I have always been a Washington Redskins fan. I can’t even remember what prompted me to root for the Skins initially, but I did so even after the Seattle Seahawks came to town in 1976. My favorite Skins game memory was Super Bowl XXII in 1988, played in San Diego against the Denver Broncos. Lots of my friends rooted against the Broncos since the Seahawks and the Broncos were bitter divisional rivals back then, but I was the only guy I knew who rooted against the Broncos because they were playing the Redskins. I watched the game at a bar called Murphys. Things did not start well for the Skins. After going three and out on their first possession, the Skins handed the ball over to the Broncos who promptly scored on their first play from scrimmage when Elway threw a long touchdown pass. At that time it was the fastest touchdown any team had ever scored in a Super Bowl. The Skins punted on their next possession and then the Broncos kicked a field goal after Elway caught a pass from Steve Sewell. Then to add injury to insult, the Skins’ quarterback Doug Williams hurt his leg when he got sacked and left the game late in the first quarter.
So now the Skins are down 10-0 before the end of the first quarter and the Skin’s starting quarterback was out. I later learned, no team had ever come back from 10 points down to win a Super Bowl. But then salvation and how. Williams returned at the beginning of the second quarter and the Bronco’s defense promptly folded up like a cheap tent. Williams threw for two quick TDs and Timmy Smith, a rookie starting his first NFL game, ran 58 yards for a touchdown and it was all over bar the shouting. The Skins were up 35-10 at half time; Williams completed 9 of 11 passes for 228 yards and 4 touchdowns in the second quarter; Ricky Sanders caught 4 of Williams passes for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. During the game, the Skins sacked Elway and forced three interceptions. The final score was 42–10. Tommy Smith racked up 204 rushing yards, a Super Bowl record that stands to this day. Williams won the MVP.
The Skins won another Super Bowl title a few years later and Denver won two in a row in 1997 and 1998. Once the Seahawks moved to the NFC whenever that was, I kind of forgot about the Broncos. Until this season. I liked Tim Tebow when he played at Florida and was rooting for the Broncos this season to do well with Tebow. That game last week against the Steelers was sweet; I have had a grudging respect for Pittsburg over the years, but have actively disliked them since they beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl thanks to several very dodgy calls by the refs. I hope the Broncos and Tebow do well again next year.
Rooting for your home team is a no brainer, but some fans root for teams other than their home teams. Such an association is, like my association with the Skins, somewhat difficult to understand. Now we all know the “I root for the Yankees” kind of guy. I have always found guys who root for perennial winners like Man U, the Yankees or the Cowboys to be fairly pathetic. Anyone can root for a winner, it takes character to root for a loser.
When it comes to deciding what car to buy, historically people in this country simply couldn’t buy their home town car, unless they lived in Detroit. People’s associations with car companies is somewhat similar to rooting for a team that isn’t your home team. The reasons for those associations vary. Some people always drive Buicks because their mum or dad always drove Buicks. Others people drive specific cars because of their styling. But the biggest issue many Americans have considered when buying a new car is where the car was made; traditionally, a lot of Americans have been very loyal to cars made in this country. Perhaps more loyal than with any other product they buy. The Big Three relied on that loyalty for a lot of years. In fact, the Big Three came to take that loyalty for granted. And they paid for that arrogance in the 1980s when the availability of well made small Honda cars made in Japan began a slow decline in the percentage of domestically produced cars being sold in this country.
But the times they have been a changing. As I have documented over the last three days, one can buy a Honda, a Toyota, a BMW, a Nissan, and even a Mercedes and still be buying an “American” car made by members of your extended American family. That being the case, how is one to choose between all these cars that are now made in this country? Two criteria are often discussed as important in making this decision. First, is the car made by union workers? Second, what is the “domestic content” of the car?
The United Auto Workers Union has a handy website that lists which cars are made by its members. Other than cars from the Big Three, only the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Galant and the Mazda 6 are made by UAW workers. The UAW is not shy about decrying the fact that all other cars made in this country are made by non union workers. However, according to the New York Times, organizing nonunion auto workers at Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and other auto plants in the south has been a tough row to hoe for the UAW. This may stem from the fact that Toyota’s nonunion workers make about the same as the Big Three’s union workers, $55 an hour in wages and benefits. Nonunion workers at Honda make about $50 an hour while nonunion workers at Nissan, Hyundai and Kia make about $45 hour. Still, if buying a car made by a union member of our extended American family is paramount to you, the UAW website is the place to go to find the cars that meet that test.
An average car has 30,000 parts in it. Domestic content refers to the country of origin of those parts that are assembled into a finished car at the different car manufacturing facilities in this country. Using that measure of “Americanness” (I know it’s not a word), guess which car comes out on top? Well, according to Cars.com, the two cars with the highest domestic content are “Japanese”; the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. The Big Three car with the highest domestic content is the most Chevy Malibu. Loads of vehicles made by the Big Three didn’t even make Cars.com’s “American Made Index” since you don’t get on the Index unless you have at least 75% domestic content. However, the Cars.com “American Made Index” is not without its critics. Suffice it to say, that if Americanness is important to you in choosing a car, you will need to do a little research on your car’s domestic content.
Cars are the biggest consumer purchase most of us ever make. Buying an American made car is a no brainer, given the great vehicles made in the U.S. today. American made cars have an enormous positive impact on this nation’s economy. I urge you to buy a car made on these shores. You will get a great car and will support thousands of members of our extended American family working in the auto industry in our country. Now get shopping!