Daniel M. Snyder purchased the Washington Redskins and their new stadium in 1999. By 2001, this lifelong Redskins’ fan began to think Snyder was copying Jerry Jones’ marketing strategy a bit too closely. I believed that so strongly that I contacted Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News in the summer of 2001 and told him it seemed to me Dan Snyder was the ‘bastard son of Jerry Jones”. I’m not proud of that comment, and Mr. Cowlishaw, to his credit, wasn’t very receptive to it. Let’s face it though; Dan Snyder made more than a few decisions that irritated and embarrassed many of the Redskins’ faithful. That whole deal where training camp attendees were charged $10.00 each was particularly vexing. Dan Snyder’s dream come true – owning the Redskins and restoring them to greatness – felt more and more like a nightmare to me. Nonetheless, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. And in Mr. Snyder’s case, credit is due. Over the past 5 years, he’s run the team much more wisely than he did prior to Joe Gibbs’ reincarnation. Of course, you wouldn’t think so listening to the mainstream media.
Look and listen; you could see and hear the winds of change blowing
The hiring of Joe Gibbs … I don’t know what terms Gibbs demanded upon rejoining the Redskins as Head Coach. From the outside looking in, it appears he was allowed to have a tangible, positive impact on the team’s front office. You began hearing less about Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, and more about Gibbs. You also began hearing criticism of draft selections, few as they were, rather than hindsight mocking of big-ticket, past-their-prime free-agent signings. The right topics were gradually being discussed. Foundational change was in the air.
The hiring of Jim Zorn … Zorn may or not be successful in his first stint as a Head Coach. Time will tell. But, I haven’t heard anyone argue that Dan Snyder failed to state his rationale for anointing Zorn as Gibbs’ replacement. Snyder knew what he was looking for, and ultimately, he acted on his best judgment rather than impetuously going with a big name. Question Snyder’s judgment and his criteria all you want, but at least he acted in a logical manner that can be explained in terms other than “I’m the owner, I’ll do as I please.”
The QB trade that didn’t happen … Dan Snyder took a lot of flack in the electronic media for exploring the possibilities of a trade for Jay Cutler and for the right to draft Mark Sanchez. But, he didn’t make the trade. He discussed it, so what? Media pundits pounced all over him for that, suggesting he had irreparably damaged Jason Campbell’s psyche. The worst example of that occurred earlier this week. The NFL Network displayed a caption that read ‘Redskins’ QB Quandary’. Are you kidding me? Did Jason Campbell sound for one minute like he thinks there’s a quandary? Has Zorn sounded like he doesn’t know who his starter will be this season? Puhlease! Besides, if the owner of the team explores the possibility of a trade, that’s his job. Coaching Campbell up in the midst of those considerations is Zorn’s job, and playing to his peak level regardless is Campbell’s job. Everybody at Redskins’ Park is doing his and her job. Some in the media apparently think their job is to try and invent the news rather than simply report it.
Today’s Dan Snyder is not the Dan Snyder of old. He doesn’t refer publicly to his wife’s comments about which punter to sign. He spends millions on star players who are still in their respective primes. And, he didn’t trade away the 13th pick in the draft just because he could have made a splash. When it comes to Snyder, it’s about time the mainstream media reported today’s news and stopped clinging to yesterday’s sound-bites.