- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2001

Anyone for changing the name of Byrd Stadium to Friedgen Field?

There hasn't been this kind of excitement swirling around Maryland football since Lou Saban had his oil changed here in '66.

In case you missed it, by the way, Saban, who turned 80 yesterday, recently signed on as interim coach at Division III Chowan College in Murfreesboro, N.C. There are now just four teams that Lou hasn't coached: the Calgary Stampeders, the Iowa Barnstormers, the Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo Mustangs and the Churchill High School Bulldogs.

Guess Dan Snyder can cross Saban off his interim coach list.

But don't forget, Sid Gillman and Hank Stram are still out there.

In his weekly column for ESPN.com, noted pigskin expert Hunter S. Thompson said, "A scoreless tie [in tomorrow night's Redskins-Cowboys game] is possible, but the odds against it are 500- or 600-to-1."
Actually, Mr. Gonzo Man, the odds are quite a bit longer than that. The NFL's last scoreless tie occurred Nov. 7, 1943, when the Giants and Lions traded goose eggs for four quarters. Since that fateful day, 9,382 regular-season games have been played, so the odds of Washington and Dallas both coming up empty are at least 9,382 to 1.

Still, I wouldn't bet against them.

Footnote: Helping to keep that game in '43 pointless in every sense of the word was ex-Georgetown star Augie Lio, who missed three field goals for Detroit in rainy and muddy conditions.

True story. A guy I know who runs a law firm told me one of Snyder's Ticket People was calling his office incessantly, trying to get the firm to buy some club seats. My friend finally had to tell him, "Look, pal, you're wasting your time. We're really not interested, OK?"
A while later, he found out the Ticket Person was still pestering the office with calls. So he got on the phone again, and this time said, in his most lawyerly voice: "Let me make myself perfectly clear: If you don't stop harassing us, right now, we'll sue you. And in case you forgot, we are a law firm. Suing is what we do."
Only then did Snyder's operative agree to cease and desist.

That's how Dan the Man does business, folks. His basic philosophy is, I am the owner of the Washington Redskins, and you will give me your money.

The Sunday Column has a bone to pick with Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post Style section the Man Who Would Be Kornheiser. In his weekly "Bandwagon" column Tuesday, Mean Gene took a poke at The Washington Times' sports coverage, saying, "The Washington news media were bending over backward [after the Redskins' loss to the Giants] to find signs of hope and progress [actual Washington Times banner headline: 'Almost close']."
Weingarten must be confusing us with his own paper, which all but issued knee pads to its Redskins correspondents when Dan Snyder bought the club. As everyone knows, it's The Times' sports section that's the uncompromising one (actual banner headlines after the previous two Redskins defeats: "Road kill" and "Disgusting." The "Almost close" head was meant to be facetious, Geno, not fawning. (We've always left the "bending over" to you Posties.)

I do sympathize with Weingarten, though. His "Badwagon" column was buried on page C7 last week, and who knows? the next installment might be keeping "Hints from Heloise" company on C12. That is, if Heloise doesn't object.

One more thing, Gene-arino. Contrary to what you wrote in an earlier "Badwagon" effort, the '76 Tampa Bay Bucs are not the only team in NFL history "that finished a season winless." In fact, the league has had many winless teams, including the '82 Colts (0-8-1), the '60 Cowboys (0-11-1), the '43 and '44 Cardinals (0-10 both seasons), the '42 Lions (0-11), the '28 and '29 Dayton Triangles (0-6, 0-7) and assorted other clubs in the '20s.
But, hey, you were almost close you know what I mean?

Highly recommended: NFL Films' hour-long documentary on George Allen, "Winning Is Living and Losing Is Dying," which airs Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Love him or hate him and most Redskins fans loved him Allen was a fascinating guy. Daughter Jennifer Allen, one of the interviewees, says George would turn down White House dinner invitations during the football season because he was just too busy. Once, she claims, he brought a stopwatch with him on a family vacation in the Bahamas and used it to time "some natives [he had spotted] who were unusually fit. One guy he brought back and had him try out for the team."

Winning, losing, living, dying Allen was a very black-and-white type. Former Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel talks about the time he and George were eating in a restaurant, and George pointed to the food on Gabriel's plate and said, "You know, that roast beef is a loser."
Come again, Coach?
"All the winners are out there alive," Allen explained. "They're walking around eating hay and giving milk. That roast beef is a loser."

One of the most interesting things about the documentary was finding out that there was more to Allen's famous saying than just "Every time you lose you die a little." The full text (as delivered by George) goes like this: "Every time you lose you die a little bit. You die inside, a portion of you. Not all of your organs. Maybe just your liver. And every time you win you're reborn."

Maybe just your liver. They don't make 'em like George anymore.

Here's what I loved about major league baseball this year: Not only was the record for home runs in a season broken, the record for singles in a season was broken (Ichiro Suzuki had 192). Yes, friends, there's still room for the bingle in this homer-crazed world.

Speaking of homers, did you notice Mark McGwire finished the year with 29 but batted only .187? I wouldn't be surprised if that's a record, too for round-trippers by a sub-.200 hitter.
(Rob Deer hit 25 homers while batting .179 for Detroit in '91, but I can't remember anybody hitting as many as McGwire.)

The immortal Dave Kingman, of course, nearly batted under .200 when he led the National League with 37 dingers in '82. His average? A lusty .204.

The Atlanta Braves, with 10 straight division titles (plus five trips to the World Series and one win), have had the best decade for a pro team since the 1956-66 Celtics (nine NBA titles, one loss in the finals). In terms of sustained excellence, that is. (Note: I'm not counting the unresolved '94 season, which was ended by a strike.)

And finally, best of luck to Tom George, American's new AD. Frankly, though, I'm not sure David Lloyd George could rescue the AU athletic program.

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