Friday, December 19: Funny Because It’s True

Well, the same guy who made the frighteningly accurate YouTube clip about what it’s like being a Skins fan in December is back with what it was like being a Skins fan last Sunday. (The guy in question is Danny Rouhier, and you can find out more about him at his website. This video contains some very, very mild language if you’re very easily offended, as well as another terrific ’80s soundtrack.)

An amusing diversion to start off a dreary, rainy Friday.

Hat tip to the DC Sports Bog, which had it posted first.

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Pete Kendall, Award-Winning Talker

In open locker room today, in front of the assembled media, David Elfin of the Washington Times presented The B.J. Blanchard Good Guy Award, which goes, as the plaque says, “To The Washington Redskins Player Who Has Best Helped The Media Do Its Job.”

If you were to go purely by number of words written (and spoken, and shouted by talking heads in little boxes), you would probably think this would go to Clinton Portis, for such hits as “Clinton Portis Wants A Different Offensive Line,” “Clinton Portis Battles Brian Mitchell,” “Clinton Portis Crushes His Coach,” and “Clinton Portis Wears Something Red,” among many others.

But that would miss the point of the award. This award honors the guy who cooperates with the media, who makes himself available, who talks even when things are going wrong. The kind of guy, for example, who stands and rehashes his own “boneheaded play” over and over and over again for as long as the media needs him. This year, it’s Pete Kendall.

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Elfin explained to me how the award, named after the longtime receptionist at Redskins Park, developed: “I came off the beat after the 1999 season and thought, ‘You know, we never really honored the players for how much they cooperated with us through tough times,'” he said. “So when I came back in a more extensive fashion in 2002, we started this award. We talked about it and decided it was The Good Guy Award, and since B.J. had always been so good to everyone in the media – kind of everyone’s mom in this building, as you know – we named it after her.”

Previous award winners have included Jason Campbell, London Fletcher, and Fred Smoot, among others, so I figured I’d see how such a prestigious honor had changed Smoot’s life.
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Peter King Looks At The Bright Side

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Not a lot favorable to take away from yesterday’s game, obviously. Any individual achievements tended to be immediately marred by dumb penalties (Santana Moss) or overturned by replay (Mike Sellers). I suppose Ryan Plackemeier had a fairly good game, which is nice, and Rock Cartwright acquitted himself well. I liked seeing Kareem Moore lay out Chad Ocho Seenco, I guess.

On the whole, though, it was the kind of day where I don’t think I would’ve, say, encouraged people to vote Redskins players into the Pro Bowl.

Peter King, however, apparently has no such qualms. Buried in the “10 Things I Think I Think” segment of his Monday Morning Quarterback column is this bizarre observation:

I think Clinton Portis is going to be in front of us one day for Hall of Fame consideration. Two games shy of seven full seasons, and he’s already past 9,000 yards. He’s 27 years old. Can he muster 4,000 more yards? I’d think he will. If so, he’ll be in Eric Dickerson territory.

Portis is an excellent running back, no doubt. A blurb like this might have made some kind of sense when he was being discussed as a potential MVP candidate earlier in the season, or at least after a particularly strong game. But yesterday he rushed 25 times for 77 yards — a 3.1 yards per carry average — and that came on the heels of a week in which he got involved in that awkwardness with his head coach, no less.

Still, if you’ve been searching around for some positive Redskins news on this bleak day, there you go: Peter King thinks Portis has at least an outside shot at eventual Hall of Fame consideration. Yay.

Open Locker Room on Portis and Zorn

If I had to characterize the response of players at open locker room to Clinton Portis Radio Funtime, I’d say there were two basic answers. One used the word “accountability” a lot, and the other was a some variation on “What did Clinton say, exactly?”. The first offensive starter to show his face in the locker room was Antwaan Randle El, which led to this intimate scene:

areonportis

“It happens,” Randle El said. “It’s part of the league, you know? You get a guy, you get a coach, flip a coin. It’s going to happen. And when it happens, you just hope they get it taken care of, and I know they got it taken care of.”

Asked what kind of distraction it would present, Randle El was blunt. “It won’t be one. We have too many leaders on the team, from Z-man’s standpoint he’s not going to allow the distraction, and Clinton — Clinton understands how important it is for us to get focused for this week.”

Convinced by Randle El’s persuasive words, the assembled media pack dropped the subject and started asking questions about Cincinnati starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Okay, not really — the questions about PortisGate kept right on rolling.
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The Portis/Zorn Radio Apocalypse!!!!!!! (Kind Of)

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

As I was driving back to Redskins Park from Antwaan Randle El‘s charity event today, I was listening to Clinton Portis‘s appearance on the John Thompson Show on ESPN980. Portis was clearly frustrated — with the team’s losing, with being benched (or “benched,” depending on who you ask), with his head coach — and he wasn’t hiding it.

I was surprised at his candor, but — as the show progressed — fairly impressed with what I perceived at the time as his restraint in not completely unleashing those frustrations. When I got back to the Park, I was immediately made aware that my interpretation of the broadcast was emphatically NOT that of the general public.

“Did you see the twenty page thread on ExtremeSkins?!?!?!” someone asked. “Portis just KILLED Zorn on the radio,” someone else said.

Dan Steinberg over at the DC Sports Bog (who has a fairly lengthy transcript posted) went with “Portis Smashes Zorn”, while Ryan O’Halloran at Redskins 360 kept it restrained with “Portis Unplugged”.

I still don’t buy it. Take the much-repeated implication that Portis said that he should go on IR: he was clearly, CLEARLY being sarcastic, and Coach Thompson calls him on it immediately. That was the tone I caught through most of what he said, and it’s a tone that Portis uses a lot.

More to the point, I would both hope and expect that Portis would be upset at not being put in the game, something Zorn addressed in HIS response later, also on ESPN980.
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Thursday, December 4: Inside FedExField – The Scoreboard Control Room

When I was writing about the exciting adventures of Video Jason Campbell, I got to wondering exactly what the setup was in the JumboTron control room — how things worked, who worked them, and if we would ever see HD monitors at FedExField.

Before Sunday’s Giants game, I was able to find out.

controlroom-0121

The man in the tan shirt is Anthony Fanticola, since 2001 the director of production at the stadium. On gamedays, he runs a crew of about fifty people. “That includes video engineers, audio engineers, we use three of our own cameras,” he says. “Maybe a dozen people in the control room ‘horseshoe’ itself. We also do all the A/V on the club level … overall, once you count up all the grips, production assistants, everything, it’s about 50 people.”

He let me poke around the gleaming lights and flashing control panels of the control room, and helpfully answered my repeated questions of “What’s that?” The first thing he showed me was the computer that controls the Matrix Boards in the stadium, including the boards in “the end zones, sidelines, game in progress, out of town scores, the game clock. And it also routes the open captioning during the game.”

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GAMEDAY ALERT: WUSA 9 Potential Kickoff TV Issues

The folks over at WUSA Channel 9 in the DC area are trying to make sure that people are aware of a potential issue that would prevent Channel 9 from showing the start of the game this Sunday. I’ll let them explain:

On Sunday, October19th, WUSA-9 will air the Ravens and Dolphins game at 1:00PM, followed by the Redskins and Browns at 4:15pm.

At this time, the NFL is blocking WUSA from showing the beginning of the Redskins game until the Ravens and Dolphins are completely finished or the outcome appears certain.

Under those conditions, if the Ravens game goes past 4:15pm, you will miss the kickoff of the Redskins game.

They’re encouraging people to post their displeasure at their site and promising to forward the comments and questions to the NFL in the hopes of resolving this, so go let them know what you think.