- Yes, a game was played on Sunday, and yes, I watched it (so you don’t have to). Players played, coaches coached, referees reffed and the Redskins lost. FedEx Field was full of fans of the opponent. By the end, the story of the day for the burgundy and gold was the same as what it was when we all woke up that morning: how much time was left for head coach Jay Gruden? That is where we will pick it up today. Instead of writing a Sixpack yesterday about the loss to the New England Patriots or the morning firing of Jay Gruden and the free-for-all that ensued, I wanted 24 hours to think about where we actually are and to sift through the mountain of bullshit that we were fed by the organization. It gives me no pleasure to cover the constant negativity surrounding this team, and I reject the notion that the coverage is at all to blame for the negativity. For God’s sake, I was a 10-6 man at one point over the summer! The environment at Redskins Park and the atmosphere at FedEx Field is...say it with me...ALL BECAUSE OF ONE MAN.
- There’s a scene in the movie Tommy Boy when Chris Farley and David Spade are at a diner and Farley is explaining to the waitress how he takes viable sales opportunities and completely ruins them. He does this by violently assaulting a dinner roll to visually demonstrate the manner in which there is literally nothing left of what was once a legitimate opportunity. This is what Dan Snyder has done to the Washington Redskins. He took a legit brand with seemingly endless value and completely mauled it so that today it doesn’t remotely resemble a viable, upstanding business. I think what is most striking here is that this man grew up as a fan of this team. Can you imagine growing up loving something and then spending your adult life killing that thing? There is no need to imagine what that looks like, because Dan Snyder has done it for us all to witness. Don’t worry though: Dan Snyder has an IMAX movie theater on his yacht where none of this truth can penetrate. He is protected by one of the most impermeable substances known to planet Earth: Bruce Allen. The protective barrier that Allen continues to provide to Dan Snyder blocks everything: shame, heat, blame, accountability...you name it, Teflon Bruce blocks it. Based on the performance we witnessed yesterday, Bruce Allen is as disconnected from reality as you can be, and has no problem speaking to his audience of one. Of all the things we learned yesterday, what remains most apparent is that Snyder’s Fortress of Solitude continues to be
protectedblockaded by Bruce.
- It’s simply CLASSIC Dan Snyder to see all the press the Miami Dolphins have gotten for being terrible and get so jealous that he found a way to go even worse. One has to wonder if the fuel being used to keep the dumpster fire raging at Redskins Park these days is being pumped directly from an IV attached to Dan Snyder’s veins. The Dolphins make zero pretense as to their intentions, and when players began to beg to be traded, the organization actually succeeded in moving one or two. The Redskins, on the other hand, have taken their 0-5 record, fired head coach and stadium devoid of Washington fans and packaged it up as the feel-good hit of the fall!! To hear Bruce tell it, the Redskins are one bounce of the ball away from cementing Super Bowl plans. Otherwise, why wouldn’t our players be pushing their way out of town...wait...I’m being told our BEST PLAYER refuses to suit up for this clown show at this very moment. All this time, I was focused on our inability to play 60 minutes of football without looking like someone threw NFL pads and helmets on the underdog team from a Disney kids movie. Instead, what we should have been focusing on are the PIECES that Bruce Allen has put together. It’s the PIECES!!
- Like most billion-dollar companies, there is a significant amount of power to be wielded by whomever leads the Washington Redskins. When Dan Snyder took over the team, he was the unquestioned leader, out in front, doing interviews, being aggressive and doing exactly what you would expect a guy in his mid-30’s to do if he was all of a sudden in charge of an NFL team he had allegedly been rooting for his whole life. (At some point, don’t we have to at least entertain the possibility that Snyder was NEVER a Redskins fan and that he was always hell-bent on destroying the Redskins from the inside while milking every penny from one of the proudest fanbases in professional sports history? Sure, that assumes that Dan Snyder is capable of drawing up an actual plan and then sticking to it long enough to see any success. Aside from that one thing though...nope, I’m not really seeing why we shouldn’t be looking much harder into this theory.) One thing we kind of always knew about Vinny Cerrato was that he was—at best— in a power-share with Snyder. For the most part, he was a hell of a bullet-taker for Snyder, but his usefulness ran out when he was pumped so full of accountability bullets that he was more Swiss than cheese. Snyder took the power back and then handed it off to Bruce Allen. You might be asking yourselves what is so great about the power associated with running an NFL team in a town where the majority of its own fans would rather get shot by a BB gun in the nads than shell out a single cent to the current owner? Well, that is only something someone asks if they are looking at it rationally from the outside world where the sky is up and the quarterback is down (again). From the inside of a $150 million yacht paid for by the money made from one of the losingest teams in our city’s history, nobody gives a crap what we think.
- Bruce hasn’t just taken the bullets like Vinny used to do for Snyder...he has gone straight-up Matrix on the bullets, and sent them back in the direction of the ones who fired them. In a world where an NFL team makes $250 million a year by simply rolling out of bed in the morning, there is basically zero regard for where those bullets end up. How else do you explain Bruce’s ability to say—and get away with saying—that the culture is so great at Redskins Park and that the pieces are there for a winning team? How else do you explain the mere idea that Allen could and would be part of the solution here? The power doesn’t seem to be sitting with Snyder at all. This all reads out to me as a team where Bruce Allen is fully in charge. Brian Lafemina came in and challenged the status quo by telling fans the truth, trying to re-imagine the gameday experience and creating a corporate culture inside the walls of Redskins Park that measured up to the amount of zeros on its balance sheet. That didn’t sit well with Bruce Allen...so Lafemina and everyone who thought like him are gone. Scot “McLovin” McCloughan came in and challenged the way the roster was being constructed. We can argue amongst ourselves where he succeeded and where he didn’t, but Bruce Allen didn’t like that he wasn’t being credited with putting together the pieces (the mother-loving pieces), so McLovin’ is gone. Jay Gruden came in and tried to have some control over the one area that EVERY offensive-minded coach in the history of football has wanted control over: the quarterback. Bruce Allen didn’t appreciate the way he did or didn’t develop the quarterbacks he was given to coach, so now Jay Gruden is gone. That is somewhat oversimplified, but you get the point. We have been talking about a power void, when all along, Bruce has been in there wielding every bit of it.
- Seldom has so little been done with so many resources without someone taking the fall. The president of the Washington Redskins has overseen a 42-75 record, during which the team has now employed three head coaches, won zero playoff games and ruined the entire calendar day of Sunday for a top-five media market in America (I know, I know...I’m forgetting the pieces). This means that the team steward (Dan Snyder) and the team president (Allen) are playing a decade-long shell game where we are constantly trying to guess who’s actually in charge, in the hopes that at some point, something will go right and there will be a race for one of them to take the credit. Imagine this: Bruce Allen might not get fired until something goes right—because there is no way Dan Snyder will stay in his underground lair and let him take the credit!! And all of this is happening against the backdrop of two of the worst teams in recent memory facing off in Miami on Sunday. Like many of you, I will continue to be rooting for the guys wearing pads and helmets, but I have no idea how I will actually feel if we are able to topple the winless Dolphins. I am pretty sure I won’t be chalking it up to Jay Gruden’s departure. I know I won’t be using it to sell an epic run to the postseason. Maybe a win on Sunday will refocus me back on what is most important about the Redskins...the pieces.
What’s all this talk of rock bottom? That concept is redefined on a daily basis at Redskins Park.