Lordship, money, alcohol, backstabbing…Washington has it all.
No, I’m not talking about the President of the United States.
No, I’m not talking about Congress’s approval rating going up to a more “respectable” 28%.
And no, I’m not even talking about the dumpster fire that is Washington Metro.
Instead, I’m talking about a different kind of Washington dumpster fire, one that is centered around 21300 Redskin Park Drive in Ashburn, VA. One that has been centered there for quite some time. Little did Redskins fans know back in 2002 that, when team owner Dan Snyder fired head coach Marty Schottenheimer after just one season at the helm to bring in Steve Spurrier, it was the beginning of years of futility; the beginning of a rain of fire and brimstone upon the team and its die-hard fans that has lasted for 16 years. A storm that emanated from Snyder himself.
Snyder-run teams have often been abysmal. If you ask Redskins teams how they think their teams have looked on the field over the past 16 years, this might be your #1 answer:
The latest drama surrounding fan-favorite and franchise record-setting QB Kirk Cousins, Scott Mcloughlan and his alcoholism(?), Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder shouldn’t be seen as something unexpected by those who have bled maroon and gold for generations. However, it is a level of dysfunction that is causing some Skins fans to begin questioning their loyalty to this once proud franchise. For years, NFL fans have come to recognize Redskins fans as some of the most loyal, dedicated sports fans in the country. You couldn’t imagine a Redskins fan giving up on their team any more than you could a Cowboys fan (though Jerry Jones at times in his ownership certainly tested their loyalty). However, this offseason Snyder has pissed Skins fans off in ways that Jones never could with Cowboys fans.
To recap the Redskins’ 2017 offseason: McLoughlan was fired for unspecified reasons, with a leak coming out hinting that he was dealing with alcoholism issues again (a rumor that some say may not be true and is instead an underhanded ploy used by Snyder and his lapdog Allen to make him look bad. Maybe the sales at the Whole Foods in Ashburn were just too good to pass up?). His removal was done during the most important part of the offseason: the combine and beginning of free agency. BOTH Garcon and Jackson leave (the first time in NFL history that two 1,000 yard receivers left the same team in the same offseason). Cousins demands a trade after being told he was going to be put on the franchise tag yet again. The defensive coordinator was fired, and the offensive coordinator bolted to become head coach in Los Angeles. Oh, and the former offensive coordinator who drafted Cousins and was fired by Snyder years before? Sitting in San Francisco as the new head coach and publicly drooling over how much he wants to bring Cousins to his QB-strapped team out on the left coast.
You Like That? Breaking Down the Cousins Fiasco.
I can’t even begin to describe the clusterfuck that this organization is right now. And it all starts at the top with Dan Snyder. First, let’s start with Kirk Cousins. Trivia question: What do Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Russel Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have in common? They are all pro-bowl, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. In the NFL, unless you have a record-setting defense, the odds of your team winning the big game without a star quarterback is infinitesimal. Pro-bowl caliber QBs are few and far between, so when you have one it MIGHT actually be a good idea to hold onto him. That seems to be the opposite thinking of what’s going on in Washington. Instead of locking down their star QB, they put another franchise tag on him. By doing that, it leaves them with only three options:
Option 1: Use the extra time to negotiate a long-term deal. That seems unlikely, considering that Cousins has already demanded a trade and has stated that he will not sign any long-term deal unless Bruce Allen is fired. Given that no one tells Snyder what to do, it is highly improbable that he will give in to Cousins’ demands. Snyder has long shown the propensity to not give two shits when people try to tell him what to do. He sees himself as the absolute Lord of his franchise and not even God himself could come down and tell him to do something differently.
Option 2: Trade Kirk Cousins. Under the franchise tag, a trade can result in receiving two first round picks. Kyle Shanahan is already foaming at the mouth to get Cousins in San Francisco, and they hold the #2 overall pick this year. (Don’t even try to buy into Shanahan’s “we’re building around Brian Hoyer” nonsense.) Chances are, even if they land Cousins they won’t be that great next year with all the holes they have to fill, so San Fran’s first round pick in 2018 will probably be fairly high as well. If this option came to pass, the Skins would essentially be trading a pro-bowl QB for an unproven commodity. Also, this year’s QB draft class is rather weak with no sure-fire #1 overall pick at the position. This option is also unlikely. First, Snyder would never in a million years send his star QB to be coached by any of the Shanahans. Second, from San Fran’s perspective, why give up a couple of first rounders when the next option seems most likely…
Option 3: The Redskins slap the Transition Tag on Cousins for 2018. This would be the dumbest option for the Skins, and sadly the most likely. The Transition Tag would increase Cousins’ salary from $23.94 million this year to $28.78 million next year. Teams can still make offer sheets to Cousins, but Washington would have the right to match any offer. When teams make offers, it will be significantly higher than what Cousins is getting will be paid under the transition tag. If Washington wants to keep Cousins, they would have to sign him to a long-term deal at a price higher than they were willing to pay before. If they decide not to match an offer sheet, they lose him with no compensation. A win-win scenario for Cousins and a lose-lose for the Skins. And all Shanahan has to do is wait for 2018.
Dan Snyder: Greedy, Whiny, Uncaring
Dan Snyder is the worst owner in sports. No, really, he is. He tops the poll in this Rolling Stone Magazine ranking of the worst owners in all of sports. That’s pretty bad when you’re considered a worse owner than James Dolan, The Devos Family and Jimmy Haslam. It’s not easy to be the worst of the worst. It takes a lot of effort. One offseason like this one will not put you there overnight, but it can solidify the place you already own at the top of the trash heap. It takes years of evil to be able to piss fans off so much that they are considering dumping their beloved team. Not counting this offseason, let’s take a look at some of the ways Snyder has made such a name for himself:
–Vinny Cerrato. A name cursed among the Redskins faithful. Longtime General Manager Charley Casserly (who built the Super Bowl team in 1991) was let go in favor of Snyder’s racquetball buddy, Cerrato. What followed were years of overspending on washed out players, and poor drafting. Cerrato briefly hosted a Monday morning talk radio show until he couldn’t handle all the anger from Redskins fans who called in. Eventually he stopped coming to the show after Redskins losses before quitting the show altogether.
–Steve Spurrier. Perhaps jealous of the “Greatest Show on Turf” happening with the Rams, Snyder fired Marty Schottenheimer after one season to bring in Steve Spurrier and his “Fun N Gun” offense. NFL defenses quickly figured out how to stop a college-level offense and Spurrier’s offense stumbled. After a 7-9 record in his first season, Spurrier went 5-11 the next. He resigned at the end of that season and returned to coaching college ball.
–The Entertainment Tax. Prince George’s County collects a 10% entertainment tax from each ticket sale as part of the deal for putting the football stadium there. These charges are added once you purchase the ticket. Snyder removed them from them being included in the ticket price and hiked the price of tickets up to astronomical levels.
–$10. Amount Snyder began charging fans to watch football practice, becoming the first team to do so (all other NFL teams allowed fans to attend for free). He also charged an additional $10 for parking at football practice.
–2006 fan “appreciation” day. Five hour day with only two hours of scrimmage. Fans addressed by a bunch of nobodies in the front office. Fans could not get autographs or photographs with any of the players or coaches. Oh, and though they didn’t mention it in any of their advertisements, fans had to pay $25 to park on their “appreciation” day.
–Jim Zorn. Seen by many as perhaps the worst NFL head coach hire in the history of the league. Zorn had previously been nothing more than a QB coach when he was tabbed to be the HC of the Skins. He was so inept, that eventually his play-calling duties were turned over to a guy who was calling bingo at a retirement home before Snyder hired him. The term “Zorned” can now be heard in the DC area as a euphemism for incompetence.
–Snyder will sue your grandmother. 73 year-old Pat Hill was sued by the Redskins in 2009 because she could no longer afford the rising costs of season tickets. She had previously been a season-ticket holder for 50 years.
–Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Albert Haynesworth, Jeff George, Donovan McNabb. Snyder doesn’t know the difference between running a fantasy football team, and an actual football team. Overpriced busts who contributed nothing but headaches, fan frustration and payroll nightmares.
–Sign bans at the stadium. Snyder said he had to institute this policy because of “safety” reasons. In reality, nearly every sign was derogatory towards Snyder and Cerrato and poor little Snyder’s feelings were hurt.
–Dedication to RGIII. Fans were weary at first when the Skins gave up so much to move up in the draft and take the former Heisman Trophy winner. After the first year, it looked as if the deal was worth it with Griffin leading the team to the playoffs. However, Shanahan’s constant use of a damaged player and Griffin’s inability to slide when he began to run led to a rash of injuries. Clearly not the player he once was, Shanahan wanted to move on to another QB, but Snyder refused. Eventually Griffin’s injury woes and poor play became too much even for Snyder, but not before Snyder jettisoned Shanahan and his son in favor of backing his prized draft pick.
–He might pay Deion Sanders, but he ain’t gonna pay you. A group of employees sued Snyder in 2008 when they were not paid for overtime. Snyder tried to argue that overtime rules did not apply to them. He lost the case. Soon after, he made every new employee sign a waiver agreement that states they will never sue him for any reason once employed.
–We’re only wired for analog. For years, Snyder refused to upgrade the videotron at the stadium while other stadiums around the country were going to hi-def. Video was often spotty and replays hard to see. The excuse was that the stadium was only wired for analog. Yet, when U2 came to perform, their high-def equipment seemed to work just fine on those same wires. A new jumbotron was eventually installed.
–Six Flags. Snyder was so inept as a Board member for Six Flags, that he was eventually removed from the Board for “fiduciary irresponsibility.” By the time that happened, Six Flags stock had dropped to worthless. Bill Gates himself lost over $10 million from the price drop.
–Profiting off 9/11. By simply sewing an image of the Pentagon on the side of black Redskins caps, Snyder demanded coaches wear them and fans buy them at a price of $23.99 in 2006. (no other team was doing this at the time). After 9/11 he added a $4 “security charge” to the cost of all tickets.
–To Hell with the National Park Service, I want a river view! Snyder defied the National Park Service and had acres of federally protected trees removed so that he could see the Potomac River from his mansion.
–The Redskins Mastercard. Snyder told fans he was ONLY going to accept credit card payments from this particular card for any 2005 season ticket purchases. Mastercard had to step in and tell him to knock it off.
–$50 to Leave a Ticket at Will Call. Not a season-ticket holder? That will be an additional $50 if you want to leave your ticket at Will Call for someone.
–The Redskins Broadcast Network. While the rest of humanity saw Snyder and his ownership for what it was, Snyder did everything to make his state-run broadcast network display nothing but sugarcoated goodness about the Redskins.
Where Do Things Go From Here?
That’s the $23 million dollar question, isn’t it? Snyder’s not going anywhere, and just when you think he’s stepping aside and letting the right people call the shots, we suddenly have an offseason like this one. What should have been an offseason where the defense was addressed and the team take another step forward, is instead one more crazy year reflective of, literally, the worst owner in sports. If Cousins is traded, it’s unlikely that the team will turn over the reigns to a rookie QB right away. Colt McCoy is also probably not the answer with his semi-noodle arm. Can you imagine what would happen if the Redskins sign either Brock Osweiler, Tony Romo or, God forbid, RGIII (all of who are currently looking for work)?
I’m pretty sure the reaction from Redskins’ fans would be thus:
Many thanks to the Washington City Paper for their always awesome coverage of the Redskins.