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Tear it up boys.

ExtremeSkins Fan View: Embrace the Belief

By Arthur Mills


November 10, 2005

Just prior to the New York Giants game, a blog writer on another fan site put all his reservations aside and predicted a dominating Redskins victory.

Like most of us, he had spent the early part of the season talking about the Redskins chances against each opponent, suggesting victory was possible if only some conditions were met. Conditions like if we tackled better or we made some big plays or we limited our propensity for the self-destructive mistake.

In predicting a Redskins victory against the Giants, he essentially took a step off the ledge as a fan allowing himself to cast all doubt, and perhaps reason, aside in realizing his favorite team was ready to compete. As an ExtremeSkins fan you know the danger caused by the hurt of disappointment when you dare to believe in this team without reservation.

Some might say a score-which-shall-not-be-spoken loss to the Giants made mock his prediction. I say--from the safety of a 17-10 victory against the Eagles--it was a prediction we should all rally around.

Not the outcome, of course, as that would be silly.

Rather, the belief.

Embrace the relationship.

It's time to. It's alright to. As Redskin fans, we must.

It's okay to believe again. It's okay to see the good again as even with the obvious flaws the good has begun to redefine this team. I wrote in an earlier Fan View column that we, as fans, have become reliably practical over the years of disappointment.

Something reflex in us forced us to cope with a losing team by diligently focusing on the positives of that team while never fully being able to embrace the team because doing so most often led to being let down.

For years the Redskins can be said to be better defined by the traits of losing teams. Undisciplined play, foolish penalties, the inexplicable drop, the ill-timed poor throw, the inexcusable missed tackle, the devastating fumble all conspiring together ultimately ending hope. Lately, hope has left us pretty early in the season.

Clinton Portis stretches for a pass, on a play that held up despite a replay challenge by the Eagles. (Don Wright Photo)

Many of these traits remain a key, limiting component of these Washington Redskins. Despite this, the reason to embrace this team is because the ingredients for a winning team are more obviously apparent than at any point in a decade.

These components go beyond the individual talent and scheme helping create productive offensive and defensive units. The components that are so encouraging are those far less measurable in nature, yet no less obvious.

There's an emerging strength of character in this team.

There's a toughness and professionalism in this team.

There's a want-to in this team.

A seriousness. A fight. A unity. Heck, maybe a synergy or something.

When this team absolutely, positively must have someone step up and make a play, someone does. A score-which-shall-not-be-mentioned loss to the Giants may have caused you to question what you'd seen in the becoming of this group of Redskins.

Such a loss was generally the beginning of the end for Redskin teams the past decade. The response against the Eagles in winning a tough game against a talented, capable, equally-angry team signals a tangible change in direction with this franchise that may only have been possible after the dark moment in New York.

That loss against the Giants is the beginning of the beginning for this team.

As ExtremeSkins fans, there is a clear hesitancy to throw the full weight of our faith into this team. Where we'd focused on the good during the bad times, with many, there's a clear attachment to the bad now that things are starting to get good.

This is natural for a fan base bitten so hard, so frequently by heightened expectations. Those expectations were artificial in nature, created through conversation in the media, reinforced with each press conference bringing in a new free agent, positioned in the frenzy of new systems rotating through here, but never, ever, actually drawn from positive aspects on the football field.

These expectations are not those expectations. Don't be afraid to embrace these.

There's a belief among the members of this team in what this team can become that goes beyond words to undeniable deeds.

We are winning at home creating an advantage. We are beating the teams that have owned us for years. We are making the plays that win games. We're beating and controlling good teams.

We responded to a horrible game with pride.

This team knows what it can be. So should we.

Are you ready to believe? Discuss the Redskins' prospects this season onExtremeSkins.com, the only fan-hosted team message board in the NFL.

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Unfortunatly, years of crappy football here still taints my mind. I'm still nervous before games, and I'm still holding my breath that something bad will happen.

Considering that it does still happen still validates my fears.

But, one thing I do know is that this team won't quit. That is a good feeling.


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Nice sentiment, but the 'Skins aren't quite there yet.

We will have to scratch and claw to continue to win. There are NO games on the schedule that we should be confident about. OK, maybe Arizona. :silly:


Depends on where you think there is, Zoony. :).

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Depends on where you think there is, Zoony. :).

'there' being a time, not a place... a time for us 'skins fans to throw the full weight of our emotion into this team.... right?

I remember very clearly doing that during the superbowl years. I remember the shock and disbelief of the 88 season when we started 6-6... utter disbelief. Similar to when I was 6 and found out Santa wasn't real. Similar, I'm sure, to how the average pats fan feels this season. I should also mention here, that more often than not, I was never let down. It was o.k. to hold out my arms and fall backwards... the 'skins were always there to catch.

Years of Turneritis, Schotty play, and SOS have me playing things very close to the vest, however...

I like your column ARt, and I agree with the sentiment... I think the mentality of this team is so far removed from what we've come to know over the past 15 years, I think many of us are scratching our ba##s, wondering how to act. :)

But I'm just not 'there' yet... we are halfway thru the season at 5-3, and there is a lot of football left to be played. One thing, to me, is clear however. We seem to be a team destined to play every game close, scratching and clawing to the end, squeeking out the victories. I'll take it. But I'm not mortgaging the farm for a seat on the bus, if you know what I mean.

But ask me again after the Dallas game. ;)

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Art has hit on something, and as this team continues to win many of you will hopefully look back and say, ah, Art called it.

This team is a winning team, and is doing things to get better. The problem with some of us is that it has been so long since we've seen a decent team that we don't know what one looks like.

This team is becoming a very good team - just stand back and watch...

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I want to believe- but after so many years of disappointment it's hard to. Every time I see Portis handed the ball I worry he is going to run into a wall at the line of scrimmage. Every time a Redskin goes down, I half expect the ball to come flying loose. Every time I see a good quarterback on the other side pass the ball, I nervously anticipate flying into the arms of the opponent.

It'll take a lot more winning for me to get over this.

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Nice job Art.

It will come back to all of us eventually (with Joe in charge) some will just take more time than others. In particular those who weren't around during our glory years. I really feel for those who have never known the feeling of completely dominating a league like we did. The fact is that probably won't happen again what with free agency and the cap but the nostalgia for those days makes it a little easier for me to believe. I have had a little smirk when talking football with friends this year that I haven't had for years.

Fight for Old DC!


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I feel like we could be on the verge of something special - but it's such a fine line we walk every week that it's hard to "embrace the belief." My heart is still keeping an eye out for the emergency exit.

Two defining moments that give me hope are the defensive stands at the end of the Dallas and Philly games. Faced with the horrible prosepect of a division win snatched away yet again, they made a stop when we had to have it.

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Good read Art.

It amazes me how some people still CHOOSE to worry about being let down, and therefore won't just dive in head first. I mean really, what have they got to lose? Why be afraid to risk a little emotion. It's passion man. Let it fly. If it don't work out this time, there's always the next.

It's obvious that these people, the negative thinkers, would make terrible teammates. They're the ones, who when knocked down, choose to stay down rather than risk further damage, or humiliation. A fighter gets up and keeps on gettin it. If he gets knocked out, he gets knocked out. Because he knows the only thing worse than losing, is quitting.

And oh BTW, if there is such a thing as karma, or "The Force", then these people are a major drag on it.

Now, let's go to Tampa and kick some ass!


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It is time.

Time to shed all doubt about this team. We have a team that is finally winning. It doesn't matter by how much we win by it matters how we win. Chicago 9-7, we win because the defense makes a big play when we need it. Dallas 14-13, we win because the offense makes 2 big plays when we needed them and our defense holds. Seattle 20-17 in OT, we win because, god forbid, our team gets a little lucky, and our defense contains Shawn Alexander. San Fransisco 52-17, we win because our team is a far superior team. Philly 17-10, we win because the defense makes a big play when we needed it and hustle by Dockery.

The reason I break the games down is because I believe this is what Art was alluding to. In years past 4 out of the 5 wins are games in years past we would have lost in heart breaking fashion. We are now winning most of the close ones. Even when we lose we are in it until the end except for the Giants game.

Even if you evaluate the team on our 3 losses, the team looks strong. I mean, our 3 losses are to 3 teams with a combined record of 17-7. I can guarantee that any other team in the NFL with 3 losses has at least one loss to a team that has a record of .500 or worse.

What I am trying to say is that this team is a contender and I believe in this team. There is not 1 game left on the schedule where I truly believe we have no chance. This is one special team and for the first time in 10 years I am truly happy.

I want to drive the bandwagon, who's riding with me?

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