Be Careful What You Wish For

Now that everyone but the mathematicians out there knows that the Redskins are eliminated from the playoffs, we are starting to hear from fans who wish for the Redskins to lose all of their remaining games.

These are not Redskins haters; these are genuine fans of the team. On the air, at the water cooler, here in the CPND Hardcore Forum and elsewhere online we are hearing the now-familiar refrain that goes something like this:

 

“Since they’re out of realistic playoff contention there is no point in the Skins winning any more games. Since each game they win will only give them a worse position in the draft, I hope they don’t win another game until next year.”

 

Generally, these folks don’t suggest that the Redskins actually throw their remaining contests, just that they perhaps play some younger players and experiment with different schemes and not worry so much about the score. Or, in some other cases, they don’t necessarily want them to change anything, but they’ll just feel better when the Skins lose than they will when they win.

 

Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

 

I doubt that many of these fans who are wishing ill on the team’s record for the remainder of the year also hope that the team doesn’t make the playoffs in 2004. They are, no doubt, hoping that the advantage of moving up a dozen or so spots in the draft will enable them to obtain some more good players who will help propel the ’04 Redskins into the NFL postseason for the first time since 1999.

 

There’s a hitch in their master plan, however, a major one. Redskin teams that don’t finish strong don’t make the playoffs the following year. Since 1970 if they’re not .500 or better after the 10th game of the season, the Redskins have watched the postseason in TV. Since the advent of the 16-game schedule, have had to buy a ticket to get into a playoff game unless they’ve had at least a 4-2 record in their last six games.

 

The record of pre-playoff Redskins teams since 1970.

 

Season

After 10th Game

1998

4-2

1991

4-2

1990

4-2

1989

5-1

1986

4-2

1985

5-1

1983

5-1

1982

5-1

1981

4-2

1975*

2-2

1973

3-1

1972

2-2

1971

3-1

1970

2-2

* 14-game schedule
prior to 1976

 

Certainly, one has to be careful not to create a cause and effect relationship here. Many of those early 70’s and early ‘80’s teams were embarking on some great playoff runs and they finished up the season strong simply because they were good teams.

 

Still, of the 14 editions of the Redskins listed above, six were not playoff participants. One can speculate all day long on if the strong finish created momentum that carried into the next season or if the good record was simply indicative of a team coming together. The simple fact, however, is that if they don’t win in December in one season, they won’t be playing in January following the next season.


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