It's easy to blame Dan Snyder for the dismal record of the Redskins under his ownership, and his "me-first-with-the-money" management ethic gets part of the blame, but Jack Kent Cooke was a miserly SOB, too, and yet his Redskins were Super Bowl champions. At least his Redskins when they were a Washington, DC-based team. The big change came when the team was pulled out of DC and planted in the suburbs, in Landover, and it has been cursed ever since. We won't have a winning team again until the team is returned to where it belongs - Washington, DC.
Let me take you back for a moment to those dreamy days in the 80s, when the Redskins did nothing but win. Washington was a different city. Congress and the White House got along a whole lot better, we weren't in two wars, Wall Street was under some control, and we, as a community, came together every weekend in a exuberant shared purpose: beating the pants off the other guys. After a victory, especially the big play-off victories, fans would spill into the intersection of Wisconsin and M Streets until the police arrived to (sorta) restore order.
What was extra cool about having the team in DC, at least on home game weekends, was that the city's bars filled with fans before and after the games. Jack Kent Cooke and his wife, Melania Marlena, would host a dozen or more swells in the owner's box. After the game, the Cookes and some of their guests would head to Duke's/Morton's on Connecticut Avenue. This was such a fixture in his life that when he won his Super Browl trophys, Jack put them at the front entrance of the restaurant for all to see and share.
While Jack and Marlena partied at Morton's downtown, many of the Redskins players would show up at Morton's in Georgetown and elsewhere. They had their own table at the front of the restaurant. John Riggins was a regular at my husband's bar, Nathans, and when he was too banged up to head to the bar -- and had to be checked into Sibley instead - he'd have Nathans deliver to him, bedside, a full dinner of homemade fettucini alfredo and a bottle of Moet.
Need I say those were the days.
Today fans spend their before and after time stuck in traffic, Dan Snyder sleeps in his box the night before a game and then goes home after, the players show up at the occasional fundraiser but not carousing in town, and we're not winning. Snyder's public face is that he's not losing if he's making money on tickets and the stadium, but I've interviewed him, and there's a well of insecurity in the man, and most of all he wants to be liked (just like Sally Fields.) The quickest path to that goal would be to invest in an "A" quarterback, coaches and other players. As I stated, Jack Kent Cooke could be angry and cheap, but he knew he had to spend money to win, and so he did. Perhaps kicking and screaming, but still, he stepped up.
Time to step up, Dan. Move the team back to DC. Swallow some of the profit loss. Work it out. Get back on the road to victory. Seriously, otherwise you will be blamed for everything: recession, wars, Congressional gridlock, Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, and on and on.