Cooley, Colt, Yoder, and the Crossbar

Based on this morning’s SportsCenter and the dramatic layout of the Post’s Sports section, I’m still one of about five people on the planet Earth who didn’t think Clinton Portis‘s comments yesterday were the single worst thing ever to occur. We’re at that point in the season where tensions run high anyhow, and this seems to have pushed Redskins fans even closer to the edge.

So it feels like an optimal time to look back at something completely lighthearted and unrelated to the current drama.

Before every game, before the official pregame warmups, Chris Cooley, Todd Yoder, and Colt Brennan get together and try to hit the crossbar of the goalpost with the ball. (This video doesn’t cover the whole contest, but it does give a large chunk of the matchup before the Sunday Night Dallas game.)

“We’ve done it on and off in the past,” Yoder said, “but this year when Colt came we set up a specific little game to play and started doing it every week.”

“It’s a popular game,” Cooley said. “Quarterbacks, kickers and punters have been doing it forever. We started the competition series this preseason with the three of us.”

Competition series rules are as follows, according to Brennan: “Five attempts from the five yard line, four from the ten, three from the 15, two from the 20, one from the 25. All three of us play the first round, then the two winners go to the second round, so it’s like a playoff for the championship.”

Opinions differ as to what the championship actually is. “There is no prize,” Cooley said.

Yoder disagreed slightly. “The prize is just pride. The pride of knowing that you won that week. It’s for manhood. Who is the biggest man that day.”

“It’s to see who’s the coolest,” Brennan offered. “For that day, I mean. Until the next Sunday.”

And that week’s winner?
Continue reading


I Wish I Got Austrian TV

It’s easy to make the media horde at Redskins Park look enormous; lord knows I’ve been guilty of it myself. And, numerically, it does tend to be a pretty substantial group, but by this point in the season they’ve all become fairly familiar. Even the guys I don’t know by name or haven’t spoken to, I recognize and can usually associate with a particularly network or publication.

So when new people show up, they tend to stand out, especially when they’re carrying unfamiliar microphones and speaking with European accents.


This is Hanno Settele, correspondent for Austrian national public service broadcaster ORF (it’s short for Österreichischer Rundfunk, and not to be confused with the airport in Norfolk, Virginia), alongside his cameraman. They were in open locker room today, interviewing players and having them record greetings to the Austrian audience.

I caught the beginning of Jim Zorn’s greeting, but didn’t know what was going on in time to tape the end. My notes on the beginning read “Hi, everybody,” and Barry Svrluga‘s went only a bit further, adding “I’m Jim Zorn, coach of the Washington Redskins. I’m the head coach.” It definitely went on from there, but I’ve asked around and haven’t been able to find a recording of it.

My recorder was running, though, when Settele approached Fred Smoot and explained who he was with.

Continue reading

Thursday, November 6: We Missed a Chance at an Entire Practice of Colt Brennan as Jim Zorn

One of the more successful costumes at last week’s rookie costume contest was Colt Brennan’s. Brennan, apparently, dressed up as head coach Jim Zorn. YOUNG Jim Zorn. SINGING young Jim Zorn, in fact.

Or, to be completely specific, singing young Jim Zorn in a Redskins practice uniform complete with a QB-practice-yellow #10 jersey with ZORN on the back, and short shorts.

This makes it even sadder that no pictures exist, but I was able to talk to Brennan about the costume selection, Zorn’s reaction, and what he had hoped to do if he won.


You dressed up as Coach Zorn for the rookie costume contest. And you decided to make this into a singing role?

Yeah! Because he had to sing in this commercial where he sang this song about drinking milk….

Continue reading

Player’s POV: Chris Horton is a Sound Sleeper

Just before we boarded the buses to the airport for the Detroit trip, I handed Colt Brennan a Flip video camera and asked him if he could film some “on the road” stuff for me. We didn’t have time to talk about the project, and in the end he wasn’t able to record very much at all (although he’s volunteered to try again at a later game). Bummer, right?

But there was one usable video on the camera, and it demonstrates two separate things: first, that Chris Horton — a genuinely nice guy — is on the receiving end of teasing from people besides Randy Thomas. And second, that Chris Horton is a very sound sleeper.

Making “The Mayne Event”

Kenny Mayne’s idea for his Mayne Event segment this week centers around the “Hip Hip Hooray” cheer, which appears to have caught the public imagination in a way that I couldn’t quite have imagined when Zorn first broke it out at the Welcome Home Luncheon.

As Mayne explained to me when I spoke to him, these shoots are not simple — this one includes a lot of players — but he manages to execute the actual shooting quickly and with an impressive minimum of fuss. Here, with the help of Redskins PR, he’s grabbed the first four guys he needs — Chris Samuels, Jason Campbell, Antwaan Randle El, and Colt Brennan — as they came off the field after morning practice, and he quickly gets them briefed on what they’re doing and set up to shoot the establishing shot of the segment.

EDIT TO ADD: We’re having some problems with the video; I’ll have it fixed as soon as I can. Fixed, hopefully.

There are multiple takes, of course, but on the whole the process moves surprisingly quickly and the guys really seem to get into it.

The most unusual element of Mayne’s shoot, actually, turns out to have nothing to do with him at all.
Continue reading

Nuts For Colt Brennan

Here’s one of the great ironies of Redskins Park: It’s the Friday before the game at Dallas. The Redskins are riding a two game winning streak, and it’s early enough in the season for that winning streak to also carry all the hope and optimism of the start of the year. If I were working at any other job I had ever been at, right now, at about 4:00 on Friday afternoon, I would be thinking of pretty much nothing besides Sunday’s game. At that time here, it’s a ghost town. The players are enjoying their early day, heading home to their families or out to squeeze in whatever they can before tomorrow’s travel day and Sunday’s game.

Really, it’s the quiet before the proverbial storm here. The good news is that when that happens, we can usually count on something interesting happening with our popular emergency QB.

Here’s what happened: I came in today to find this envelope on my chair:

It’s a very nice letter from the office of Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, noting the blog post on her meeting with Colt Brennan. It was a really nice gesture, and certainly better than the last time I received a note from a congressperson (i.e., never). Similar letters went to P.R. whiz Zack Bolno, and P.R. intern Matt Taylor (who mostly facilitated the whole thing). Really, that would’ve been enough — more than enough.

But the congresswoman’s office also sent over the Mauna Loa Island Classics Assortment — five different kinds of macadamia nuts — for us all to share. I’ve posted about pineapples that Brennan received, but the flow of gifts from the islands is more or less constant: all things coconut, pineapple, or macadamia nut related.
So, excited to join such rarefied company, I went and asked Colt about the gift.

So what’s with the macadamia nuts?

I don’t know. That’s a good question. I don’t know the history behind it, but I know that they’re prevalent all over Hawai’i. I don’t know if it’s only the chocolate covered macadamia nuts that have become famous, or the nuts themselves.

They gave us, like, five different flavors. Are macadamia nuts all over the place down there?

I think so, pretty much. Hawai’i candy companies have done a great job of marketing and creating an identity for the chocolate covered macadamia nut.

So if you’re nice to people in Hawai’i, they just give you a package of macadamia nuts?

You can’t just be nice. If you do something that they appreciate, yeah — you’re helping these folks to connect to a former UH player, so they probably really appreciate that. But just being nice probably wouldn’t do it.

Tuesday, September 16: Colt and the Congresswoman

It’s become fairly clear, even just by reading the comments here, that Colt Brennan established a bit of a following in Hawai’i – and, further, that those people have happily followed him to the Washington Redskins.

Hawai’i is just under 5,000 miles away from FedExField, at least as the crow flies, so through the sheer inexorable force of distance, most of Brennan’s fans are reduced to watching the Redskins on TV and hoping that the third string emergency quarterback gets some screentime.

That sort of obstacle doesn’t really apply to Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (D-HI), since her job — for fairly obvious reasons — has her working in the District. So when the Redskins opened their home schedule for the 2008 season this past Sunday, Congresswoman Hirono contacted the team and asked if it would be possible for her to meet the quarterback.

Photo courtesy of The Office of Congresswoman Hirono.

Photo courtesy of The Office of Congresswoman Hirono.

“I went to this Sunday’s exciting game between the Redskins and the Saints and had a chance to spend some time with Colt down on the field during the pre-game,” Congresswoman Hirono said in a statement. “I let him know that the entire state of Hawaii is behind him.”

Brennan was enthused about the meeting as well. “It was cool, man. It was a good experience,” he said. “She said she was going to be a big fan and try to come to the games. It was good to meet her.”

Like Brennan, Congresswoman Hirono studied at the University of Hawai’i, and like Brennan, she went to DC afterward, in her case to study at Georgetown Law. “We also talked about what [Brennan] missed about Hawaii—just being there,” she said. “But he really appreciates the experience of being on the team and how well he is being treated.”

Speaking of being treated well, I had to ask Brennan if he thought that it was at all unusual that the rookie third string emergency quarterback of a professional football team was meeting with his congresswoman before the game. “They always say that Hawai’i’s a small island and a private, kinda secret place,” he said, “so if you can establish yourself out there, anybody who’s from Hawai’i will know about you and respect you.”

Okay, sure. But the people from Hawai’i really seem to love you, you know? “I love Hawai’I just as much,” he said. “Really, it was just an honor for me to meet her.”

Photo courtesy of The Office of Congresswoman Hirono.

Photo courtesy of The Office of Congresswoman Hirono.