There’s an old saying that “The fish rots from the head.” If the rumors, rampant conjecture and conflicting messages are as accurate as they appear to be, the problem with Washington’s football team might just start at the top.
Begin with a look at the seasons since Dan Snyder took over ownership in 1999. There have been six head coaches, none of whom has ever finished his contract, changes in top leadership, and a number of over paid, much hyped and under-performing players coming and going- all of which have led to a series of dismal, losing seasons with only a few good starts, or short-lived reversals and winning streaks that baited the fans into believing real change had come, only to leave them disappointed when the skins once again ended their season with a poor win- loss record.
Then there is all the bad press (karma?) over the team’s name and the claim by Native Americans and others that it is racist and insulting. The debate about changing it has been hotly brewing during this season and Dan Snyder’s response has been to recall the name’s history- how it came into use and who inspired it, along with his continued insistence that it was chosen as an honor to America’s first citizens.
All this along with having to battle hours in heavy traffic to attend games, high ticket prices, and a large mark-up on the costs of food and drinks at the stadium. No wonder so many season ticket holders have been selling out and there are a lot of unsold seats at games. It just doesn’t feel worth it anymore when you can watch the game in comfort in front of your large screen TV- and click off when you have had enough, changing to something that offers a feel good experience instead.
A clear and consistent message coming from this owner is that profits are the goal. The team name is a well-known brand, not an honor, and changing it would be costly and could impact revenue. A lot of money has been invested in winning- and passed off to fans who no longer have much interest in subsidizing a losing team.
Imagine what could happen with a new owner who would put passion above profits and reward loyal fans with lower ticket prices and related costs for those attending games- someone who might choose a new name that would bring a sense of pride and honor back to Washington’s once beloved team? Profits might take a hit at first but in time loyal fans, a strong and cohesive team and coaches who could do their job unfettered by the number one concern of how a decision will affect the bottom line- could make the new and improved franchise a very lucrative winner once again.