Fans: Redskins’ run is no fluke

Posted: January 2, 2013

The Winchester Star

Hogettes (from left) Nick Nerangis, “Nickette,” Rusty Nicholson, “Sunshine Hogette,” and Mike Gardner, “Hollywood Hillbilly,” prepare to leave Front Royal Sunday for the Redskins’ game against the Dallas Cowboys. Washington won and qualified for the playoffs. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — “Hail to the Redskins.”

Fans of the NFL team will have at least one more opportunity to sing the fight song after Washington defeated the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night to clinch a postseason spot for the first time since 2007.

When the Redskins face the Seattle Seahawks at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., it will be their first home playoff game since 1999.

The Redskins last won the Super Bowl on Jan. 26, 1992.

It has been a long drought for fans like Winchester resident Nick Nerangis, who has dressed up as a pig in a dress as a member of the Hogettes since 1992.

“It’s been very trying,” he said.

Winchester resident and diehard Redskins fan John Rinker knows the feeling.

“It’s like I’ve been in mourning,” he said of the team’s down years. “Now I feel like I’m reborn.”

Nerangis and Rinker both believe this year’s Redskins are no fluke — that they are built to contend over a number of years.

“I think a new era is arriving,” Nerangis said.

Redskins fan Chris Parker, the Clarke County High School football coach, agrees.

In recent years watching the Redskins has usually been “disappointing,” he said.

The long-term struggles have been a result of a myriad of factors, Parker said.

He mentioned injuries, bad trades that went for home run solutions rather than the painstaking process of building a contender, and the fact that other teams in Washington’s division were simply superior.

Now that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has worked to build a long-term contender, Parker said he’s really excited not only for the playoffs but for future seasons.

And he thinks the team should only improve, noting that this year’s team did what it did despite losing linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker for the season to injuries.

The offense was led by two rookies — running back Alfred Morris and quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“That’s very unusual for an NFL team,” Parker said.

The winner of the Redskins-Seahawks matchup will travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Jan. 13 at 1 p.m.

The Redskins could feasibly host one more playoff game if both they and the Minnesota Vikings advance to the NFC championship game on Jan. 20.

Nerangis is hoping for that matchup so he has another opportunity to don the Hogette costume and cheer his team into the Super Bowl.

— Contact Conor Gallagher at cgallagher@winchesterstar.com