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Cheap Seats: In My Dreams

I have won the Heisman Trophy. I have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. I have drank from Lord Stanley’s Cup. I have also felt the glow of the spotlight after being named the Most Valuable Player in those same leagues. I have challenged Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach and won. And I have won NASCAR’s Winston (now NEXTEL) Cup so many times that I should be their cover boy. I am so talented that I can throw for 300 yards to win a NCAA or NFL championship the same night that I score 3 goals in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and then take the checkers at Daytona. In my dreams, right? Wrong.

Thanks to the wonderful video game industry, (my special thanks to the folks at ESPN, EA Sports and Sony (Playstation I &II)), many of us can now live out our dreams of playing professional sports. Now, before you start rolling your eyes because you’re not a “gamer”, you should understand that the video gaming world has been growing exponentially since the advent of the Atari 2600, the Colecovision and the Activision. I can still remember getting excited when Atari rolled out their “Real Sports” series in which the baseball game included such huge innovations such as a small cloud of dirt that arose when a runner slide into a base as well as ball carriers who actually went down when tackled in the football title. We have come a long way since then and so too has the video game industry as each year it seems the games get more “true to life”. Since Nintendo first launched Tecmo Bowl, a game that many consider to be the genesis of sports games as we now know them, fans have demanded more of their games and the producers have answered those demands.

The games being made today are so realistic that some innocent bystanders may mistake the ESPN cut-ins and post-game wrap-ups as real ESPN programming. In fact, many drivers in the NASCAR series (both BUSCH and NEXTEL) have used the EA Sports NASCAR titles to assist them in driving at some of the newer and more difficult tracks on the circuit. Most of the sports titles now have big name sports figures being used as consultants as well as capturing their real movements to be used in the game. Many games have long offered the “create-a-player” option which allows the user to create themselves in the game (and no, I don’t have to lie about my dimensions in the game). I mean how cool is it that you can see yourself lining up with Lavar or slamming Cowboy quarterbacks to the turf. Add to that the new option of being able to import your actual picture to be used as your face and it isn’t hard to see that for a few hours reality could take a back seat to fantasy.

I have played video sports games for as long as I can remember. One of my favorite stories is the year that I got Tecmo Bowl II for Christmas. My brother and I found it in the stash of Christmas gifts in my parents closet and one night while my parents were out for the evening my brother skillfully sliced the plastic at the bottom of the package and out came the familiar gray cartridge that would occupy our minds for the time until that Christmas morning. It would be only then that we would be able to finish the season that we started that night.

I believe that children should be active in sports and other extracurricular activities and spend as much time away from the television as possible. But I find the video sports world a place to escape after a long day at work (where I am far from being a hero) or a stressful day at school where a kid might not have the skills necessary to excel at his or her favorite sport. No, it doesn’t replace the benefits of participating in physical activity, but there are far worse things that a kid (or adult) could do than play video games. Even if they do have to wait until their kids (and wife) go to bed so they can get some precious uninterrupted game time. Speaking of which, I hear the bed time stories coming to an end in the kids’ room, that can mean only one thing…its game time!

Be sure to stop back next week and check the view from the Cheap Seats…


Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: Memories

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s that time of year that you kiss your wife and kids goodbye on Friday after work and then hope that they welcome you back on Monday morning, with the understanding that not only will you be leaving them for a few hours Monday night, but that you will be repeating this cycle every week at least until Santa comes calling. It’s that time of year in which guys tell more lies about their high school career than any other. No, not about the wild dates or parties, but rather the Friday nights under the lights playing the greatest sport in the world. Of course I am talking about football. Football. Ahh, what a beautiful word…say it with me. Foot…ball.

Just saying the words brings back memories. Whether it be memories of childhood days of tackling hay bales dressed in football jerseys in your backyard or the pick up games every night after school played until dark. Maybe it is the feel of the slick, cool grass under the lights on a Friday night and the sounds of the band mixed with anxious parents shouting encouragement and the overexcited squeals of the cheerleaders. Or perhaps it is the days of watching games with your dad and brother while you scored countless touchdowns on the carefully constructed blanket football field on the living room floor with the sofa cushions and pillows serving as your teammates and defenders. Or maybe it is the first time your own kid strapped on the gladiator gear and ran out on the field like you and so many others before you. Then again, maybe it was the first time your child said those magic words that every father wants to hear…”Wanna watch the game with me?” No matter what it conjures up, football is responsible for a lot of memories for a lot of people.

While the NFL, NCAA and high school football seasons are just getting under way, for some of us, the season simply never ends. When you are watching football this season, just think of the memories being created before your very eyes. Somewhere, maybe in your own house, a youngster is watching Lavar Arrington or Clinton Portis show off their God given talents and thinking to himself that someday it will be him that others watch play this wonderful game. For the high schoolers, it will only be a matter of time before they are standing around the copier at work reflecting on that game in which they had 20 tackles or ran for 200 yards, passed for 300 yards or carried 6 defenders into the end zone on what was their fifth touchdown of the game. With each passing year since those glory days, the stats from those games grow exponentially to the point where you actually start to believe you were that good. That is until you try to float one of your stories to someone with whom you actually played. Some may let you tell “your” story and then after you leave that same guy will dress you down for the true player you were and then others will allow it to pass as long as you add them into the fray and credit them with a sack or a game altering play (or two). Either way, guys will lie as much about their on field exploits as they do about their “off field” exploits.

So you see, for this one time Friday night gladiator, this is the simply the greatest time of the year. When you have football starting on Thursday nights and lasting through Tuesday morning, it is hard to argue. Now, hopefully this is the season in which I get to hear those magic words and perhaps so too will those of you blessed with remote/beer/snack fetchers…err, kids. I sure hope my wife isn’t reading this.

By the way, football season is here, my brothers and sisters. Real, God’s honest football is here. I may have to stop and wipe the tears of joy from my eyes.

Be sure to stop back next week and check the view from the Cheap Seats….

— Wingman

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: Getting a Beer at the Game

Beer. Sports. To be clearer, the sports in which I am referring would be any sport that allows the other. I was recently involved in a debate regarding what I thought about the sale of beer at sports arenas. On the surface, the answer is pretty simple, yes. Beer should be sold at sporting events. Not all events though. I mean, I shouldn’t be able to buy an $8.00 draft at say the Little League World Series, for example. But on the other hand perhaps at swim meets, gymnastics, and tennis and tee ball. Wouldn’t the prospect of a beer be nice knowing that you will be sitting in the stands watching the excitement that is those sports unfold? Seriously though, the question of whether beer should be sold at sporting events, once you get past the knee-jerk response, is an intriguing one.

Those who know me know that I am a simple man with a simple life. I have a computer that does things while I am not even around it and it talks to me and tells me what I need to do to fix what I have undoubtedly done wrong. I know how to turn it on, surf the internet, and send email. (I am convinced that my computer secretly desires to be owned by someone who will use it to its full capacity. It’s like the fast sports car sitting in an old man’s garage gathering dust as an expensive collectable.) I don’t have a cell phone, beeper or PDA and my proudest electrical device is my Playstation 2 which I have for the football and golf games. I like beer. I like chicken wings. And I love my kids, my wife and sports, although not always necessarily in that order. What I don’t like are drunks or someone that effects my enjoyment of the sporting event that I have paid, in most cases, good money to see.

The first thing I did when asked this question (well actually the second) was to ask myself how much of my enjoyment of the sport I am watching does beer make up? Now to be fair, the sports in which I attend and have the option of getting a beer while at the game are: football (NFL), professional baseball (Major and Minor League Baseball), hockey (NHL and Minor League hockey) and NASCAR. Now, I also tailgate at Penn State games but I don’t include that as no alcohol is served inside Beaver Stadium. Not yet at least. In looking back over the past couple years of attending these sports, I have noted that I don’t drink beer at the games. I may have one before with some friends or even one after but I don’t have any while in the arena. Could cost have something to do with that? Sure, the $8.00 draft that costs me $2.00 across the street at the local pub is harder to swallow than the 9th inning hot dog that has been rotating inside the “wiener heater” for the last 5 hours. It could be that, but I rather think it is something else.

We have all heard about or been witness to someone at a sporting event who has had too many “wobbly pops” and has somehow convinced themselves that the people around him are not there to see the event but rather to see and hear them. Heck, maybe you can speak from personal experience in this area. Maybe these folks do it because they feel entitled since they paid so much to get there in the first place. Or perhaps watching the given sport reminds them of a lost youth when they were still playing games without the stresses of everyday life. No mortgages, no credit cards, no car payments. It could be a number of things that cause this metamorphosis. The one thing it isn’t, is ‘fun’ for those who have to deal with those who “choose to booze”.

The question of whether or not beer should be served at sporting events will always boil down to one issue and unfortunately it won’t be an ethical decision but rather one of economics. In those arenas where beer is sold, the final tally will show that beer sales comprise somewhere in the neighborhood of half of all the sales for that event. Those are staggering statistics that are impossible for franchises to ignore. In some respects, those sales keep ticket prices at a level that allow us to attend the events. Removing beer from the equation, considering the bulging salaries and costs of sports, may price many of the fans out of the game. In that respect, beer has a place, but it is as an economic necessity more than anything else. The problem that is laid at the feet of those serving beer is… is there a way that it can be controlled? There are sections of the arenas that are smoke free and some have even designated sections as “family sections” in which beer is not sold. The problem with the family section is that they are usually out of the prime area and therefore almost punish someone who wants to enjoy a game without the worries of having to deal with a fan that has had more than he should be allowed.

I understand that this question is one that could be viewed from several points of view and I can truly see most of them. Beer and sports have had a relationship since long before I can remember and it wouldn’t be too much of a reach to believe that relationship will continue for many more years. It should be known that I am all for having a beer while watching the game in the confines of your home, tailgating or in your favorite pub (with a designated driver of course) but I don’t share that sentiment within the site of the sport you are attending. When I can be convinced that beer can make my watching a sport better, or getting pie-eyed will make me a better fan, then I will change my tune. Until then, have respect to the sport, other fans and like the slogan says…Have a Coke and a smile.


Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: Farewell Mr. Tony

Say it ain’t so Satchmo. Tell us that you were kidding and that you aren’t really leaving us. Tell us that come Monday morning we won’t have to be reminded of how good we used to have it from the hours of 10am to 1pm, when we were treated to the stories of one Mr. Tony. At least lie to us and tell us that like another bald, fat guy (Frosty) that you will be back again someday. But please don’t go…

You see, The Tony Kornheiser Show is more than just another show in the ESPN Radio lineup. For many of us, it was an escape from so many things. It was an escape from the world of sports talk radio when so many hosts rely on the athletes to carry their show or they use a language featuring words such as “grill, rack or chiclets” and those have nothing to do with the Food Network. It was an escape from a time in which everything is digital or electronic — a time where it seems I am neglecting my 3 year old daughter because she doesn’t yet have a cell phone that takes pictures and plays better music than the stereo in our house. For the three hours that we spent with Tony and his cast of characters: Andy Pollin, Chadd, Phil, The Duke and of course, Maggie the notorious roast beef/trash can wrangler, all the world was right. The only problems were from the bald, orange man behind the mic as he slowly found himself being forced into the high tech world where HDTV replaced his old TV and its need for picture tubes.

When it was first announced that Kornheiser’s radio show was coming to an end, I found myself getting angry with ESPN because I was sure that they were behind this change. A change that will leave many of us now scheduling appointments or actually working during the hours of 10am and 1pm. Time that was once reserved for a man that many call their friend even though they have never met the man who has touched so many, now stands empty. The anger toward ESPN has subsided and has been replaced with a sadness that would parallel that of losing a loved one. In some sense, we are losing a loved one. It is sad, but I know more about Tony, the aforementioned cast of characters and the show’s regular guests than I know my own secretary. That shouldn’t be surprising, for that is reason that so many love the bald, fat, orange man named Mr. Tony. He offered you a look into his life and we gladly accepted it. For the three hours we spent each day, we were given life stories that we took forth and shared or applied to our own lives. Personally, I will forever remember “Old Guy Radio” anytime a song older than me comes on the radio. Never before and never again will a “sports talk” radio show have so many dimensions nor will it have such a broad-based audience. But then again, this is the sports world, where comebacks have become a way of life.

So Tony, let me voice the sentiment of myself, the staff of as well as so many of your fans, when I say “thank you”. While your show will end today, you will continue on through the many stories you shared as well as the laughs you provided us. Just remember this as you hang up the headset at the close of the show…you will be missed.

Like the true American Idol you are…how about this? Kornheiser-out.

Nah? I didn’t think so.


Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: Redskins Football

These are interesting days for the Redskins family. Unfortunately, they are not unfamiliar days as the Redskins enter another postseason in search of an identity. They are again heading into an off-season following a losing campaign. It was a season that saw the Redskins post only five victories under second year coach Steve Spurrier. This season of futility also marked the fourth straight season of non-playoff football in our nation’s capital.

Last year, we headed into the off-season with questions about the level of talent on the roster. Those questions were answered with the free agent acquisitions like Laverneous Coles, Dave Fiore, Randy Thomas and Chad Morton. Now, we head into the off-season with the biggest question of all; who will be charged with leading this team into the 2004 season? The names that have bandied about are a hodge-podge of NFL talent and leadership. Each of the candidates have upsides as well as noticeable flaws that have ultimately left them looking for work in the NFL.

No matter who the Redskins front office decides to bring in as the next coach, they will be manning the sidelines for one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. What the coach will get is a sizable set of shoes to fill (Gibbs) as well as a glut of disappointing football (see last four seasons). They will also get a roster that is pretty well stocked with talent. Talent that seems to be lacking the discipline that is required for teams to take that step to the next level. The new coach will also be joining a franchise that is still searching for an identity as well as stability under their much embroiled and controversial owner, Daniel Snyder. But most of all, what the new coach will get when they can the reigns of this team are fans that have been deprived of the domination that was once known as Redskins Football.

Redskin fans are a fickle bunch but that could be expected considering where this franchise once stood and where it is now. What was once considered to be one of the premier coaching positions in the NFL has become lackluster. The fans are hungry for success. After the last helping of Redskins football offered up by the Spurrier regime, the morale of the fans is at a disheartening level. But alas, the sunshine has poked through the cloudy skies that have hung over the Redskins Nation, as Spurrier has left town for the warm weather and golf courses. This has opened the door for the return of the traditional, smash mouth style of football that was once played by the Burgundy and Gold.

It has come time for the Redskins to step back up to the table with the rest of the NFL heavyweights and bring in a coach that will pull this team together. Already the Redskins are in a division that has head coaches Bill Parcells (Dallas), Andy Reid (Philadelphia) that add instant credibility to their teams. Now that it appears the New York Giants will be hiring disciplinarian, Tom Coughlin, the Redskins will need to net themselves a sizable fish if they want to try and keep up with the Joneses (namely Jerry).

I said it before that these are interesting times to be a member of the Redskins family as the winds of change continue swirling around Redskin Park as they have for several years. The once impervious Redskins franchise is not strong enough to survive in its current state. This off-season is critical for this franchise to start and rebuild the legacy that was set forth by those who will forever be what Redskins Football is all about.


Be sure to check next week for a view from the Cheap Seats…

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: Tribe without a Chief

Well, here we were getting ready for the off-season and starting to discuss what moves the team would make or whom we would be looking to draft in April. Then the news came that Steve Spurrier had called it quits. After his second year at the helm of his first NFL team, the Ole Ballcoach decided to shut it down. There will be all sorts of speculation as to what his reasons were for his sudden but not unexpected departure. The real surprise surrounding his leaving was when it happened and the way that it happened. The coach that two seasons ago came into Washington as the big dog in college football left town today with his tail firmly tucked between his legs.

Spurrier made the jump from the college ranks, where he found great success, to the NFL after being courted by Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder. Spurrier had a great résumé coming into his first season but as with all coaches that make that step up, the real question would be how he handled the transition from leaving the college ranks, where he was undoubtedly at the top of the food chain and coming into the world of the highly paid professional athlete. The first issue that was called into question was Spurrier’s work ethic as he made comments that he would still be adhering to the work schedule he implemented during his glory days at the University of Florida. He led all to believe that his time would be still be used to golf and then he would work on the football side of things. Spurrier did little to help himself in his first year as he loaded his coaching staff as well as his roster with so many Florida alums that the Redskins were dubbed “the Gatorskins”. After a disappointing first season, Spurrier lost his defensive coordinator, Marvin Lewis, to the head coaching job with Cincinnati. So what did that result in? Just another opportunity for Spurrier to add another Floridian to the coaching staff in George Edwards. The roster did get the much needed overhaul and the cache of former Gators was jettisoned in favor of true NFL talent. This season, the second with Spurrier and his vaunted “Fun and Gun” was to be different.
In several ways this season was different. Many of the players were different, the expectations were different and the product that the Redskins would put on the field was different. The one thing that wasn’t different and should have been was the coaching staff. Call it whatever you want, whether it is the lack of continuity in the franchise or a meddlesome owner or countless other reasons, the one thing that was abundantly clear was a lack of coaching from Spurrier and his staff. While I realize that the players play the game, it is still the coach’s job to get the team prepared and that always seemed to be lacking during the Spurrier regime. It was quite evident that this team lacked focus and good coaches don’t allow that to happen. This was viewed by many including myself to be a major reason his stint as Redskins coach has ended prematurely.

Now, I was one of Spurrier’s biggest supporters but perhaps it was for the wrong reasons. I wanted Spurrier to succeed so that all the Snyder detractors would have to admit that perhaps he (Snyder) wasn’t just “a spoiled rich kid with a new toy.” I hoped that Spurrier would be the answer to all the questions’ us fans have asked since the days of post-season births each season faded away. I didn’t care for Spurrier or his style when his Gators were beating my Georgia Bulldogs every season. However, when he chose to lead our beloved Redskins, I was willing to eat some humble pie in exchange for a taste of the post-season and the beating of the Cowboys. I wanted Spurrier to stick it out so that this franchise would find some continuity and with it recapture the pride and respect that it once had under Joe Gibbs and Jack Kent Cooke. There is a saying that “in the absence of the truth, people will accept anything.” Well, that applies to me. I was one of those people, a dreamer so to speak that believed this team would turn it around under Spurrier and they would make him a winner in the NFL. I love the Redskins and I look forward to each season with the hopes of a school boy, hoping that the new season would be that one magical season that all fans dream of. You see, my heart lies with the Redskins. I expect the same from the players that wear the burgundy and gold. I also expect it from the coaches that are given the opportunity to add their names to the list those who have led this team into battle. Like so many of my fellow Redskin fans, I have committed my life to this franchise. It is unfortunate that Steve Spurrier couldn’t even commit to the contract that he signed.

So now, we close the chapter of Redskins football that will forever be viewed as the Steve Spurrier experiment and we look to the future as we await the next Chief. Perhaps the next one will be the one that helps ease the pain that we, as fans, have endured since we last were able to call ourselves “Super Bowl Champions”.

Be sure to come back next week and check out the view from the Cheap Seats . . .


Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: Supporting Spurrier

When this season started, the Redskins were not expected to win the Super Bowl. Nor were they expected to even make a run deep into the playoffs. They weren’t considered among the favorites to win the NFC East. Hell, they were considered by many to have had a successful season if they went 8-8. This was accepted for several reasons, mainly because the Redskins have a coach and a starting quarterback in just their second NFL season.

The NFL pundits had it right from the start. This team with all the free agent acquisitions would go through their growing pains and they would struggle under the current coaching regime because they lacked the experience necessary to carry the players through the grueling seventeen week NFL season. The Redskins coaching staff is the most inexperienced coaching staff in the NFL. The margin between them and the next staff is frightening. But then again, it does explain the team’s current situation.

Steve Spurrier was brought into Washington with all the pomp and circumstance that could be mustered. He said all the right things and promised to return the Redskins to the playoffs. He said that if in three years he couldn’t turn this team around the way he thought it should be, he would turn over the reigns to someone else and he would head back to his beloved golf courses. He promised to bring the famed “Fun-N-Gun” to the NFL and make Redskins football exciting once again. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the end his second season at the helm of the Redskins. Spurrier was given a team in his first season that was full of leftovers and dead weight from previous regimes and salary cap mistakes. After plodding through that season without the weapons needed to implement the prolific “Fun-N-Gun”, the off-season was filled with so many free agent signings and roster moves that Redskins fans were constantly watching the sports tickers to see the next move made by the front office. The team that would be fielded in 2003 had the makings of a good ball club. Here is where the coaching staff behind Spurrier has failed him.

When Spurrier left the sunny beaches of Florida and headed to Washington he brought with him many of the coaches that had helped him attain the incredible success he had at the collegiate level. Initially this move makes sense because they know the system and each other as well they should. It also speaks to the loyalty that Spurrier has for his coaching staff. Now, as we close in on the end of the second and worst season for Spurrier, he has seen the error in bringing such little experience to the next level. He has stated that he will be making changes in his coaching staff. Hopefully this means bringing in some much needed NFL coaching experience which will only help Spurrier continue to mature as an NFL coach. Spurrier is not a stupid man and he knows that his team needs help. That help will be sought in the off-season and it will be very interested to see who will entertain thoughts of coaching under Spurrier.

The fans of the Redskins have grown restless with the team. First it was the hatred for owner Dan Snyder. Now it is the calls for Spurrier’s head because he has failed to deliver this team to the playoffs in his second season. Now you can blame Spurrier or you can blame Snyder for all the Redskins misfortunes but don’t act like these disappointing seasons are being taken lying down. I don’t know if you can find an owner and a coach of the same team that are as competitive or focusing on winning more that Snyder and Spurrier. Sure, the results have not show up in the category that means the most: wins and losses, but that doesn’t mean they won’t either. Spurrier asked for three years and maybe that was a naïve on his part, but I have to respect a man who knows that if isn’t working, don’t waste the time of those around you. I refuse to call (as many fellow fans have) Spurrier a failure as an NFL coach. I think the comparisons between he and coaches like Bill Parcells or Joe Gibbs are simply unfair. Spurrier is in his second season without a supporting cast of coaches while the Gibbs we compare him to was the one who had years of experience. The Parcells comparison is unfair as he is something that may never be seen again. Call him and the success he is having with the Cowboys the exception to the rule.

While many have seen enough of Steve Spurrier, I for one, am willing to ride this storm to see if Spurrier can bring this team back to where we all want it to be. If he can’t do it, I trust that Snyder will get the best candidate that money can buy to fill Spurrier’s shoes. I will give Spurrier the time he asked for if for no other reason, to get the much needed continuity for a franchise that is in desperate need of some.

Be sure to come back next week to check the view from the Cheap Seats…


Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: Dallas Week

It’s Dallas Week. It used to be that nothing else mattered to players, coaches and fans alike. Losing seasons have been forgotten because the Redskins beat the hated Cowboys. In seasons that the Redskins swept the Cowboys, all was right in the world. Some would even stand for a two-win season as long as those wins were against the self-proclaimed America’s Team.

It all started on October 9th, 1960, when the Redskins and Cowboys squared off in their first of eighty-seven matchups. That game, played in Washington’s Griffith Stadium, featured a Redskins team that wasn’t expect to win any games that season. While they didn’t know it then, this game set the standard for all the games that followed. The underdog Redskins dominated the heavily favored Cowboys and won the inaugural game, 26-14. Then there was the October 8th, 1973, tilt between the teams that by that time were firmly entrenched in this rivalry. In that game, the Redskins were victorious 14-7 with the highlight of the game being Ken Houston’s stopping Cowboys Walt Garrison at the goal line late in the game to preserve the victory.

There are always games that are described as ones that “the records can be thrown out the window when the teams meet”. The Redskins and Cowboys are such a matchup. These two NFL heavyweights have met an astounding eighty-seven times with the Cowboys holding a sizable advantage, 51-34-2. The Cowboys have dominated the Redskins as of late, dropping only one game to the Redskins (in 2002) since 1997. These storied franchises have combined to win 8 Super Bowls and 31 NFC East titles. They have also combined for 39 playoff appearances, though neither team has seen the post-season since they both made it in 1999.

A true rivalry only exists if both teams remain competitive. Looking at the overall win-loss record between the teams and recent dominance by the Cowboys, one would have good reason to question whether the rivalry really still exists. In fact, some of the players on both teams have been quoted as saying they didn’t feel the rivalry was as strong as it was in years past. On the other hand, there are players such as Chris Samuels, Lavar Arrington and even Patrick Ramsey who have made their positions perfectly clear regarding the Cowboys. They hate them and losing to them is simply unacceptable. Even Steve Spurrier knows the tradition that exists between these teams. At his first press conference as the coach of the Redskins he stated that one of the things he wanted to do was beat the Cowboys. Having one of the biggest Redskin fans and Cowboy haters signing your paycheck carries some added pressure to beat their long time rival. In fact, after the Redskins handed the Cowboys their only loss in this rivalry last December, Spurrier gave the game ball to Dan Snyder.

While it may seem that some of the heat has been lost from this rivalry, perhaps you aren’t looking in the right place. While some of the current players may have forgotten all the history between these teams, we the fans will never forget it and thus the rivalry will never end. Just like the Hatfield’s and McCoys’, Redskins and Cowboys will continue to be one of the greatest rivalries of all times. Now, something has to be done about tipping the win-loss scale back in the Redskins favor.

Be sure to come back next week to check the view from the Cheap Seats….


Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: What happened to football as I once knew it?

What happened to football as I once knew it? So much has changed over the years and yet, so much has remained the same. The trials and tribulations of being a Redskin fan have been documented before. The changes in the league, whether it is the salary cap, free agency or expansion, have also been documented and dissected. What really bothers me is that while the Redskins organization has been admittedly mired in more controversy than the last days of the Clinton regime, an overwhelming number of “fans” have done what many more feel is unthinkable. They have turned on this team like a rabid dog.

Now, I live in the middle of Steelers and Eagles country. If not for my brother, Redskin fans in my neck of the woods are simply not to be found. I have friends that follow a number of teams including the Bengals, Packers, Titans, Dolphins, Panthers, Vikings, Cowboys, 49ers and of course the Steelers and Eagles (though I don’t have many of these). There are other teams that I have left out but my point is that we come from different angles when it comes to our teams. There was a time that the only time the Bengals, once a Super Bowl team, were atop their division was if you looked at it upside down. Now they are again seemingly headed back to the top or at least are in the right direction. The Dolphins? Their late season swoon should start any time now and their fans will admit they start holding their breath once this time of year rolls around. The 49ers? If ever a team was in worse shape than our Redskins, it is them. The Steelers have thrown just about everybody than can under the bus (not that one) this season but that is because are panicking and on top of that, their domination of Ohio has come to an end. And the Eagles? Hell, they even boo Santa Claus off the field. There is no helping them.

My grandmother used to tell me that behind every storm is good weather. Well, if that is the case, the Redskins and their fans had better pack plenty of sunscreen. Of course, that means nothing to those who would rather turn their backs or heap the criticism on to a team that doesn’t need anymore. This is one area that certainly has changed in my mind. Living here in Central Pennsylvania, you hear season after season of hope and tons of loyalty. No matter how bad the seasons go for either team, their fans support them with unwavering devotion. For the longest time, I thought all fans were that way. My brother and I were that way about the Redskins and all my friends were that way about their teams. Sadly, though I started to realize that an alarming number of so-called “fans” of the Redskins were only fans because the team was winning Super Bowls with the Hogs and Coach Gibbs. Hell, it is pretty easy to call yourself a fan of a team that dominates a sport like no other every has or will. But once their run was over and the bad weather settled over our nation’s capital, those “fans” started to turn. It was slow at first, but after Daniel Snyder took over and the media started their quest to ouster the young owner, the uprising was born. Since then, every move has been criticized and analyzed to the point where the front office was being graded even on their moves in the restroom.

I have asked fans of other teams about Redskin fans and their seemingly overcritical views of their own team. I had hoped that my thoughts on this were being blow out of proportion in my own mind by a few encounters with Redskin loyalists. That theory has been proven wrong as it appears we (Redskin fans) are viewed on the whole as egotistical, spoiled fans that seem to fold like an accordion when faced with the normal tough times that come with being a fan of any team. That smacks of irony considering the team’s performance the last few seasons. That doesn’t excuse fans for giving off this attitude. I have never been more disgusted to be a Redskin fan as I am currently. The reason is not because of the team’s performance on or off the field, nor is it the job being done by the front office. No. I am disgusted by the attitudes of those of you who like to call yourselves fan of one of the greatest franchises in all of sports but can not resist the urge to kick them when they are down.

I know what argument will be raised next; it will be the one that as a fan of a team you have the right to criticize that team, either fairly or unfairly. That may be true, but some may view that as a lack of loyalty to a franchise that gave us so many memories. I agree that fans have the right to question and discuss their teams but that needs to be done with an open mind. And how about throwing in a fair comparison once in a while. Things will never be like there were under Jack Kent Cooke and Joe Gibbs. That’s what memories are for and for those who were able to enjoy those seasons, saw something truly special. Those days are over and the times have changed. Sadly, the most noticeable change has been the support this franchise has or should I say doesn’t have.

While I realize that this will do little to change the views of those of you who seem to thrive on seeing this team struggle but for others, I hope you will take at look at the kind of fan you have become. Not only to other fans of other teams but especially to those who you share a special bond with…the Redskins family.


Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats

Cheap Seats: A time to give Thanks

It’s that time of year again. It’s the time for giving thanks for all that we have and all that we have been given. It’s for spending time with family, friends and loved ones. It’s time for…. All right, enough of the Norman Rockwell and Hallmark moments. It’s time we talk about what this time of year really means.

Thanksgiving is the start of it all. In my eyes, it is the opening week of the “second season”. Not only does this signal the start of the holiday season but it also signals that the NFL postseason is almost upon us. And let us not forget that college football is headed into their magical time of year…bowl season. That is only a mere three weeks after Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving you get it all. You get football and a long weekend (most of us) but more importantly you get the food. It is a weekend that had to the favorite of Elvis on account of all the turkey that is consumed. But in addition to the food, did I mention the football? Now, in all fairness we also get parades in the morning but that is for the kids so that when the noontime kickoffs roll around, we can say to them that they watched television all morning and they need a break. Nice game plan there, fellas! (It had to be a football fan that thought of having the Macy’s Parade at that time.)

The first step in enjoying Thanksgiving Day and the football is to get past the fact that the Cowboys and Lions play someone every year. If those games don’t strike your fancy, there are always a number of college games to partake in. Sometimes, the beloved Redskins make a Turkey Day appearance, by which their performance can and has been known to ruin an entire Thanksgiving meal. It has also been known to cause several altercations that ultimately lead to someone either getting so mad they leave the family function with threats of not returning for Christmas or someone ends up knocking someone into the dessert table. All in all it is a good thing when the Redskins do not play on Thanksgiving Day. I personally watch three or four games on Thanksgiving. Well, I should say that I am in front of the television while three or four games are played. I say that because after saddling up to the table for the first of two Thanksgiving Day meals, I usually pass out with the other men in attendance whilst the digestive system goes into overdrive.

The final key for my getting the most out of Thanksgiving Day as well as the entire holiday season is to drink all day. Now, I don’t recommend getting as drunk as a skunk but rather a nice slow buzz that starts early Thanksgiving morning (after coffee of course) and if you are lucky it runs right through the New Year. I have been implementing that strategy since I got married and thus far the holiday seasons have been tolerable. The other tip, always carry some Gas-X or your personal choice of a gas reliever. Remember you’re eating turkey, not a green salad. You have to be prepared for the after effects of such a meal. If you are a “double diner,” meaning that you have multiple meals on Thanksgiving, I have two final nuggets of advice: pace yourself and don’t be afraid to go with the elastic waistband and for the love all that is sacred, don’t tuck in your shirt.

Seriously, this Thanksgiving, take a step back and look at all that you have and all that you have been given. Allow all the talk about the state of the Redskins to rest for the day. Take a moment to give thanks and let those around you know how much they really mean. With all that goes on in this world, don’t ever assume that you will always have the chance to make things right with family or friends.

So to you my friends, have a great Thanksgiving and be sure to come back next week to check the view from the Cheap Seats……..

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

Categories Posted In Archive: The Cheap Seats