It seems as though everything in Washington has changed and nothing has changed. I’ve been a Skins fan my entire life and through everything, I’ve remained a true fan.
I have a few suggestions that could inspire a true culture change for the Redskins and their fans.
1. Reclaim Washington, DC! I’m sure I’m not the only person to know a little bit about Redskin history and how George Preston Marshall refused to integrate the team and lost much of their minority fan base in the Washington Metro area. I also know many of those fans looked to the Redskins natural rival in the Dallas Cowboys in the 60’s. Also, lets not forget the Washington natives (regardless of race) that chose to support the Steelers or Baltimore Colts, as they were having success in the 70’s.
I may be young but I have traveled a little bit. I’ve been to New York City, Philadelphia, Oakland, San Francisco and even Biloxi, Mississippi ( just after Hurricane Katrina). What I’ve noticed in all these areas is their very visible and very loyal fan base. I worked in Landover, MD for over six years, directly next to Fed Ex field and I have to say at least 80% of my coworkers were Cowboys fans. High School in Prince George’s County was the same; Cowboys, Eagles, Steelers, Giants, Dolphins, Falcons, Panthers, all different teams with fans and a distinct lack of support for the hometown team. Heck, even the Ravens had a little fan base. I just personally want to see the Redskins do consistently well so we can get rid of, or at least have something to say to, these fans of other teams.
2. Danny has to go. What hasn’t changed in Washington recently? Coaches? Nope, seen plenty of them from the ol’ ball coach to the second term of Joe Gibbs. Players? Not even close, we’ve had a new QB almost every year and a new high-paid, under-performing free agent as well. How about the stadium? Fed Ex is fairly new and although all I’ve seen in RFK is Nationals games. I’d imagine more seats would mean more fans and a greater advantage for the Skins, but this is clearly not the case.
The Problem for the Redskins might just be at the very top. Similar to the rival Cowboys with Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder has tried everything except stepping down. He’s had the high priced players, dealt the draft picks, had a few pan out, lead the team through a tragedy in Sean Taylor’s passing, built the brand of the Redskins up to the second most valuable franchise in the NFL just behind Dallas. The only thing he hasn’t done is step down. Dan Snyder is from around here and he is a true fan, but a true fan would want what’s best for the team and not for his various business ventures. I’m sure he could afford the dream seats with field passes on whatever money he made before 1999.
3. Move back to the District of Columbia. All I hear are stories from my father about RFK and “the fun bunch” and “the hogs”, the glory days of DC. I know that more affluent Redskins fans from Northern Virginia already hate the thought of potentially taking the orange or blue lines to the stadium. I also know that 92,000+ people means a lot of parking spaces and a lot of money. If Snyder, or whoever is in charge when Fed Ex becomes obsolete can stomach a potentially smaller stadium in D.C., I say move. Put it in the lot next to RFK, put it on the waterfront near Nationals Stadium; put it somewhere in the District. Maybe we can take a lesson from Philly and have all our major sports in the city and within a reasonable distance of each other.
I’m not even a particularly negative person and I actually hate reading all the negativity about the team but in the words of Chris Berman, “c’mon man!” Enough is enough; I know that I’m not alone in this, something has to give around here. Now with McNabb being benched, Shanahan has made essentially an ultimatum to Snyder. Either McNabb is on his way out or Shanahan is. Redskins may have a top five or top ten pick in the 2011 draft, but what good is one player going to do with a team like ours? Even if Washington goes quarterback, unless they get Cam Newton, the kid is going to be running for his life behind our offensive line. As a fan I’m just tired of it all. Maybe Rex can take out Dallas on Sunday and give us something to be excited about- if only for a week.
[I also do live game commentary and updates, as well as Redskins news and notes via twitter. You can follow me here]