The Washington Commanders are celebrating 90 years as an NFL franchise this season. The celebration started over the weekend when the team revealed a 90th anniversary patch that players will wear on their uniforms.
That was a nice touch from Washington. Unfortunately, that was about all the organization got right in regard to celebrating its history.
On Saturday, the Commanders announced they’ll add 10 players to their “80 Greatest” list, thus making it the “90 Greatest.” The team gave fans a list of 15 candidates to choose from so some tough omissions would need to be made.
All good, right? Not exactly.
While fans would have to leave some great players off their respective ballots, the Commanders made a shocking omission themselves by leaving Trent Williams, one of the most decorated offensive lineman in franchise history, off the list.
As you would imagine, Williams’ exclusion didn’t resonate with fans, who took to social media in droves to slander the franchise. Amid overwhelming outcry, Washington updated the ballot to include the star left tackle on Monday.
The Commanders added Trent Williams to their “90 Greatest” ballot.
It’s really a shame fans bullied the Commanders into adding Williams, arguably their greatest player from 2010-18, to the ballot. A former No. 4 overall pick in 2010, Williams is one of the greatest draft picks in Washington history. He started 119 games and made seven straight Pro Bowls spanning 2012-19.
Before Williams was added, Washington fans could choose from the following players: Kirk Cousins, Santana Moss, Mike Sellers, London Fletcher, Ryan Kerrigan, Champ Bailey, who was traded after five seasons, Joe Lavender, Darryl Grant, Alfred Morris, DeAngelo Hall, Chris Cooley, Stephen Davis, Larry Peccatiello, LaVern Torgeson and Chip Lohmiller.
Of course Williams belongs in that group, but perhaps the ugly terms on which he departed Washington compelled the team (ownership?) to exclude him.
On top of butting heads with former president Bruce Allen, Williams accused Washington’s medical staff of misdiagnosing a cancerous growth on his head.
As a result, the 33-year-old sat out the entire 2019 season and was ultimately traded to the 49ers before the 2020 draft. Despite missing a full season, Williams has reminded everyone he’s the game’s premier left tackle, as his 96.6 PFF grade since 2020 ranks first among tackles by nearly five points.
We suppose the Commanders deserve credit for including Robert Griffin III after initially omitting the former Offensive Rookie of the Year. While RGIII’s career fizzled out after his groundbreaking rookie campaign, he really galvanized a fan base that had watched three-straight losing seasons before his arrival. Simply put, his legacy won’t soon be forgotten in these parts, even though it was short-lived.
The reason for Griffin’s omission? It likely had something to do with him revealing his intentions to write a “tell-all” book detailing Washington’s dysfunction and the “shocking mismanagement and toxic culture “within the franchise.
For what it’s worth, the book won’t be published.
We commend the Commanders for owning up to their mistake(s) here, but at some point they have to get out of their own way.
While reshaping their public imagine won’t happen overnight, they continuously do wrong by former great players — see Sean Taylor’s jersey retirement ceremony — that most organizations would otherwise nail in their sleep.