Michael Wilbon Gratuitously Disses Redskins

I am a long time reader of the WaPo sports section, and I fondly remember my father praising the prose of the immortal Shirley Povich, long time sports columnist extraordinaire for the Post.  But things have changed.  It seems that while the wordsmithing is almost as good as those by-gone days, too many writers are slaves to a POV that often has no point in reality…like today’s gratuitous diss of the Redskins.  For once, he should have held onto some Al Davis wisdom.

Today’s column by Michael Wilbon is a case in point.  Wilbon is a good, and sometimes great, writer.  He learned from Povich, and today is well regarded for his skills.  The only problem is that Wilbon indulges himself.  He drops names, mentioning how folks assume knows things because he is friends with (fill in the blank).  His columns often take the tact of that relative we all have who makes it a point to focus on all the negative things they see in you.  Why?  Because it is for your own good.  Wilbon seems to prefer the beautiful over the merely effective…as he did today.

This AM Wilbon looked at the likelihood of the New England Patriots finishing the 2007 regular season undefeated and suggested they won’t.  He noted that in 1991 the Redskins went 11-0 before losing, and lost two games that year by a total of five points.

One paragraph later Wilbon says the two greatest teams of the Super Bowl era are:

The two greatest teams of the Super Bowl era are the1985 Bears, who went 12-0 before losing to the Dolphins, and the 1989 49ers, who lost two games by a total of five points. Each won the Super Bowl. Those 49ers, created by the late Bill Walsh, who retired before that season, essentially invented offensive football as we know it today. With Montana throwing to Rice, John Taylor, Roger Craig and Tom Rathman, the offense is what the Patriots aspire to be. And the 49ers’ defense, hardly ever talked about, had Ronnie Lott, Charles Haley, Keena Turner, Eric Wright, and a young linebacker who hadn’t totally lost his mind yet by the name of Bill Romanowski. The Niners were dreamy good.

Can’t really argue with the 1985 Chicago Bears, a great team that should have made more of an impact over the years but were stopped by the Redskins in Soldier Field in both 1986 and 1987.

But the 1989 49ers? Apparently they are top of pile because they were “Dreamy Good”…interesting criteria.

But by that criteria, are the 1991 Redskins, who also lost only twice by a total of five points…aren’t they one of the greatest teams of that era, on a level with the Niners?  Oh, noooo…because they weren’t “dreamy good”.  They only had a team that pummeled almost everyone, and lost the last game to Philly primarily because the Eagles announced their primary goal was to injure as many Redskin players as possible in a planned repeat of the 1990 “Body Bag” game.  Gibbs pulled key players early in a game that meant nothing to the Redskins playoff chances.  They could not possibly have been better than “dreamy good”.

Or were they?  Let’s check the stats. 

Both teams led the league in offense, with the Redskins scoring 485 points and the 49ers 442.

Advantage: 1991 Washington Redskins

The Redskins Defense was #2 in the league, allowing 224 points; the Niners #3, allowing 253 points

Advantage: 1991 Washington Redskins

The Redskins faced 11 teams that finished the year with 10+ wins.  The Niners?  only 8

Advantage: 1991 Washington Redskins

Of course, the Niners won their Super Bowl over a massively out-manned Denver squad 55-10…and how did they do it?  They followed the lead and the game plan of the…wait for it…1987 Washington Redskins team that won the SuperBowl 42-10 over Denver…including the famous 35-0 second quarter…so no advantage here.

Wilbon doesn’t like to admit he writes in Washington…he still perceives himself as a Chicago guy.  But when you ignore facts and indulge your sense of whimsy and appreciation of “beauty” at the cost not only of the local team but a team that is far superior to the one your are drooling over…that is just wrong.

You see, sometimes “dreamy good” is inferior to the teams who don’t have the sports writers seeking silly adjectives…or sportswriters who wallow in non-essentials and allow their objectivity to be eliminated by their desire to seem non-partisan.

Let’s face it…sometimes “dreamy good” is inferior to teams who to out and “just win”.


One thought on “Michael Wilbon Gratuitously Disses Redskins

  1. Bwana my friend:
    I go back to my statement of a few weeks ago on a similiar subject… The score board is the ultimate equalizer. The skins just need to keep playing well and not blow leads… they can and will get better and it will be a good season, despite what Wilbon or any other sports pundits opinion is… like the old country doctor would say to a patient who says “Doc it hurts when I do this…” Well don’t read Wilbon anymore!!!

    Bwana Fan In Vienna

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