Gonzo: Skins are looking loco

Donovan McNabb threw three interceptions in last night's loss to the Eagles. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Over the weekend, in the interest of science, I sampled a can of Four Loko. Every opportunistic politician in the country wants it banned, but it's a lot like any other kind of booze: euphoria followed by self-loathing and eventually heavy sobbing.

After Donovan McNabb signed a five-year, $78 million contract extension - $40 million of which is guaranteed, according to ESPN.com - it made me think the Washington front office might have slammed a few Four Lokos before doing the deal. Even if they didn't, the Redskins should say they did. The excuse is better than the truth.

What an embarrassing night for Daniel Snyder's organization. The Eagles were up five touchdowns before McNabb's new $40 million smile faded. The Birds won, 59-28, and McNabb played the entire game. Tough to take a guy out after handing him all that money.

Philly is 6-3 without McNabb and tied for first place in the NFC East. The Redskins are 4-5 with McNabb and have just two more wins than the Dumpster fire more commonly known as the Dallas Cowboys. Snyder should be able to fetch more for his money; another depressing indictment of the American dollar.

The Redskins have been a mess for years, but the McNabb situation is ugly even by Beltway football standards. For the last two weeks, the story out of D.C. was about the rift between McNabb and head coach Mike Shanahan. Among the slights against McNabb, real and perceived: Shanahan yanked McNabb in the fourth quarter of a game against the Lions and replaced him with UFL quarterback-in-waiting Rex Grossman; Shanahan claimed McNabb didn't know the two-minute offense and lacked cardiovascular endurance; and a team source told an ESPN reporter that the Redskins cut the playbook in half to make it easier for McNabb to digest.

It looked like McNabb would opt for free agency at the end of the season. And even though acquiring McNabb cost the Redskins a second-round draft pick in 2010 and a third- or fourth-rounder next year, letting him go might have made some sense for the team - at least in terms of Washington cutting its losses. After Monday's game, McNabb is tied for fourth in the NFL in interceptions and tied for 23d in touchdowns. Oh, and on Nov. 25 he turns 34.

So, naturally, McNabb and the Redskins agreed to a healthy contract extension. If the Redskins hold a news conference Wednesday announcing their plan to dig up Vince Lombardi and install his decomposed corpse as team president, it shouldn't shock anyone.

Meanwhile, the Shanahans don't seem interested in peace. Barely an hour before last night's game, ESPN's Suzy Kolber reported that Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator and head coach's son, said McNabb knows the system but isn't "automatic under fire." She used "automatic under fire" twice. Then she said the Shanahans think McNabb might need to "address his body in a different way" given his age. So on the same day McNabb was given a new contract, and just hours before the Redskins got throttled, the Shanahans ran more of the same McNabb-is-essentially-fat-

and-stupid propaganda through ESPN.

This is how Snyder and the Redskins conduct business. Makes the head hurt. Which reminds me: There are some amateur Four Loko videos online. My favorite includes the line "the Loko's kickin' in and I'm feeling kinda scared." Don't worry. The fear passes once you sober up - unless you owe McNabb $40 million, at which point your hangover might linger.

Dancing with the Stars appeared on 6ABC last night while the Eagles were moved to MYPHL17. National ratings trump local, I suppose. Joe Banner must be thrilled, especially because the MYPHL17 feed cut in and out for much of the first quarter.

Calls to 6ABC about the programming move weren't returned. 6ABC sent Page 2 a news release, however. The best part: "On Nov. 15, two epic battles come to television - one on the dance floor and one on the football field."

There you go, Jeffrey Lurie. 6ABC thinks the Eagles have the same "epic" battles as Bristol Palin.

ESPN's Tom Jackson had an Emmitt Smith-worthy meltdown when discussing McNabb's contract. First Jackson said the deal "smells like hush money." Then, in a stunning, hilarious non sequitur, he added: "I'm a linebacker. There's something here that doesn't go together. I'm a linebacker." The people around him nodded, as though all linebackers moonlight as amateur Columbos, only without the creepy raincoats. . . . DeSean Jackson was the only Eagle to have a jersey listed among NFLshop.com's top 25 best-sellers. Jackson was 13th on the list. McNabb's jersey was the ninth. . . . Jon Gruden should stop calling Michael Vick "Starship 7." . . . Ask Gonzo returns to Philly.com at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Much like the Redskins' organization, it's the chat built on bad decisions.


Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com

Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gonzophilly