One Fan's Thoughts On The Problem

Hey everyone. Long-time lurker here; Monday night’s debacle finally compelled me to make an account and post. Been a Redskins fan since the brighter days of Sonny, Len Hauss, Chris Hanbuger, Pat Fischer, (my hero growing up) et al. My first memory of a Super-Bowl is VII against the hated ‘fins. Later memories include riding the Orange Line after a game at RFK, where we beat the Lions 45-0 on a Friday night to start the season, on the way to SB XXVI, and marveling at everyone’s eyes being so red from all the cheering. I was there the night Joe’s leg got broken. (Didn’t see the replay until the next season, and then really wished I hadn’t.) I was at the last Redskins game played at RFK.

I have been and I will always be a fan of the Washington Redskins, despite suffering through all of the horror between then and now. What follows is my opinion, based on my observations; I have no idea what goes on at Redskins Park and in the locker-room. All I can go by is the public face presented by the team and its members. After much observation, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is one overarching problem causing all of the organization’s woes.

The problem is the Redskin’s corporate culture.

Think of a company’s culture as the ‘cradle’ where the goals and ambitions of the company are nurtured to fruition. In my experience, the single most important driver of corporate culture is how the company defines success. Thus, the culture of a company whose goal is to provide a service to the community is often radically different from the culture of a company whose goal is really only to make money.

Therein lies (in my opinion) the problem with the team: Are the Washington Redskins successfully making money? Only Mr. Snyder can say for sure, but I’m inclined to think that yes, if the goal is to make money, the Redskins are successful.

Are the Washington Redskins a successful football team? I don’t know about you, but I consider the 49ers game a textbook example of how not to be a successful football team.

Unfortunately, if corporate culture truly is the root-cause of this team’s ongoing woes, it does not bode well for the future. Changes to the coaching staff, personnel, defensive schemes, offensive schemes, what have you, will have little to no long-term effect on the team’s success, as these changes do not address the root-cause. Storied, successful coaches, once-in-a-lifetime prospects, new innovative strategies, etc, will all succumb to mediocrity as they are poisoned by the culture in which they’re enmeshed. As it has been, so it is now, and so shall it be, until the root-cause is corrected.

At this point, our only hope is Dan Snyder. Corporate culture starts at the top, and a culture change is needed here, lest we continue to do the same things over and over again, expecting different results. If I were to counsel Mr. Snyder, I would recommend that:

1) Decide exactly what success looks like for both you and this team. Decide what’s more important, success for you, or success for the team. If the answer is truly to do what is right for the team, then… 2) Find and put into place people who have a proven track-record of installing and maintaining a culture conducive to a robust and thriving football team. They’re out there. The ones we have are not them. The really good ones won’t be interested in the job unless they are sure that they can install and maintain a healthy culture for the organization. One of the reasons that the culture remains toxic, even though the people change, is that you’re picking the people. I challenge you to think outside the box, and hire the right people, rather than the people who are right for you. Remember that strategies that succeed in the business world do not necessarily translate to the NFL, if what you say you want is success on the field. 3) Once these people are in place, get out of the way. Do not cultivate relationships, do not undercut authority. Basically, sign checks and enjoy games.

As a life-long fan, I hope that this can be fixed. It’s been 22 years since SB XXVI, and I’m tired.


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