This is one of the hardest things that I have ever written. It has taken a lot of introspection, but I realized that I must admit the truth. The Redskins are no longer the great, proud franchise that I grew up with. This isn't because they finished at a vomit inducing 5-11 in a year when competence would have made playoffs, but because the team appears to be so horribly run that one has little hope of improvement.
I am basing this conclusion mostly on two articles. The first is by Tom Friend and tries to explain why the defense went from being great to the becoming the goat in Sports Center highlights. The second is by Jason LaCanfora, and explains the organizational problems with the Redskins. I won't summarize both, but they are good reads assuming there are not any hand guns nearby.
The problem is that Snyder, Cerrato, and Gibbs have tried to win through free agency and over spending for players. This hasn't worked, and what is worse they have traded almost all of their draft picks and alienated the players. On top of this, the group refuses to accept that they have been running the team poorly and exhibit no serious effort to change. Everyone seems to think that they need a competent general manager, and just as many people believe that they are not going to get one.
It is almost as if Dan Synder was watching Peter Angelos and thinking, "Wow, destroying a once great team looks like a lot of fun." Orioles fans at least have hope because attendance is down and at some point Angelos will sell the team. The deal with MLB regarding the Nationals and the league making up the difference between the sale price and the set value in the negotiation will assure that. Snyder has actually topped Angelos because he has:
- Run a proud franchise poorly,
- Abused the fans with ticket prices, parking prices, and inconvenient stadium,
- Consistently fielded a disappointing team with no hope of improvement,
- Made a lot of money!
I still love the Redskins, and will still get upset at every loss, but this season has taken something out of me. Maybe expectations were too high, but the Giants are the only NFC East team to finish the season with the quarterback they started with, and Eli Manning is the worst of the bunch, so I don't think pre-season predictions were too out of line.
Fortunately we have Agent Zero. Seriously, the Wizards are really exciting this year, and Gilbert is a legitimate superstar. I can't tell you how much I wish I had an Arenas Express card. Also, the Caps are suppose to be exciting this year, and trending upwards. They might not win a whole lot, but they are young, fast, and apparently they like to fight. The Nationals might lose just about every game next year, but at least it looks like they know how to run a baseball team so we can dream about the future.
The Redskins are not the only game in town anymore. While it hasn't happened yet, if the team continues it's current performance, Danny is going to feel it in his wallet. Fortunately, that might be the only thing that he will listen to, and might be the only hope that we have.