The New England Patriots and Mr. Bidwill's Phoenix Cardinals, two teams to which Baltimore made overtures after the Colts left, are chronic losers and, short of a change of ownership, likely to remain so. The Los Angeles Rams, who now appear to be playing us for a pawn in their fight with their stadium landlords, don't have the same record of extended failure, but they're nothing to write home about either. The Cincinnati Bengals, who seem to be playing the same game, are the only team in the league without a victory more than halfway through the season. (One sports columnist wrote that before the NFL expands again, it should "consider putting a major-league team in Cincinnati.")
The other team that's been mentioned for Baltimore, the Los Angeles Raiders, is about the best of a mediocre lot. Al Davis, the Raiders' owner, is a flamboyant outlaw who moved the team from its devoted fans in Oakland for a sweetheart deal in Los Angeles, in defiance of the league. The NFL was too tied up fighting him in court -- and losing -- to keep Mr. Irsay from slithering away to Indianapolis. When Mr. Davis' deal with Los Angeles fell short of his expectations, he offered his team to a couple of suburbs and even suggested a return to Oakland, which finally revolted at his terms. Only the willfully blind would knowingly deal with this man.
Isn't it depressing for fans in Baltimore to have to choose between giving up football and tagging along behind the student-council types in Washington and their precious Redskins? Of course it is. But rather than keep on abasing ourselves and raping our city and state treasuries, we should stick with that choice -- Redskins or nothing -- until the One Great Scorer tallies all our final statistics. With due respect to the memory of Grantland Rice, this game is not worth playing at all.
Jeffrey Landaw, a lapsed New York Jets fan, is a makeup editor with the Baltimore Sun.