(Incidentally, a colleague asked whether Simmons only asked me this because I’m now a sort-of Washington Post columnist, and whether there is a secret club of sort-of sports columnists who regularly present each other with fun hypotheticals. The answer is yes.)
Anyhow, Simmons asked me what percentage of Redskins fans would make that deal. Off the top of my head, I said 75 percent. As we talked, though, I decided that estimate might even be low.
Because which Redskins fans, exactly, would say no to that offer? The ones who believe the current team is set to excel in 2016 or 2017? The ones who just couldn’t bear to miss Jay Gruden’s second season, or a full season of Colt McCoy? The ones who have enjoyed the last two dozen NFL Sundays, as their team has put together its worst 20-game stretch since 1964?
Now, I have talked to some friends who don’t agree, who think that older fans would be distraught to endure three years with no local team. Or that perpetually optimistic Redskins fans will find a way to be optimistic about 2015. Or that it’s a lot easier to say yes to a silly hypothetical than it would be to actually watch your team pack up and leave.
Regardless, fan frustration has been focused on different targets in recent years: Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, Robert Griffin III, Vinny Cerrato, Jim Zorn. In recent weeks, though, the owner’s name has been increasingly mentioned. Here, for example, was 106.7 The Fan’s Eric Bickel earlier this week, and yes, he is a sports-radio host prone to histrionics.
“I’ve lived here for 41 years,” Bickel said. “I honestly think I’ve never been this pessimistic about our future….I’ve never felt this hopeless. The last few weeks, the real darkness has set in, and I don’t see any hope on the horizon. Literally, none. … It’s a broken franchise. They’re rudderless. There’s just no hope. I truly do believe, and you just have to admit, that Dan Snyder’s just a poisonous person that has poisoned the organization.”
That’s a pretty strong word. And yet my e-mail inbox is also filling up with treatises on Redskins ownership.
From Tom M.:
It’s Snyder. Face it. As a former management consultant — and that’s what they need — I could advise three basic things for, not the football team, but the enterprise, to embark on a path for success. Really. But of course it won’t happen.
From Ronald from Silver Spring:
Griffin’s ego got in the way that day against Seattle, and I’m sure Snyder’s Snyderness had something to do with that. Now it appears that the world wants to forgive Mike Shanahan. I’m to the point where I want this team to fail some more. It isn’t fair that the fans suffer while Snyder continues to make his money. If we have suffer this badly, the owner needs to feel it too. If Griffin ever makes it with another team, I would so support him crushing Washington on MNF. That would be perfect. This is what the owner has done to me.
From Jim T.:
The reactions of the people you quoted in your front page article reflects what I complained about in my initial email to you. While we desperately want the team to succeed, the utter incompetence shown by the entire organization – from ownership on down – has grown to huge proportions, and this is occurring in a fan base that idolized the franchise prior to Snyder purchasing it.
From Jeff M.:
Coaches, quarterbacks and other players have come and gone. The constant has been the owner. Where is the source of failure? Why should any change in other personnel be different?
From Jim Z.:
It is broken because Snyder is a bad owner, it will stay broken because people keep buying it. Shame on them, and shame on you for not letting the fans know.
From Kenneth F.:
I have been a Redskins fan since the team played in Griffith Stadium, so I’ve seen it all. The current edition has fallen below anything I could ever imagine. I’m embarrassed to wear Burdundy and Gold and may soon join the rest of my family in purple and black (Ravens) on Sundays. Such a sad end to a proud tradition. Thank you Dan Snyder.
There are lots more like those. And so I present you with the Simmons Question. Would you do it?