NBC Sports Washington Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died Tuesday night, the network confirmed Wednesday. He was 63. No cause of death was announced.
Tandler covered the Redskins for various publications for more than a decade, creating the Real Redskins blog in 2004 and joining NBC Sports Washington in January, 2011. A George Mason University graduate and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, he authored three books on the Redskins, including “Gut Check: The Complete History of Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins.”
“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” Damon Phillips, NBC Sports Washington’s general manager, said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring, and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”
The Redskins will pay tribute to Tandler at FedEx Field this weekend, team spokesman Tony Wyllie said. No one will sit in his longtime press box seat — Row 1, Seat 15 — again.
“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”
Redskins quarterback Alex Smith and Coach Jay Gruden opened their press conferences on Wednesday by offering condolences to Tandler’s family.
Tandler wrote prolifically on the Redskins for NBC Sports Washington. He was also the senior member of the popular “Redskins Talk” podcast, which he began hosting with NBC Sports Washington Redskins beat reporter J.P. Finlay before the 2016 season.
“Different perspectives from the range of ages of those of us on the podcast creates a good dynamic,” Tandler said in September. “I’ve been around every Redskins Super Bowl going back to 1972 . . . Just having fun is the key to the whole thing . . . That’s what makes it work. It’s organic. We just have fun doing it."
Tandler’s friends, including several current and former colleagues and former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., expressed their sympathies as news of his death began circulating on Wednesday.
“He had that type of laugh that was infectious, it was deep from the belly and before you knew it you’d be laughing too just because,” NBC Sports Washington videographer and ‘Redskins Talk’ co-host Mitch Tischler wrote. “I’m so grateful for the time we had.”
“One of my favorite people in DC sports media when I played and after,” Chris Cooley wrote. “You will be missed my friend.”
“I am so sad to hear about the sudden passing of Rich Tandler,” Earnhardt wrote. "As a fan of the Redskins, I got to become good friends with Rich. He was a great person and will be missed. "
“Rich Tandler was a fine man and beloved by so very many,” NBCSW host Michael Jenkins wrote. “I am thankful that I was able to share in the warm spirit that embodied the kind of person he was.”
“Just a really sweet, funny guy who liked football a lot and took the job seriously,” wrote Tom Curran, who covers the Patriots for NBC Sports Boston.
“Crushed by the news of Rich Tandler’s passing,” wrote NBC Sports Washington Wizards reporter Chase Hughes. “He was the elder statesman of CSN & now NBC Sports Washington. He was a great analyst of the Redskins & a great person. I never saw the guy in a bad mood. I’ll miss his sense of humor & always remember his passion for his work.”