News & Politics

Goodbye, Beer Snake

Image courtesy the XFL.
Coronavirus 2020

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The Beer Snake was born in Washington on February 15, 2020, first appearing in the stands of Audi Field when the DC Defenders of the XFL played the New York Guardians. There are at least five terms in the preceding sentence that will be difficult to parse a year from now, but DC will remember the Beer Snake.

The XFL declared bankruptcy Monday after laying off most of its staff last week. The Defenders, who included an image of Beer Snake in their last tweet, surprised everyone around here by demonstrating what a competent local football team might look like, even raising the question of whether they could beat the Redskins. Each week the snake grew longer. Could we not only have a winning football team but also a home-game tradition? The Defenders sputtered but were 3-2 when the pandemic snuffed out first their season, and later their league.

Perhaps there will be an NFL season this year, and perhaps the Redskins won’t be as godawful as they were last year. Toward the end of last season we sent two people to a Redskins game, challenging them to get out to FedEx Field, eat, and come home for less than $30. It was easy.

Beer Snake doesn’t have to die with the Defenders. Any local sporting franchise could revive it, but beware: This innovation, like most of this region’s cultural advances, began from the ground up. Perhaps another team will possess the marketing savvy, the predisposed fans, and the beer sales to bring back Beer Snake. But if not, that might also be fine: Beer Snake could live on as a glittering memory of our lives before coronavirus. Can you believe we not only used to sit shoulder-to-shoulder in large groups but would touch one another’s used beer cups, too? Let’s hope this is farewell, Beer Snake, and not good-bye, you absolute legend.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.