clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A New Stadium for Dan Snyder's Redskins? Sure! Why not?

Dan Snyder wants a new stadium to replace 17-year-old FedEx Field.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Sure.  Why not?  Whatever Dan Snyder wants.

The news broke last night that Snyder and company have begun the process of designing a new stadium to replace FedEx Field at some non-specific point in the future ("Sooner, rather than later," says Snyder).

An incredulous (non-Redskins) football fan asked me what in the world Dan Snyder was thinking trying to launch a new stadium initiative at this moment in history.  As a credulous (Redskins) football fan, I was able to answer with ease.  There are several reasons why Dan Snyder would want to start talking about a new stadium, especially now:

1.  As Snyder himself said in his interview with Chick Hernandez, he wants to host a Super Bowl.  And FedEx will never get one.  Now that the NFL has lost its "cold-weather Super Bowl" virginity, Snyder wants in.  If "New York" (read: swamps in New Jersey) can host a Super Bowl, there's no reason why the Washington area couldn't host the game as well if it has a modern venue.  Speaking of which . . .

2. FedEx Field is only 17 years old, but it has been showing its age for a while.  There are some bad sightlines, the parking is fairly terrible, and, even more troubling, the playing surface is perhaps the worst in the NFL.  The "Game Day Experience" is rather awful.  The only thing FedEx has going for it is a high seating capacity, and even that has been reduced in recent years because people have begun to catch on to that parade of horribles I just referenced.  Snyder has specifically said he wants a more "RFK-like" feel to the new stadium.  This would not only include a lower bowl that rocks with fan exuberance, but also a more reasonable seating capacity.  A new stadium would wind up larger than RFK's modest 45,000+ seating capacity, but it would be nowhere near the maximum size of FedEx.  Also never forget that Snyder inherited FedEx (f/k/a Jack Kent Cooke Stadium).  He wants to have a place that's truly his.  If he gets his way and has the freedom (read: accessible funds) to do so, Snyder will do what he can to upstage the
House That Jerruh Built.  That could get fun and possibly weird.  But mostly fun.

3. Snyder is just dying to read a thousand columns from Salon, Deadspin, HuffPo, The Nation, Slate, and the Washington Post on the topic of how leveraging a new stadium is the ideal method to force a name change.

4. All kidding aside, Snyder has entered the unenviable space that one might call the "Dubya Zone."  If Dan Snyder makes a bad move, he'll get hammered by the media.  If Dan Snyder makes a good move, he'll get hammered by the media.  I'm not absolving Snyder, here: Because of his clear past mistakes and PR blunders, most of the media dislikes him so much at this point that anything he does will be met with a response along the lines of "That a-hole is at it again."   Therefore, if you're Dan-ed if you do and Dan-ed if you don't, why not double down on building a new stadium?  If Snyder wants to ditch a sub-par facility in an increasingly unfriendly jurisdiction in favor of a home field that might host a Super Bowl sometime in the late 2020s, there's no time like the present to get those slow wheels moving.  As a bonus, the "hubris" this move displays temporarily leaps to the top of the anti-Snyder camp's grievance list, possibly taking just a bit of the spotlight off of that other thing - if only for a couple of days.

5. Virginia is still very friendly to the Redskins.  It's the most likely landing spot for a new stadium.  Remember: The leadership of both DC and, to a lesser extent, Maryland have made it clear that they're not fans of the nickname.  Meanwhile, in the Commonwealth, neither Senator (both Democrats) signed the name change letter of a couple of months back, and a bipartisan group of state legislators founded the "Redskins Pride Caucus."  Over and above general "friendliness" to the team, Virginia is perceived as more business-friendly than either DC or Maryland.  The Redskins' training camp and team headquarters are already in the Old Dominion.  Moving all operations there makes some sense.  As a Richmonder, I can tell you that local news stations have already begun reporting that Snyder and Governor Terry McAuliffe have communicated on the topic of a new stadium.  There's no downside for Virginia to pursue such a relationship.  Especially when a certain WaPo columnist has already decided that the Redskins "belong" to Virginia now , since our state's population is apparently made up largely of knuckle-dragging racists who can barely cobble together a sentence.  You know - like me!

The one thing Snyder has going for him - well, other than being a billionaire - is that he honestly has very little to lose now in terms of goodwill.  Aggressively and openly pursuing a new stadium at this moment may seem foolhardy and brazen at first blush.  However, when an overwhelming majority of the media (and a sizable chunk of your own team's fans) don't much care for you already - why not go for it?

There's nowhere to go but up*.