4 best (almost) moments of Dan Snyder’s time as Commanders owner

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Dan Snyder
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Dan Snyder /
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What are the best and almost great moments of Dan Snyder’s turbulent ownership of the Washington Commanders spanning more than two decades?

In 1967, three years after Daniel Marc Snyder was born, the Hollies had a modest hit, penned by Graham Nash after a visit to the United States. Nash couldn’t have known how incisive these lyrics would be in describing the tortured, tumultuous 24-year period in which Dan Snyder would own the Washington Commanders:

“He’s not the man to hold your trust

Everything he touches turns to dust….

He’s King Midas with a curse

He’s King Midas in reverse.”

There will be a lot written about the Snyder years now that the end is upon us. I’m setting out today to choose the four best moments from that era, and I’ve got to tell you, it ain’t easy.

It’s borderline Sisyphean. Much like King Midas in reverse, it seems like even the good things that Snyder may have done – or perhaps wanted to do – ultimately turned to dust.

I’ll give you a brief example – something I will not be using as part of the list, but which spells out the problem rather neatly. In 2014, Snyder, with great fanfare, announced the launch of the WROAF. This was not a foundation dedicated to honoring Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Roaf. If it were, I could tell you what the acronym stands for. It would stand for Willie Roaf.

But this particular WROAF had a name that journalistic standards and practices on this site – and most others – prohibit me from typing in its entirety. It stood for “Washington (name redacted) Original Americans Foundation.” And it was, at least initially, a good idea.

Snyder was attempting to deflect attention from the storm clouds forming around the team’s decades-old nickname by pouring money into charity. In the first year of its existence, 2015, Native American organizations received $3.7 million dollars in donations from the franchise.

I don’t care what the motivations were. That’s a lot of much-needed money going to worthy causes.

But as with almost everything Snyder has done with the Commanders, the bloom fell from the rose very quickly. Subsequent years saw donations drop at a rate of about 50 percent per year until in 2018, that contribution had shrunk from $3.7 million to $303,000.

In 2019, it was zero.

Such has been life in Snyder’s reign. Problems are addressed through flashy PR moves, with little planning, patience, or follow-through. The results, even on the rare occasion that the initial idea was sound, have ranged from disappointment to disaster.

So I caution you before beginning. These are not necessarily happy memories. And these are the highlights – the best (sort of) moments of Snyder’s ownership.