With so much money and so much talent, with high-handed honcho Daniel M. Snyder - He Who Would Be Eddie D - steering this gold-plated SUV, the Redskins have become both Super Bowl favorite and Public Enemy No. 1. Which pains The Man, for the Redskins of another generation were my boyhood team.
But these Redskins, of Prime Time and Jeff George, of Danny The Despot and pay-per-practice, of win-at-all-costs and thanks-for-the-memories Brian Mitchell, almost make me want to say:
The Redskins of RFK Stadium had heart and soul; the Redskins of FedEx Field have Goldman, Sachs. FedEx Field itself is nothing more than Giants Stadium South, a large piece of concrete rubble laid down near the splendor that is I-95.
In the offseason, the Redskins spent $47 million on signing bonuses alone, adding Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jeff George, Mark Carrier, and Adrian Murrell, plus the second and third picks in the draft, LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels. This marks the greatest concentration of wealth in Washington since the Kennedys bought into Georgetown.
How can anyone root for these Redskins? They are the Microsoft of the NFL - more manpower, more technology, more capital. And more funky smell coming out of their corporate boardroom.
It all starts with the owner, the imperious Mr. Snyder. He has the helicopter, the limo, and the cigars, the private jet, the yacht, and the luxury cars. It's not that I resent his money; I resent the respect and power that he insists his money buys. Frankly, I just don't like the cut of his jib - and, believe you me, he doesn't get his jib off the rack.
He's Napoleon with a cell phone.
As my ancestors - many of whom witnessed the ravaging ways of the Huns from their living room couches - taught me: It's not how much you win, it's how you win.
So the Redskins can win all they want this year - I'll be losing on the other side of the field. Naturally, on Opening Day I'll take Carolina, getting 101/2 points, at Washington.
Before we get to the rest of the picks, first I'd like to apologize again for 1999, my first sub-.500 season in the 10-year history of the column. I just got fat and lazy, folks. Granted, this offseason I got fatter (61/2 pounds), but only because I moved in with Ron Jaworski at his Mt. Laurel, N.J., basement vault and broke down game film from dawn to dusk.
(TV note: ''ABC's Monday Night Football'' marks the much-anticipated regular-season broadcasting debut of sideline reporter Eric Dickerson. Good luck, Eric!)
As always, the following picks are for recreational purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any actual cash wager:
Ravens (-21/2) at Steelers: They've lost 15 of their last 21 games. They have no quarterback. They're projected for fifth in their division. But these Steelers are The Man's unlikely Team of Destiny, a label smart bettors worldwide know ensures money in the bank and an unexpected playoff berth. Pick: Steelers.
Titans at Bills (pick 'em): Because they know this is when the Bills will least expect it, Titans plan to use ''Home Run Throwback'' on opening kickoff ... Bills have a tougher schedule than Eminem's lawyers. Pick: Bills.
Bears at Vikings (-41/2): I scoffed when NBC's Lorne Michaels said Conan O'Brien was his guy in 1993, so I'll sit on my scoff when the Vikings' Dennis Green says QB Daunte Culpepper is his guy in 2000. Pick: Vikings.
Eagles at Cowboys (-6): Upon his arrival, Cowboys veterans gave WR Joey Galloway copies of team playbook and Michael Irvin's ''Guide to Dallas Nightlife.'' Pick: Eagles.
Seahawks at Dolphins (-2): Dolphins going from Dan Marino to Jay Fiedler is like ''Spin City'' going from Michael J. Fox to Charlie Sheen. Pick: Seahawks.
Colts (-3) at Chiefs: As My Wife Of The Moment, Rhonda, is fond of saying, ''Existentialism means that no one else can take a bath for you.'' I believe this favors the Chiefs. Pick: Chiefs.
49ers at Falcons (-7): During the 49ers' halcyon days, everyone ate arugula and gorgonzola crostini with walnuts. On the team flight to Atlanta, everyone ate peanuts. Pick: 49ers.
Chargers at Raiders (-61/2): Chargers QB Ryan Leaf tested his sore shoulder Thursday playing FoosBall at Moose McGillicuddy's Pub. Pick: Chargers.
Jets at Packers (-21/2): Sympathies to Al Groh: Following Bill Parcells on an NFL sideline is like following Charlton Heston at an NRA fund-raiser. Pick: Packers.
Broncos at Rams (-61/2): Closer review of 1999 Rams game film revealed that alien QB Kurt Warner had six fingers on his throwing hand. Pick: Rams.
Buccaneers (-3) at Patriots: When you go from Pete Carroll to Bill Belichick, you go from the ''Good Ship Lollipop'' to ''Mutiny on the Bounty.'' Pick: Patriots.
Lions at Saints (pick 'em): Saints RB Ricky Williams whined so much in offseason, Dr. Laura offered him a job as her sidekick. Pick: Saints.
Jaguars (-101/2) at Browns: League office denied Browns' request to extend training camp to Oct. 15. Pick: Jaguars.
Cardinals at Giants (-61/2): If Giants' Jim Fassel is a quarterback guru, then Keanu Reeves is a quarterback. Pick: Cardinals.
Norman Chad's e-mail address is email@example.com.