Loyalists of Washington’s pro football team might be incredulous about the team’s recent fan survey, upset over why Daniel Snyder waited until Mike Shanahan won an NFC East title and the team’s national Q-rating soared to solicit their opinions. The general consensus breaks along these two lines:
“Great. Beautiful. What happened to the survey in my inbox after 4-12 and all the dysfunction of 2009?”
And, “Does the owner really think I can’t see through this charade, how turning complex issues into simple-minded, focus-group questions just helps his myriad causes, including: tying his likability to Robert Griffin III’s; firming up support for the team’s embattled slur of a name; and the continued, distorted belief that this newspaper conspires against him daily.” (It’s actually just once a week.)
Upon further review of the survey, though, it’s time to cut Snyder slack. While still insulting the intellect of most mammals, the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other quiz asks valid, unbiased questions about fan experience. More important, this was a marked improvement over an earlier, more strident version of the team’s survey, which came with my one-time NSA subscription fee:
1. Which of the following statements from the team would give you the best feeling about the future of the franchise:
●We’ve had some rough years, but we’ve also been to the playoffs recently with a very exciting quarterback who wipes clean any of our impulsive, wrong-headed decisions the past 14 years. We want to thank you in advance for forgiving us and concentrating on Robert Griffin III and the future.
●We’ve made some mistakes and probably should have asked you what you thought when we were 4-12 or 5-11. But RGIII heals all wounds, doesn’t he? So we’re excited that you’re excited and, again, ask that you focus on RGIII and the future.
●We believe in accountability. We just don’t understand why you keep bringing up our coach leaving the future of the franchise in the game with one good leg this past January. Did we mention he was never hurt on an actual designed run? Focus. Robert. Future. Got it?
2. Which of the following team slogans makes you the most excited about the 2013 season?
●Robert Gandhi III
●RGIII Passion, RGIII Pride
●No Rehab, No Diamonds
●We Will Call Ourselves What We Damn Well Please
3. Which of the following would you say best describes what makes our fans unique?
4. How would you rate the coverage of our franchise in The Washington Post?
●Not nearly as objective and newsworthy as Larry Michael
●Very unfair toward Daniel Snyder and, in general, humanity
●The Post still prints?
5. Which of our traditions do you like the most?
●Old men putting on dresses and pig snouts at games
●Our way-cool song that we know unifies Burgundy and Gold Nation and other, lesser-known tribes
●Offensive linemen of grit and character who played when Reagan was in office
●The pride and tradition of what our noble team name stands for, the name that leftist social engineers and, like, probably two American Indians are trying to white-guilt us into giving up
6. About that team name: Should we change it?
7. What can the team do to make you feel more valued?
●Have Bruce Allen keep saying we are the greatest fans in the world
●Organized, relatively inexpensive travel junkets to Richmond for training camp, which may include parking
●Absolutely nothing. You guys are the greatest. You make us feel a part of the team.
And now let’s talk about the game-day experience.
8. Overall, considering every aspect of game day, what’s your overall opinion of the fan experience at FedEx Field?
●Affordable and culturally enlightening
●Completely safe, hassle- and profanity-free
●Best stadium in the NFL, Asia and Europe, bar none
9. What would be the best reason not to attend a game in the upcoming season?
●I don’t want to jinx them
●I would feel selfish moving up on the eternal season ticket waiting list
10. Which is better? The fan experience at …?
11. If a new stadium was built, where would you like it to be?
●Cornfield in Iowa
●Where FedEx Is now
●Where RFK Is now
12. If we keep whetting your appetite regarding a return to Washington and our Diesel-horn glory days, will you promise to pay for . . .
●90 percent of a new stadium
●Every last penny, including a colossal scoreboard that would emasculate Jerry Jones
13. What is your overall opinion of Daniel Snyder’s performance as owner?
●Just a little favorable
●Just a little, teensy-weensy, itsy-bitsy favorable
●Almost infinitesimally favorable. But still favorable.
14. Over the past year, has your opinion of Daniel Snyder as owner . . .
●Blown-up like RGIII
●Improved tenfold because he’s not meddling with personnel anymore. Honest.
15. Daniel Snyder is actively involved in and genuinely committed to the community.
●Totally agree. My man, Dan!
●Mostly agree. He allows me to renew my season tickets every year. A lot of owners wouldn’t do that.
●Wholeheartedly agree. He really cares. I mean, he sent me this survey, didn’t he?
For more by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.