So in the midst of yet another Week 3 embarrassing defeat that crushes our season, Detroit Last year, Giants in 07 when we could have gone 3-0 etc etc maybe we need to realise that one Cowboys victory does not a contender make and really commit to rebuilding.
This is what my Hawthorn Team did this decade in the Australian Football League (Aussie Rules Football)
In 2001 they made a Preliminary Final (roughly equivalent to NFC Championship Game) with a team that overachieved and had no real youth. The same year a Richmond Tigers team did much the same thing
The Hawks however, bravely, saw that the 2001 draft was rich with talent and traded their best player and any hope to contend in 2002 for the top pick in the 2001 draft and pick 33.
They used these picks to Draft Luck Hodge number one and Sam Mitchell number 33 and they still had their number 14 pick that they used on another good player whose name currently escapes me.
Then over the next two years they traded away their other senior assetts as the team slipped further and further down the standings for draft picks and committed to a mantra of "Play the kids, let them develop". We also signed a young hungry unknown coach who was committed to the philosophy and was prepared to take the barbs in the media about his winning record.
IN 2003 we drafted Lance Franklin at 5 who has become the most exciting and very possible the best player in the competition and Jarrod Roughhead (I swear to god thats his name and his face fits the name) at 2 as well as Jordan Lewis in the 2nd Round, all these players would be integral parts of the HAwthorn side to come
After 2 years of pain the Hawks had a late season surge for a Finals Spot in 2006 which just missed out, but was brilliant because it was OUR KIDS, not transplants that we got to follow and we were invested in their success, we had seen this team grow, and Luke Hodge was now one of the top 5 players in the competition and Sam MItchell was about to be named Captain.
2007 saw a great season with an exciting young team playing in the finals, knocking off a much more experienced Adelaide Team in Week One before falling over to North Melbourne in Week 2 of the Finals
Then 2008 was when we had our real fun, starting the Season Unbeaten for 12 games, having a mid season slump, then playing the Previous Years champion Geelong who had built a dynasty at this stage (3 Grand Finals (Superbowl equivalents) in 3 years. Hawthorn went close in Week 17. lost but gained the confidence they could go with the best team in the comp in front of 90 000 people, and 2 months later knocked them over in an exciting Grand Final. In this 2008 Season Lance Franklin won the Coleman medal (which is the Goalkicking medal, sort of like most TD's I suppose) Sam Mitchell captained the Grand Final team and held the Trophy aloft, Luke Hodge won the Norm Smith Medal (SUperbowl MVP) and Jordan Lewis, Xavier Ellis, Roughhead, Campbell Brown and all the Kids we had watched grown along with 2008 First Rd Pick Cyril Rioli all played key, outstanding roles in getting us the win. And a Coach who still had a sub-500 winning record thanks to them early seasons was now a Grand Final Winning (SuperBowl Winning) coach.
Now this team is still young and even though we have had 2 seasons just crushed by injurys to key players we will go into every one of the next 3-5 seasons as one of the pre-season favourites and are seen as a team that people love to watch.
Now the beauty of this was, not just the winning and the potential dynasty, the beauty of this was the club never lied to its fans, it told them back in 03,04 and 05 that there would be some pain, but they were committed to this strategy and we got to see this team develop in front of us, we didnt sign any FA's until 2008 when the Front OFfice decided the team was ready and signed a very cheap Stewart Dew and then this year a bit more expensive Peter Burgoyne.
Now as for the Richmond Team I mentioned, they thought they were there, loaded up on Free Agents, traded away draft picks to get them (all FA's are really RFA's in the AFL) and spent a couple of years near the finals but have not been back this decade, and are just now, starting a rebuilding program, and they committed all them mistakes under an experienced coach who was committed to winning now. Doesnt that all sound very familiar to Redskins fans.
Look this is not an abstract notion to me, I have sat their and watched it. I can not re-iterate often enough that when your team does it this way, it is not just the winning that is fun, it is the journey to get there. You get to see these young kids with potential make their mistakes one week and learn from them the next, you get to have your moments of doubt, then see them doubts erased.
It is much better than trying to buy a Superbowl, the Superbowl will mean so much more if it is OUR Quaterback and not Phili's who takes us there. Look at the joy we all get from Trent Williams, cos he is ours and Jamaal Brown never can be, look at how we are prepared to give Thomas the endless benefit of the doubt because he is ours.
But this scenario will never happen with Mike Shanahan, hes already served his dues in his own mind, he cant tolerate the hit to his career wining percentage, and he wont be able to trust Snyder to stick with the plan even if he wanted too. So look forward to being the Richmond Redskins, selling dreams that this will be the year we win and losing a decade as a result.