SportsIllustrated.com recently released the NFL’s Best and Worst Owners rankings, and not surprisingly, Dan Snyder was thrown into the bottom five with the Raiders, Bungles, 49ers, and the Lions. Take a second to comprehend those four franchises the Redskins are grouped with.
You HAVE to be kidding, right?
I know I am late jumping in with my response to this article, but I thought hard about how I wanted to reply. My first reaction to seeing Snyder in the bottom five was anger since people always seem to judge Snyder on his past mistakes instead of how he is as an owner today. So let’s take a look at how each owner was graded by SI…maybe I missed something:
· Team's success or failure on the field.
· Willingness to spend money to improve the team.
· Stability and capabilities of the front office and mgmt.
· Amenities at the team's venue.
· Club's culture and interactivity with fans.
OK…wait. Are we judging the owner on how they have improved their team the last few years, or for every mistake the owner has ever made in their tenure? If SI is focusing on the state of each team today, then I really don’t see how they came up with Dan Snyder as the 3rd worst owner.
Team’s success on the field. The Redskins have been to the playoffs two of the last four years with a .500 winning percentage. Does that make Daniel Snyder a top 5 owner? Of course not, but in this category, it does not justify putting him with the likes of the Niners, Lions, Bengals, and Raiders. Washington has arguably remained competitive, which is the least any non-rebuilding team can ask for from an owner. The Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since 1996, and don't get me started on their coaching/roster moves.
Willingness to spend money to improve the team. If Sports Illustrated did a Top 5 just for this category, Dan Snyder should be the CLEAR #1. Dan Snyder's list of personnel mistakes runs longer than the Potomac River, but when it comes to willingness to spend money, few can top Daniel Snyder. The Eagles are one of the worst when it comes to spending money, yet their coaching staff and player development do wonders to hide that year in and year out. I can't imagine how many Super Bowls the Eagles would have won if they paid out some money for a wide receiver not named Terrell Owens.
Stability and capabilities of the front office and management. Yikes. Is there a rock I can hide under right now? I’ve written about this before, and Snyder spoke about this in his media interviews before the NFL draft this year, but the Redskins really have made big strides in this department. The Skins' owner currently is not in charge of any of the roster moves and never has been since Gibbs took over. Snyder has openly admitted his trigger-happy mistakes from the past, and he boasted how much he learned after bringing Gibbs back for a second tour. Gibbs decided to move on and now Washington is entering the Zorn era. Stability is easiest when a Coach leaves his successor a Super Bowl team like Bill Cowher did for Mike Tomlin. Either way, things are running much smoother in DC, but as fans we have to live with outsiders only knowing Snyder for his free agent hirings and firings from the early 2000s. As for stability, there have been a ton of coaching and coordinator changes over the years, so I’ll let the bottom 5 ranking slide for this category. I firmly believe the team is progressing to a top 15 ranking in this category with an anchor for a Defensive Coordinator, Greg Blache, and a Head Coach who shows much more confidence entering his second season.
Amenities at the team’s venue. Well, this is one I have to take my medicine on too. I sit in the club level for all the games, so for me, the amenities are everything I can ask for with the indoor bar, restaurants, the live music before, during and after games, and the cheerleaders. However, a major embarrassment for the fans inside Fedex is the outdated scoreboard and Jumbotron (with all the money that stadium makes, the lack of a Hi-Def screen is unforgivable). The sheer size of the stadium makes some sections/seats hard to reach, and nose-bleed fans sit a very long way from the action. Given the onslaught of newer stadiums and facilities since Fedex opened, it is understandable that Daniel Snyder would slide in this category, with a first-class marvel of a football stadium just up I-95 in Baltimore.
Club's culture and interactivity with fans. This is another unfortunate category where Dan Snyder’s reputation precedes him. In 2000, Snyder charged fans for training camp, which he deservedly got blasted for, but he admitted his mistake and we moved on. This is such a hard category to assess for any team because what does it really mean? The Redskins throw a wildly successful—FREE—draft day party allowing fans to play on the field, take pictures with the Super Bowl trophies, walk through the locker room, get autographs from players, hear the Coach speak, and meet the cheerleaders. I don’t know of many (or any) other teams that do that. I’m sure the Redskins make a killing in apparel and concession sales, but it is a business after all. In addition, the Redskins organization bends over backwards doing charity work, something Dan Snyder personally does more than you can imagine. How can the Redskins possibly be in the bottom five here?
Ugh. It’s just frustrating to see such a large media outlet do a highly publicized article without doing any ample research. If you ask any random fan who they think are the best and worst owners, they would probably come up with this list, but what do they really know? I don’t know the inner details of the 49ers organization, but if I were to compile a list of the Top and Bottom 5 worst owners, I would certainly attempt to interview ex-players and coaches and get some concrete evidence. Every single Redskins player speaks highly of Snyder, even the ones that leave. Demetric Evans was very vocal for his distaste of how the Redskins run their roster, but that is a shot at the front office, not the owner. To me, the results from these half-ass, generic rankings come with the territory. Until the Redskins win an NFC title, Snyder will always undeservedly be thought of as the "worst" owner that is responsible for every bust signing.