City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Joe Gibbs to Give Public Goodbye to George Michael

George Michael's public memorial service will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the National Cathedral. Joe Gibbs and Jim Vance will speak.

I can't help myself from comparing Michael to Glenn Brenner (Michael's rival sportscaster at WUSA-TV) even in death. Folks of a certain age are still talking about Brenner's 1992 funeral, which was held at United Methodist Church on Nebraska Avenue NW. Brenner fell ill from the cancer that would ultimately kill him in late 1991, in the midst of the Redskins last Super Bowl run, and Gibbs had dedicated a playoff game to Brenner while he was in the hospital. He died there, and everybody in town—even George Michael on the air over at WRC—cried and cried. "Hail to the Redskins" was played on sax as Brenner's casket was wheeled out.

Gibbs spoke at Brenner's service, also, and not everybody liked what he said.

(AFTER THE JUMP: But can I still rent a KangarooTV from Dan Snyder for 40 bucks? Did Bono and Macca force the big-screen issue? The GreenHawks have ANOTHER new head coach? To replace the old new coach? Otis Hailey is the new new coach? Wasn't he on Buddy Holly's plane? Somebody asks: What if Dan Snyder owned America? Doesn't he already?)

Just two years ago, or 16 years after Brenner's funeral, John Feinstein railed against Gibbs for his speech:

When Glenn Brenner, the wonderful WUSA sportscaster, died in [1992], Gibbs stood up at his funeral and said that Brenner had accepted Jesus Christ as his savior just prior to his death. Many of us who knew Brenner were skeptical about the comment, but even if it was 100 percent true, found it completely offensive that Gibbs chose a moment meant to celebrate Glenn's life to literally use the pulpit to claim that Brenner had "seen the light." If he did, fine, that should have been a private matter.

Gibbs did the same thing at Sean Taylor's funeral, proclaiming Taylor as a born-again. And he'll no doubt do the same thing tomorrow at Michael's service.

I agree with Feinstein that Gibbs' performance at Brenner's funeral was selfish. But by now, when you ask Joe Gibbs to talk in a church, you know what you're going to get.

Proselytizing or no, "Hail to the Redskins" would be a nice touch.


The Redskins are gonna get a new scoreboard? And hi-def big screens? But but but but...FedExField's not wired for digital! Right? That's why there weren't any big new video screens all these years! Karl Swanson told me that himself 10 times!

I'm not sure what the last straw for Dan Snyder was, to get him to spend the money on something the fans actually wanted and he won't be able to directly charge them for.

Was it the horrible 2009 season and all the bad will Snyder generated by such moves as suing grandmothers and stealing fans' signs?

Or was it U2 and Paul McCartney coming to FedExField with their own hi-def (and, yes, digital) big screens, and proving to any buffoon who believed the team's stories that the official excuse for not upgrading the stadium's video options all these years was a lie?

Whatever the answer, the appearance of the big screens surely means it's "G'day, Kangaroo.TV!"

For those not obsessed with Snyders antics: The Kangaroo.TV rentals are one of the scammiest scams of Snyder's scamtastic tenure as owner.

First, Snyder kept all the scores and replays off the scoreboard so the fans and fantasy players at FedExField would be in the dark, then he started renting them little hand-held satellite TVs from a company called Kangaroo Media...for $39.95 a game!

Snyder's gonna have to come up with new gouging techniques to replace the lost Kangaroo.TV revenues. I have faith he'll be up to the task.


The Caps beat the Red Wings, 3-2. Jose Theodore, the guy with the least stable future of the team's goalie trio and holder of the brutalest nickname ("Three or More") in local sports, gets named star of the game.

Mean as it is, "Three or More" is genius. I can't think of any derisive handle anywhere near as hard. Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin of "The Sports Reporters" on WTEM-AM cut Clinton Portis to the quick by labeling the unproductive blabbermouth "Clinton Tortoise" early this season. And the haters used to tag Chip Lohmiller, the last Redskins placekicker to have more than a cup of coffee here, as "Chip Polekiller" for his uncanny ability to hit the uprights.

To celebrate the Caps win, go listen to "Shutting Detroit Down," a song that really gets to me even though it has an anti-Washington message and I think the guy who sings it's a bozo. The Red Wings aren't having the great regular season the Caps are, but here's hoping for a replay of the 1998 Stanley Cup finals, just so Caps fans can sing the money line: "Here in the real world they're shutting Detroit down!" while totally ignoring the song's point, just like Reagan did with "Born in the U.S.A."


The Maryland GreenHawks are marketed as the eco-friendliest pro sports franchise in the world. But this young squad goes through coaches the way a Hummer goes through gasoline.

Just five games (and four losses) into their existence, the 'Hawks, of the minor confederation the Premier Basketball League, are onto their third head coach. Ryan Krueger was hired as the team's first coach in October, but left after just two weeks to take a job with the basketball program at Lehigh University. Enter Rob Spon, who we all remember for taking something called the Manchester Millrats to the top of the PBL's Atlantic Division last season. (Spon, of course, previously coached the Magic City Snowbears, Youngstown Wildcats, Wichita Bombers, Gary Steelheads, Dakota Wizards, Indiana Alley Cats, and Pittsburgh Xplosion—all since 1999.)

But, after the GreenHawks' awful start in their inaugural season, Adam Dantus, my hero and the general manager of the GreenHawks, pulled the trigger and fired Spon yesterday.

“Rotations down the stretch cost us two games and the players were losing respect for him," explains Dantus via e-mail. "Nothing personal–he was a nice guy, just had to make the move. Didn’t want a Jim Zorn situation where it was going to be a distraction and a lot of losing the whole year."

The team immediately hired Otis Hailey to replace Spon. Quickie quiz to test your knowledge of the GreenHawks' new coach.

Q: In the last decade, Hailey has NOT coached which of the following basketball teams?

a) Montreal Dragons
b) Saskatchewan Hawks
c) Vancouver Nighthawks
d) Tijuana Diablos
e) Calgary Drillers
f) Los Angeles Push
g) Boston Celtics

Check back tomorrow for the correct answer!


Speaking of stupid Q&A's: Intriguing Internet discussion about Dan Snyder over the weekend at Yahoo! Answers, if you apply the Yahoo! Answers standard for "intriguing."

Resolved Question: If Redskins owner Dan Snyder owned the U.S. how many presidents would we have went thru?

The winning answer—and, yes, the whole point of Yahoo! Answers is to come up with the winning answer—held that Snyder's America would "have went thru" 101 presidents by now, including Brett Favre, "That annoying girl from the Fun Slides commercial," and Barack Obama. (Well, recent polling has the Fun Slides girl up 7 points over Obama in Massachusetts.)

The second-best answer provided by the Yahoo! Answers braintrust came from "Andie," who according to the site's stat sheet gets the Best Answer tag on 24 percent of his or her responses:

1, because he was a big fan of Jesse Jackson in the 1980s and Dan Snyder said back in 1983 that "Jesse Jackson has proven to be one of the great leaders and intellectuals of our era, and if I could vote into presidential office any person in this country more than twice, it would be Rod Stewart followed by Jesse Jackson..." Obviously he was just joking about Rod Stewart but as you can see..he was a huge fan of Jesse Jackson.

Get 'em next time, Andie.


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