November eighth, two-thousand eight. The ticker at the bottom of the evening news said that Deangelo Hall had signed with the Washington Redskins, and I proceeded to tell all of my friends and family that remotely cared about such things. As an avid fan of both the Virginia Tech Hokies and their NFL products, it was a dream come true, except for one teensy little detail--the last thing the 'Skins needed was a cornerback. Oddly enough, most of the media seemed to be as confused as I was, but their confusion revolved around his being beaten like a redheaded stepchild when he was with Oakland--overlooking the fact that one of the best corners in the league, Nnamdi Asomugha, was on the opposite side of the field.
Hall surprised me by performing respectably in '08, and then his $50 million contract came down from the Washington office, right on the heels of Haynesworth's $100 million, further convinced me that Dan Snyder was in the category of owners that can only be described as "Al Davis-esque, with a touch of Jerry Jones." Hall's play that year was average, the team as a whole was horrendous (but the defense was pretty dang good), and one had to question what talent could be bought with Hall's none-too-paltry salary.
To this point in 2010, Hall has been exceptional. As of this week (Week 7), he is third on the team in tackles (behind London Fletcher and LaRon Landry who, aside from having similar first names, have more than any two players in the league at 68 apiece) and leads the league with five interceptions. Four of those came today in a 17-14 win over the Chicago Bears, a feat that thrust Hall into the record books, when he became only the 19th player to do so. All four picks were the results of good coverage, and the first two were jaw-dropping feats of athleticism, especially his 92-yard return for the game-winning touchdown; however, one could argue that the other two were due to Jay Cutler's inability to pick out the subtle difference between his team's color scheme and whatever the other team is wearing.
Regardless, today's win was completely brought about by Deangelo, and Snyder can be commended for a rare gem of a signing.
A tip of the hat to you, Mr. Hall. And thank you for the incredible show.