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McNabb benefiting the Redskins in advertising and merchandise sales

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By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 12, 2010

Donovan McNabb isn't the only one who stands to benefit from his relocation. A flurry of phone calls over Easter weekend gave the Washington Redskins their most recognizable player in years, if not decades.

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Team owner Daniel Snyder grew up a Redskins fan and has a special fondness for the quarterback position, held down over the years by such legends as Sonny Jurgensen and Sammy Baugh, and D.C. favorites such as Billy Kilmer and Joe Theismann.

"When you have that special quarterback, it's just a big deal for the town," Snyder said. "They're hard to come by."

Since Snyder bought the team in 1999, it has fielded 10 starting quarterbacks and drafted seven (though only two in the first four rounds). During his tenure, he'd never seen the star power at quarterback that McNabb brings.

"They're rare," Snyder said. "The successful ones are rare."

So it's not surprising that McNabb was prominent in the advertising campaign the team launched in July. Along with Coach Mike Shanahan, General Manager Bruce Allen and a couple of teammates, McNabb's face began popping up all over town: on Metro trains, the sides of buses and billboards.

McNabb's merchandise sales have also benefited the team. Since the trade, the Redskins have been No. 6 in the league in terms of jersey sales, thanks in large part to McNabb having the league's second-best selling jersey. Over the same period last year, they were No. 10, according to http://NFLShop.com.

Before McNabb took even a single snap, the Redskins felt they had a player who could not only lead a locker room but could serve as the face of the franchise. Snyder instantly knew that adding McNabb was an important step for the franchise.

He was vacationing with family and friends in Turks and Caicos and was receiving a slew of text updates from Allen. Initially, he didn't believe the Eagles were sincerely trying to unload McNabb on a division rival, however.

"The whole time I was skeptical because, like everyone, you think they're just using us to up the offer from someone else," Snyder said.

"Finally, [Allen] popped the question: 'Hey, where's the airplane?' That's when I knew it was real."

The team's interest in a new quarterback was hardly a secret in league circles. Many expected the Redskins to negotiate with St. Louis for Marc Bulger if the McNabb deal didn't happen.

"To me, it's really about what Mike wants to do, what Bruce wants to do and me supporting them and helping them move forward," Snyder said.

"One of the things they talked about early on was the quarterback position. That's something they wanted to look at."

As his family sat down to eat, Snyder raced to his private plane and returned to Washington. He calls McNabb "the total package," and adding him to the roster was well worth cutting his vacation short.

Allen met the owner at the airport and immediately handed him a cellphone. "Here's your new quarterback," he told Snyder.


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