September 28, 2009

Guest Post - On the Scene at Ford Field

From ECB - One of our loyal seven readers, Ben, or maybe we'll call him B-Sin, is a native Washingtonian transplanted on the outskirts of metropolitan East Lansing, Michigan. Ben reported for us last year from Ford Field 'Skins-Lions I. This year, he went back to Ford Field for 'Skins-Lions II and was on the scene for arguably the greatest debacle in Redskins history. Without further adieu, here is Ben's report....


Well, there's a new sheriff in town.

I went back to Ford Field for what seems to be the Redskins' annual trip to Detroit. Last year, I guest posted on this here blog and went over things like the field and such, so I will spare a lot of those details. However, I think it's worth noting:

1) I still found some prepubescent girls working at Ford Field, this time complete with braces with magenta colored bands.

2) We had great parking and followed the directions from the Lion's website to get there. For some reason, their directions took us, literally, into oncoming traffic. Our lane was blocked off, yet the Lions people kept telling us to go in the direction we were going (on the left side of the road) despite the steady stream of cars coming from the other direction. And it's not like anyone else was behind us coming in our direction. Still didn't figure that one out.

3) All of the Lions employees have been very well trained to be very nice, polite, and helpful to anyone willing to buy a ticket to come see their product, even if those people are decked out in Redskins gear.

As for the game itself, well, I'll spare a lot of those painful details, too. I know the whole world (even here in Michigan, which I found odd) was predicting a Detroit victory because, well, it has to happen sometime! And yes, the Redskins seemed terrible enough that this was their best chance. In spite of being the smallest crowd ever to show up at Ford Field, it had somewhat of a playoff buzz before the game. There was real anticipation among the fans. Some of them were actually jacked up.

My parents warned me that I should really be prepared for a Skins loss. And while I was certainly prepared for it, I explained that I had so much more faith in the Lions ineptitude than the Redskins. And when the high snap was nearly lost by Campbell on the Skins first play from scrimmage and the unblocked Lion came and immediately grabbed the vulnerable Campbell by his facemask, thus making an easy big sack a 15-yard penalty, I felt pretty good about my assertion.

Somewhere between the terrible execution on 4th goal from the one, the encroachment to give Detroit 5 yards and breathing room, Zorn's decision to give the Lions an extra down rather than make them kick the FG, Stafford running for 15 yards to get that 3rd down conversion thanks to the extra down, and the ensuing TD, I changed my mind. That's when I got really nervous.
Naturally, hope was renewed after the opening drive of the 2nd half. And on that offensive pass interference call on Calvin Johnson (which kind of felt like it would have sealed the Redskins fate at that point had it been a no-call), the crowd did what it does best. It booed. It booed like the next four plays all the way through the punt, which I found amusing. Is that normal? To boo a ref's call for four consecutive plays?

I think everyone in the stadium (except maybe the most pessimistic Skin fans) believed that this was over, and the Redskins would pull it out. They sure kept getting their chances. But in this battle of who could care less, the Redskins proved more incompetent. As the Redskins made their last gasp efforts in the final drive, despite the fact that about 40% of the seats were empty or occupied by Redskins fans, the place was impressively deafening, (piped in crowd noise? Probably).

When Washington tried its the-band-is-on-the-field play (Campbell can't throw 36 yards in the air?) and the game officially ended, the place exploded. You would think Detroit won the Super Bowl. And you know, I'm sure it felt like it for them. I was a little disappointed they didn't rush the field. I half expected it.

Although my parents and I were disappointed in the Redskins loss, we really did take a lot of joy in seeing the happiness from the Lions fans. I mean, it's not like this game really meant anything to the Skins. So now they're going to finish 3-13 instead of 4-12? Big deal.
I was especially appreciative as the Lions are solidly my 2nd team. I felt a little cheated by not being able to celebrate the Lions win fully, but at least I got to experience it live, whereas most of the area didn't get to see it at all (blacked out, obviously).

Leaving the stadium, there were a few fans who tried taunting the Redskins fans as we left (it was kind of cute, actually) but mostly people were just giddy and jubilant and inviting all Redskin fans to come back to town anytime and to come over to their house for free food and beer. People were hugging and laughing and jumping up and down in the concourse, especially as they greeted people they knew who were sitting in other sections, and for all I know they were greeting complete strangers. At one point, the steady buzz of excitement randomly exploded again into wild cheering and shouts of exclamation. I'm not sure what set that off. The only thing I didn't see that I was kind of expecting were tears of joy streaming down people's faces. It's kind of like how I picture Times Square V-J Day 1945.

Postscript: So, as far as the Redskins go, what can I say? You know the score (literally and figuratively). I don't normally support overreactions and hasty firings, but I'm pretty much done with Zorn. I mean this seriously, I'd rather he be fired today, if it didn't happen already (haven't been to this morning). I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but it's time to blow it up and start over, and unfortunately we can't fire The Danny. So, what free agents can we start tampering with now to get better?

1 Responses:

"ben" said...

"Ben, or maybe we'll call him B-Sin, is a native Washingtonian transplanted on the outskirts of metropolitan East Lansing, Michigan."

And by native Washingtonian, Jeremy means from Silver Spring, MD. And by outskirts of metropolitan East Lansing, Jeremy means in the greater Lansing area. I would say East Lansing is on the outskirts of Lansing. I know MSU is in E.L., but the capital still gets top billing.

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