- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 22, 2009

RIVALRY NOT SO HEATED ANYMORE

The Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at 1 p.m. Sunday at brand new Cowboys Stadium. It’s the early, “regional” time slot on Fox and maybe nothing more than that. Or it might be another sign that the NFL’s best rivalry is heading someplace else.

The 1 p.m. games are shown in the competing teams’ markets and maybe a few other places. The 4:15 p.m. “national” games are just that, beamed to much larger audiences. Then there are Sunday and Monday night’s big-ticket games, the occasional Ravens-Browns clunker notwithstanding. (As for NFL Network, get into homes for free and we’ll talk.)

The more attractive the game, the later the game, at least in theory. And the less attractive the game… well, you get it. This will be just the second 1 p.m. Cowboys-Redskins game since 2002. The last time was 2006. They also met on Sunday night that season.

The teams are scheduled for a Sunday night game Dec. 27, but it’s a flex game and NBC can ditch it for a better matchup. For the first time this decade, the Redskins and Cowboys might not play at least one nationally televised game in a season.

Except for 2007, when both teams made the playoffs, neither has done much lately. For a long time, the Cowboys dominated the series. Redskins fans still loathe the Cowboys, but signs indicate that Dallas fans derive more joy from beating the Philadelphia Eagles. And before playing the New York Giants in September, veteran Dallas linebacker Bradie James said: “I know the old guys and the ex-players like to say the Redskins were their biggest rivals. And when we play the Redskins, it’ll be a rivalry, too. But since I’ve been here, we’ve developed a rivalry with the Giants.”

A lot has changed for the Redskins since the good old days. Maybe the one thing we always could believe in has changed, too.

HE SAID WHAT?

“You’re sure it’s not Borat’s older brother? … If they ever make a movie about Haddadi, I’m going to get Sacha Baron Cohen to play the part.”

- Los Angeles Clippers TV analyst Michael Smith on Hamed Haddadi, Memphis’ Iranian-born center

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