In case you missed it, there was a bit of fuss in the run-up to Monday night’s game about the Redskins cheerleaders stretching in the opposition tunnel.
“I’m not a big fan of playing there because it is loud, they’re really good at home and they try to make their cheerleaders stretch in our tunnel before we come out of the locker room. That’s just not good,” Roethlisberger said yesterday.
The practice by the Redskins cheerleaders was so legendary around the league that when commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a memo to all teams last year banning the practice some dubbed the “Redskins Rule.”
(For the record, I talked to Mike Sellers about it last week and he dismissed the whole thing, but that’s really beside the point.)
Anyhow, walking around the stadium before the game on Monday, I ran into the guys who run the flags around the field at the start of the game and after each score. Seeing them in uniform and ready to go an hour or so before gametime is not unusual, but finding them at the visitor’s tunnel instead of the Redskins tunnel … that was a little strange.
“We’re doing our stretching here,” flag guy Josh Keller told me. “The cheerleaders can’t do it, but we can.”
Ooooookay. Isn’t that in violation of the league rule, though?
“Well, we didn’t put on chaps or anything,” Keller said. “Besides, I don’t think this is what the rule was put in place to look for.”
I’ll be honest with you: the flag guys are really nice, and running with that flag looks immensely draining, so I guess they’re all in pretty good shape, but somehow I don’t think this is exactly what Roethlisberger was concerned about.
Keller laughed. “Maybe. Maybe not. You never know. And hey, if someone drops a wide open pass, maybe it’ll be because of us.”
Given the way things turned out, I think it’s safe to say that this gambit didn’t work, but I give the flag guys all the credit in the world for their efforts.