OUR LONG National Football League nightmare is over -- or at least the part of it that $800 million could take care of. With the approval last week of Daniel M. Snyder and his partners as the next owners of the Washington Redskins, a period of uncertainty that has gone on far too long is finally ended. Now all the new ownership has to do is fill a bunch of overpriced, conspicuously empty seats and win enough football games to restore the Washington area to its accustomed position of Sunday afternoon supremacy.
Mr. Snyder, a 34-year-old Bethesda communications entrepreneur who has achieved some remarkable business successes in a relatively short time, says he will do the same at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium (or whatever the place is called when the naming rights are sold). This is brave talk. The Redskins have been out of the playoffs for six years now. The new stadium is proving difficult to get to and depart. The golden days of Joe Gibbs and rocking, roaring RFK Stadium are fading into the past.
Mr. Snyder says he will work on things. Parking problems will be addressed to alleviate the traffic jams that have marred the new stadium's image. The lots will be open earlier to encourage the kind of tailgate parties that used to make RFK's environs a happy place on game days. Efforts will be made to provide a "day-long experience" for Redskins fans, who, like sports fans everywhere, are coming to expect more than just a game for the considerable amounts of money they are laying out; they want a fancy venue, added entertainment and maybe something to keep the kids occupied.
As for the team, "we're all winners in our businesses," Mr. Snyder says of himself and his partners, implying that those who aren't will be gone soon. "Certain players," he added, in an ominous aside, "are severely overweight. They'll be losing weight."
Mr. Snyder says he won't be a meddlesome owner. He is not the first to make this pledge, and some have actually kept it. But for people used to running the show, it can be awfully difficult to avoid getting into on-the-field matters, right down to decisions on individual players. Mr. Snyder seems to have devoted a lot of attention to this particular team since about the age of 6. At a minimum, individual Redskins would be wise to go easy on the cheeseburgers.