, who was peppered with questions about the report, but refused to deny any of it, only fueling speculation that at least some of the report is true. Not that it matters either way — Shanahan is done in Washington now, so his intentions of staying or going after last season no longer matter. But they speak to the larger issues around this team — the behind-the-scenes bullshit that always seems to involve Dan Snyder, the one constant here. That even on a team which won the division last season, the owner could still find a way to cause distractions and dissension in the locker room.

But perhaps the most hilarious part of this all is that the Skins still have to play three more football games this year. There are so many more laughs to come before this season is dragged out to the gallows and finally put to death. This is a good beginning to the week.

Former Managing Editor at UPROXX; former Senior Editor at @SBNation; former ska-zine editor, fan of bad sports teams and good beer.



  1. Wcked Pixels

    December 9, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    “But they speak to the larger issues around this team — the behind-the-scenes bullshit that always seems to involve Dan Snyder, the one constant here. That even on a team which won the division last season, the owner could still find a way to cause distractions and dissension in the locker room.”

    That should be on a plaque somewhere.

  2. Mike Bradley

    December 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    there is no pride with this team. not in the front office, not with the coaches and certainly not with the players. and that falls on Dan Snyder and George Allen. these two continuously over pay players and coaches and by doing so, it seems that they lose their drive and determination. Snyder needs to step back and out and hire a GM that knows players, player development as well as the numbers game. Allen has done a great job in fixing the salary cap, but when it comes to players and developing them, he has failed miserably. until those two areas are corrected, this team and franchise will continue to fail.

  3. Eric

    December 9, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    It was a sadness laugh fest, indeed. My wife, who loves the Skins because I love the Skins, even got in on the laughter as coping action, telling a friend on the phone “We’re watching the Redskins get beat so badly. It’s hilarious.”

    As I lay down last night I had two thoughts:

    1. If only TB’s Shaun King had held on to the ball while being sacked by the Redskins D on 3rd and 3 in the 4th quarter of the playoff game in ’99, then maybe we advance to the NFC Championship game and maybe alter Redskins franchise time forever. Instead the ball was picked up by Dunn and run 13 yards for a first down. Such great hope turns to such great disappointment. Bucs score a TD on the drive. Turk muffs the snap on a 47 yarder to win. 14-13 final score. Those two plays, bad luck when matters most on top of good old fashion failure to execute (in everything) sum the next 15 years up perfectly. Even at the top of the Redskins mountain (sack fumble on 3rd down), we know deep down the rock will come tumbling back down.

    2. On a relevant to today note: Imagine no RG3. No RG3 hype, no RG3 ego, no RG2, no RG3 tweets, etc. What would our record be last year? 6-10, maybe? How about this year with this D. 5-8 if we’re being generous. That’s very generous even. Would anyone be supporting a year 5 of Shanahan with 4 straight losing seasons? We have to put on our rational hats and admit that the only reason year 5 for Shanny was possible was the play of RG3 last year. With RG3 Shanny was fired anyway after this year. So, that this is happening in this flaming fashion is more or less irrelevant. The shit was going to burn, RG3 or not.

  4. Carlos

    December 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    With all due respect, Pride’s got nothing to do with it.

    There’s a massive shortage of competence. Starting at the top. Competent owners limit themselves to the things an owner can be competent at: marketing, hiring mgt talent, running all of the supporting operations, extorting taxpayers for stadium
    subsidies, etc.

    Snyder has run this team completely incompetently. After his first year, they’ve been to the playoffs all of 2 times. In a league where almost half the teams make the post season!

    People want to blame coaching for the ST failures, but in reality that’s Snyder’s direct fault too. ST are staffed with the bottom half of your roster. This team hasn’t had depth in ages because they always go for the flashy offseason move instead of hoarding draft picks and building real depth.

  5. Eric

    December 9, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Carlos: 3 playoff trips. 2 under Gibbs. Both times eliminated by Seahawks.

  6. Sean

    December 9, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I came to these conclusions a long time ago, after Zorn was _hired_ I said hahaha fuck this team, nothing will change until Synder is in the ground. For years I get mocked, ridiculed, and ostracized by fellow fans for being a “debbie downer.”

    It’s sure as shit nice to see people come around to “just fuck it, let’s all just laugh” mentality. We have the worst owner in professional sports, who has put $$$ in front of everything else. He absolutly is to blame for players missing tackles, he is to blame for poor play calling. He SURE AS SHIT is to blame for poor fan relations, shitty tailgating rules, that terrible stain of a stadium in rural Maryland. HE IS TO BLAME FOR EVERYTHING.

  7. Mike Bradley

    December 9, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    he gets a +1 for the new and nice dining hall from solomon wilcots though

  8. Chris Mottram

    December 9, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    @Mike Bradley: Wilcots defending Snyder for things such as new dining facilities was painful to listen to. “He got Shanahan RGIII and some nice buildings. WHY AREN’T THEY WINNING?!”

  9. Chris Mottram

    December 9, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Sean was laughing at the Skins way before it was cool to laugh at the Skins.

  10. illformula

    December 9, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    The saddest thing about all of this, which isn’t as easy to just laugh off, is the public perception of the franchise. What once was a proud and respectable product is now THE laughing stock of the NFL, if not all of professional sports, whose on-field antics are only surpassed by those off of the field.

    I feel like the last 15 years have been like a bad run on a blackjack table. Sure, every once in a while you might hit a huge double-down, but that excitement is quickly erased by the realization that you’re so far in the red that you’re never walking away from the table without losing money. Snyder is the dealer, Haynesworth is the Ace he’s showing, and RG3 is the a-hole right of the dealer who keeps stealing the dealer’s bust card.

  11. DocJ

    December 9, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    On Sun, 30 min before kickoff and after that wonderful story was leaked I came to the decision, the Redskins will not affect me or my Sunday anymore this year. I had a brand new keg of Highland Cold Mountain in the kegerator, a nice bottle of irish whiskey I bought from a recent trip to Dublin, my beautiful wife and daughter were making christmas cookies, my 3 beagle mutts were helping, my house is over the top with christmas decorations and a nicely decorated chrismas tree that comes with having a 3 year old who loves christmas lights, hell with it. I pulled out my Redskins gear and put on my skins slippers, socks, boxers, flannel pants, t shirt and my RG3 jersey and a Redskins hat. I got my Redskins pint glass full of a cold refreshing Cold Mtn, my Redskins half pint glass with some whiskey, used my redskins bic lighter to smoke a bowl of some fine organic homegrown alaskan green out of my glass Redskins pipe, put a few xmas cookies on a redskins plate, covered up with my Redskins blanket and decided to just enjoy the game regardless of the outcome. I laughed, I smiled, I was in a good mood the whole time and I cheered like crazy when Paulson grabbed that TD pass. I laughed at the poor suckers who braved that shitty looking weather to see that debacle, I laughed at Kyles beard, I laughed at Mikes face each time they showed him. I laughed at the shitty ST stats they showed, I laughed thinking about the NYG game stats and the Redskins trailing like 80% of the season, I laughed when Wilcots said we had th worst ST ever… I laughed at Cousins, at RG3 getting sacked, at Hall missing tackles, at the 95 yrd TD and the 74(?) yd TD, Alex Smith leading 31-0 and only passing for like 100 yards, Rambo missing tackles. I laughed at the Swinging gate,Zorn, Spurrier, the Bingo caller, Haynesworth, McNabb, GrossBeck, Portis Pockets Straight… I laughed at myself for getting NFL ticket(even if it was free) and looking like a clown in head to toe burgandy and gold(although my boxers had a bit of maroon and black). Laughed at how little beer and food Snyder was selling after half time of that game. So I had a good day yesterday. Caught a nice buzz, ate too many christmas cookies, played with my daughter and was totally unaffected by that shitty disgraceful product that I saw on the field. Good Times…

  12. ColtBrennansGhost

    December 9, 2013 at 2:48 PM


  13. Mike Bradley

    December 9, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Chris Rose doing the highlights and stating that Subway wanted its money back after Robert threw the INT was the highlight of the game.

  14. Chris Williams

    December 9, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Honestly, as much as Dan is a scumbag this all falls on Shanahan. His previous patterns of behavior allow first class douche bags like McNabb to wag their finger and say I told you so.

    There are any number of things to point out in hindsight. But honestly his souring relationship with RG3 was reason enough to jettison.

    Now his need to act like a teenage girl to ignite drama has me hoping that his shit canning is down Al Davis style with cause. None of that 7 million in 2014 because no sane NFL owner should want to hire him with his behavioral track record.

    This franchise isn’t quite Cleveland Browns or Jacksonville Jaguars left but it honestly feels like it is the next worst thing. Infinite sadness.

  15. Ketel on Rocks

    December 9, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    It’s just sad. I can’t even laugh it off.

    I look on this franchise the way I look at some wretched mutt at the pound who probably isn’t going to be rescued. I can’t even feign gallows humor, it just feels hopelessly sad.

    This is different than the Wizards, Nats, or Caps who all have been heartbreakers in one form or another. But you always had a sense that at some point maybe they’ll get a break. There’s always next year.

    I don’t feel that way about this franchise, and Sunday really crystalized that fact.

    I don’t really care that they got blown out by KC. I don’t really care about Shanahan. Stay, quit, get fired, etc. It doesn’t really matter. RGIII may never live up to those 4 picks that were given up. That doesn’t really matter, either. Teams can get blown-out, new coaches are hired, and new players get drafted. Nope, the problem is systemic, and it’s never going to go away.

    From Schottenheimer to Shanahan, there is one constant. He’s the poison in the town well. He’s the square root of every exponential problem that has blown up over the last nearly 20 years. And he’s not leaving. At 34 years old, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that he will be the owner of the Washington Redskins until the day I die.

    And because of that, I really can’t laugh.

  16. JDP

    December 9, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    What a clown team. And yet none of us will quit loving it. When does baseball season start?

  17. deepvalue

    December 9, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Can someone summarize DocJ’s post in a sentence or two?

  18. JGP

    December 9, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    The thing is, this shouldn’t be that hard. There are good GMs out there! Go get one! Then get the fuck out of the way, let him hire a coach and build a team from the ground up. I know not every GM is going to be amazing, and there are plenty of teams that haven’t won it all despite having decent management, coaching and All-Pros, but there’s a proven method that works and this owner refuses to follow it.

    Anyway, Shanahan is too good for this organization and Shanahan blows.

  19. Max Wass

    December 9, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Sunday wasn’t all bad. GW won! That was great! Made my weekend.

  20. beck of a good time

    December 9, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    illformula – I echo your sentiments. It’s one thing to have a bad product on the field, but off the field isn’t any better. This team is a laughingstock. Snyder is an easy target and every step he takes backfires. Much of it is his own doing but there is some bad luck involved.

    Nevertheless, I root, I watch, I hope for a better outcome each year. We look at 2014, now, knowing that there will be a new HC, OC, DC, ST; a complete roster overhaul with as many as 10 new starters; and watching the Rams either draft Clowney w/the #2 overall pick or trade down for a king’s ransom of picks.

    It’s a shame so many of us care.

  21. ThisGuy

    December 9, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    “The saddest thing about all of this, which isn’t as easy to just laugh off, is the public perception of the franchise. What once was a proud and respectable product is now THE laughing stock of the NFL, if not all of professional sports, whose on-field antics are only surpassed by those off of the field.”

    Agree with this. After a 10-6 season and budding franchise QB star, my Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys fan friends knew better than I what farce was to come. I can’t even justify optimism when there is evidence for it…good things happening are the broken clock of my rooting life. Right twice a day, completely by accident.

  22. SeanWB

    December 9, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    I laughed at the Redskins, too. I did not laugh at the Terps. ‘Twas a rough sports w?e?e?k?e?n?d? life.

  23. SeanWB

    December 9, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    thats supposed to be a strikethrough “weekend.” Humor Fail…

  24. Jim Ed

    December 9, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    What an absolute farce of a season this has been.

    Although watching it grow from embryonic tadpole into Mecha-Godzilla has been perversely entertaining. Whereas the Cerrato years had the fanbase enraged and lusting for vengeance, this year seems to have actually broken people’s will to continue giving a shit. Most fans (myself included) just seem to have thrown their hands up and resigned themselves to the fact that this is who the Redskins are – a dysfunctional franchise that cannot help but to slit their own throats year after year.

    Maybe Mr. I needs a ‘countdown to spring training’ banner up top to keep morale up.

  25. dingoVB

    December 9, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Need a bookie to give me odds on the Shanahans sending 2 Houston Texans first round draft picks to the Redskins for Kirk Cousins next year

  26. firsttimecaller

    December 9, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    I have some redskins stuff at my desk at work – a few cards, a bobblehead, lil teammates, etc. A coworker asked me today if I was worried someone would take them. I laughed. Then I felt bad because she was serious.

  27. DocJ

    December 9, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    @deepvalue, Sorry, got carried away in how dang happy I was yesterday. The gist of it was, the game sucked, I laughed, drank a few beers and had a few xmas cookies.

  28. Ketel on Rocks

    December 9, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Part of the reason this doesn’t feel so easy to laugh off is it felt like this was a real, competent team last year on the upswing. Snyder took a step back, and he had learned. We thought.

    Now it turns out it was all just swept under the rug.

    Last year was fool’s gold. This is 15 years of a chronic problem. It’s not going away. There’s no chance for real sustainable success with this franchise with you-know-who at the top.

    People on this thread have mentioned “laughingstock”. I can take being the butt of jokes. I can take being a crap team for a few years. But no quality coach wants this job, or will accept this job. And even if they get it, they’ll end up undermined. It’s not a matter of sucking. It’s a matter of an endless horizon of futility.

    This team won’t win with Snyder at the helm. You can say Shanahan’s an asshole. RGIII is a prima donna. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

    There’s been one common denominator over the past decade and a half.

  29. Ketel on Rocks

    December 9, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Hypothetical: If you’re an NFL head coach and are given the choice between coaching the Skins or Jags… Which job do you take?

  30. homeslice mcturkeyjerky

    December 10, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    this aint on Snyder. come on people. Ever since Shanahan threw McNabb under the bus I knew he was a guy who really knew how to lose a locker room. The problem with Shanahan like so many football bozos is that they think they are the smartest guy in the room because nobody has ever called it plainly out of deference to the bozo in chief. This is why Boz can completely capture what is going on, he is smarter than Shanahan and doesn’t answer to him.

    Let Shanny twist in the wind, make his son clean the toilets or something, then see if he quits.

  31. peteywheatstraw

    December 10, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    At least the Cowboys suck. Looks like Chipper will win the division on his first time out?

  32. JGP

    December 10, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Ketel’s comment says it all, and better than I ever could.

    The most damning fact I saw was in one of the WaPo articles yesterday (I forget which one), which said that not a single coach has stayed throughout his contract term. That’s crazy.

  33. Glenn

    December 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    And here I thought, four years ago, that the clown show was finally ending and that the adults had now come in to supervise things. Geewhiz.

  34. ThisGuy

    December 10, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    “Hypothetical: If you’re an NFL head coach and are given the choice between coaching the Skins or Jags… Which job do you take?”

    The one that pays more.

  35. Ketel on Rocks

    December 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Tony Dungy was asked point blank on Sunday Night football whether he would ever consider working for Snyder.

    The answer was a flat-out “no”.

    Established win-first coaches with a track record that attract multiple suitors ain’t coming here — even if Daniel pays above market. That’s why the next coach is probably going to have to come from the college ranks or be a NFL assistant.

    Yet another reason Sunday’s report was disastrous on so many levels.

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