My mother is an avid football fan and watches the Redskins every weekend in the fall. She knows a lot about the players, coaches, rules, and strategies that make up an NFL game. My only quarrel with her sports knowledge is that she credits every result, good or bad, to unmeasurable things like “teamwork,” “confidence,” and “swagger.” You know the kind of person I’m talking about? Sure, confidence and togetherness are components of any game, but too often these ideas are conflated to justify results after the fact. Teams that win had “good chemistry”, while teams that lost had a “toxic locker room.” Today in The Washington Times, Rich Campbell (usually one of the most insightful writers in the area) writes an article that seems custom fit for my mother. Look no further than a recent bowling trip to show how far the Redskins culture has changed:
“There’s much love among the Washington Redskins this spring. So much, in fact, that it spreads all the way to Dallas.”
I’m already skeptical of his thesis.
“Winning has a way of proliferating good vibes. (As do ongoing positive results of a certain quarterback’s knee rehabilitation.) The Redskins finally are realizing that.”
Imagine how much wood Haynesworth could knock back in one sitting!
“But the bowling alley scene shows what makes the process work over the long term.”
Cold nachos, awkward teenagers, and black lighting?
“Culture change is about people. So is assembling the roster. The two are so interconnected that an organization’s survival can depend on it. Snyder, Allen and Shanahan share the same goals, and Shanahan, who has final say in roster decisions, has their respect. So when there was an opportunity to trade three first-round picks and a second rounder to acquire a franchise quarterback last year, they seized it. In contrast to the Vinny Cerrato-Jim Zorn era, there is working harmony in the offices at Redskins Park these days.”
Let’s make sure we put the fluff in proper perspective.