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Sally Jenkins
Sports Columnist

Sally Jenkins

A sports columnist for The Washington Post, Sally Jenkins is the author of five books, including the bestseller It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life with cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Team or Country?


Which will be more entertaining, the RNC or the NFL's Opening Night? Actually that's just a polite way of asking, what comes first in your heart: team or country? The answer is team, baby. Or put it another way, which do you prefer to watch, points of order, or the pure exhilaration of moving other people out of the way?

The refreshing fact is that we don't know how the game will end, despite the best efforts of the network to script every sporting event into a neat convention-like narrative. Meanwhile at the RNC, the main action is over, and Sarah Palin's voice didn't break in mid-speech under the pressure. We're really just watching a post-game victory party: McCain will give a leaderly and reassuring address, and then stand there looking silvery-handsome while the confetti rains down and the orchestral music plays. What passes for the unexpected for the convention is if he leaves the podium.

You know what he's going to do. It's Eli Manning, that deceptively nice boy in a side-comb, and rookie Redskins coach Jim Zorn who are the far more unpredictable characters.

Here's my prediction: The vast majority of esteemed guests at the RNC are wishing tonight that McCain had scheduled his speech before the game, not after -- and they're finding excuses to duck off the floor and into whatever hospitality suite has the biggest screen. And the candidate himself wishes he could have wrapped things up in time to switch from the teleprompter to the ballgame.

By Sally Jenkins  |  September 4, 2008; 2:09 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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McBush already threw his long bomb. It was incompleat.

Posted by: rick | September 4, 2008 3:10 PM

They should have scheduled Palin tonight. Everyone loves a sideshow and she would have had a better chance of pulling ratings from football. Does anyone think that McCain is becoming irrelevant in this race? As a democrat I am thrilled with McCain's choice. Go Obama!

Posted by: Mike | September 4, 2008 4:01 PM

Honestly, looking at this from a politically-neutral stance, for those that are sports-oriented, the NFL game wins hands down. It is quite doubtful that McCain will cover any new territory, while how the revamped Redskins will perform is an open question. Perhaps the television broadcast could be done like the Clinton impeachment proceedings--run split screen. Here, half NFL, half GOP...

Would be interesting...

Posted by: karolus | September 4, 2008 4:13 PM

Let's see... On the one hand we can watch a team that has utterly failed on its last two tries, with a signal caller who seems not to know what's going on much of the time, with a management that has real trouble picking competent people to man its positions...

Or we can watch the Redskins. I think I'll go with the 'Skins -- they may prove to be less stultifyingly predictable.

Posted by: Woody Smith | September 4, 2008 4:41 PM

Good one, Woody.

Burgundy and Gold, all the way.

Posted by: Gut Check | September 4, 2008 4:48 PM

The drama of the Skins/Jints set-to far surpasses any mush the RNC/McBush gumfest can serve up in terms of watchability. To wit:
1. Will Jason Campbell lay an egg?
2. What will happen with Zorn? He goes from obscure QB coach to HC, OC, play caller and JC diaper changer in this game. How will he handle it all?
3. What the Skins score any points with the new West Coast offense?
4. Will the defense lay an egg now that the Greggster has left the house?
5. Will Giants Stadium be renamed the Bird's Nest in honor of all the eggs the Skins lay?
6. Will Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato be in the same box to watch the game?

Posted by: Moonshot | September 4, 2008 5:37 PM

Bristol Palin already has been flagged for "illegal touching"

Posted by: McSame | September 4, 2008 5:45 PM

What a bunch of left wing "JERKS"

Posted by: Tom | September 4, 2008 5:51 PM

percentagewise, skins gonna have a better w/l than mccain-palin cuz skins ain't going 0-16...

Posted by: slangist | September 4, 2008 6:43 PM

I am watching John McCain's speech now and reading the commentary - and this just goes to show how ignorant DC wants to be about this election. I guess they will not vote because it is a sunny day or a rainy day or Dairy Queen is having discounted double dips.

Are we such an elite and educated group of folks we do not need care about our country and our fellow citizens becuase there is a football game? Guess the Post answered for us all.

Posted by: DC Resident | September 4, 2008 10:52 PM

If anyone really wants to know why Jay Leno has so much fun asking Americans about their country and hear their stupid answers this tells it all.When you go overseas and hear Europeans who can tell you about our politics then come home and see jerks who would prefer sports to what is really happening in our country. They are they same stupid jerks who protested tonight while McCain was speaking.

Posted by: musing | September 4, 2008 11:49 PM

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