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The 2014 NFL Season in Preview
Prognostications on the worlds of football and politics

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III

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Jim Geraghty

August 22: The Washington Post editorial board announces that they will no longer use the local team’s name, “Redskins.” The sports page announces they will continue to use the team’s name.

September 7: The Washington Redskins begin their season by beating the Houston Texans, 28–14. The Washington Post editorial board greets the victory with the headline, “Hail to . . . Some Guys,” and calls upon Washington’s fan base to greet touchdowns with moments of silence to symbolize the silencing of oppressed peoples in the United States and around the world. The sports page, defying the editorial board’s lead, greets readers with the giant-print headline, “HOW ’BOUT THOSE REDSKINS?”

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The Minnesota Vikings defeat the St. Louis Rams 17–10, spurring national political talk-show hosts to attribute the loss to the Rams’ release of openly gay defensive end Michael Sam, even though the Rams’ defensive linemen who weren’t cut managed to sack the Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel five times.

September 14: The Washington Redskins improve to 2–0, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars, 23–10. Despite the newfound enthusiasm in Washington for the team’s hot start, the Post editorial board denounces the sports section for continuing to use the term Redskins.

September 15: The columnists on the Washington Post sports page denounce the editorial board for getting wrapped up in politically correct posing when the world is facing serious issues and threatening problems, such as the durability of the ligaments in RGIII’s right knee.

September 21: The St. Louis Rams lose to the Dallas Cowboys and drop to 0–3. National political media insist “homophobia” is the key element in the team’s slow start and the season-ending injury to starting quarterback Sam Bradford in training camp was a non-factor.

October 5: Earlier in the year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted a major error in his decision to give just a two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after charges for third-degree aggravated assault on his then-fiancee. Goodell suddenly announces part of rebuilding trust with the league’s female fans is “an even more high-profile focus” on breast-cancer awareness month. In addition to the pink cleats, towels, and gloves, all teams will wear all-pink uniforms — both home and away — as well as pink helmets. In addition, all footballs will be pink, and the fields will be painted pink as well.

The resulting all-pink-on-all-pink menagerie makes for difficult viewing for both fans and players: For the first time in NFL history, no touchdowns are scored in any week five game. The first touchdown is scored in week six by the Seattle Seahawks, who are playing a game at Boise State University on the bright blue Smurf turf” because their regular home field, CenturyLink Field, is booked for Washington State’s first Legal Marijuana and Hemp Product Festival.

October 12: Over the first four weeks of the season, Cleveland Browns backup quarterback, “Johnny Football,” a.k.a. Johnny Manziel, grows increasingly vocal about his frustration at being the backup. His frustration boils over in week five’s home game against the Steelers, when after halftime he leaves the locker room to throw the ball around with some Cleveland fans in the parking lot outside the stadium. When starter Brian Hoyer is injured on the opening drive of the second half, the Cleveland coaching staff cannot find Manziel. Luckily for them, Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James is in a Browns uniform taping a Nike commercial. He enters the game in place of Manziel, leading the Browns to two second-half scoring drives, and the Browns win, 21–20. Informed that his team won without him, Manziel responds with the “money fingers” salute.

October 19:  The week brings tough losses for the New York Jets, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and Houston Texans. Coincidentally, the preceding week the Internal Revenue Service announced audits of Jets owner Woody Johnson, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Saints owner Tom Benson, and Texans owner Bob McNair, all of whom are big-time donors to the Republican party. The IRS and Obama administration officials insist that the audits are strictly coincidental.

October 23: In his last White House event before the midterm elections, the Washington press corps eagerly waits to hear whether the president will unveil dramatic news about the fight against ISIS, Russia’s increasing aggression in Eastern Ukraine, the recent bellicose rhetoric from Iran’s government about its nuclear program, the reports that communicable diseases have been found in unattended children coming across America’s southern border, or recent skirmishes between the Chinese and Japanese air forces in the South China Sea. Instead, President Obama is joined in the White House press room by Michael Sam, who was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad in September after his outright release from the St. Louis Rams. “We’ve come too far and fought too hard,” says the president, tilting back his head, “to continue to treat our best and brightest as second-class citizens” because of their sexual orientation. “History will take a dim view of the NFL and its failure of inclusivity. It is an American tragedy,” one “that touches the heart of every American.”

The president leaves without taking questions. Sam remains and, in response to reporters’ questions, lays out a plan to contain advancing Russian-backed separatist forces in Ukraine with a flanking maneuver. Defense analysts applaud the plan’s determination, but aren’t sure the forces Sam suggests deploying are fast or large enough.



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