It was an embarrassing showing all the way around for the Redskins franchise before a national audience on Monday Night Football. First, there was the way the team got manhandled on the field. The Steelers showed the Redskins the meaning of the word “physical” in that 23-6 loss.
Then, far worse, was the showing of Redskin fans at FedEx Field. It was startling to see the number of Steeler fans in the stadium. You first really noticed it halfway through the first quarter, when Pittsburgh players urged Steeler fans on, and you saw a huge contingent of fans waving the gold “Terrible Towels.” It was clear then that the Redskins would have to fight to keep the crowd in the game in their own home stadium. They didn’t, and in the last four minutes of the game, the entire lower bowl of FedEx Field consisted primarily of Steeler fans.
In Washington, it is obvious that that Redskin fans are many and are passionate — within the context of Washington, hardly a passionate sports town. Like their team, Steeler fans showed Redskin fans the meaning of the word passionate Monday night. Redskin coaches and players alike were taken aback by the Pittsburgh presence in the stands.
“You know, I’ll be honest with you, it was kind of surprising there were a lot of Steelers fans in the crowd,” Jim Zorn said. “It reminded me of the Super Bowl in 2005 when they were giving out those yellow towels and stuff like that. I don’t think it affected us any, but it was unusual to see so many yellow towels.”
“I was surprised to see as many Pittsburgh Steelers fans in our stadium tonight,” Jason Campbell said. “You know, there was a lot of them and I was definitely surprised to see that many of them in our home stadium.”
One Redskin fan who was in the house was District Mayor Adrian Fenty, with his two sons. The mayor has said he wants to bring the Redskins back into the city, but he said last night that goal is a long way from being realized.
“I think about what it would be like to have a game like this in Washington,” Fenty said. “I think everyone knows that is going to take a lot of time to plan and to happen. The fans out here are great, but I think they would even have more energy in the city.”
And maybe it would seem like a home game then.
I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM on Friday, Nov. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com