Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Washington Commanders fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in regular email surveys.
We have 3 questions for you today.
The first is all about the approach you want to see taken by the new owners. Those old enough to remember will recall the Dan Snyder approach when he took over the Redskins franchise in 1999. The timing was similar to what we are experiencing now, with Dan Snyder buying the team in May (though the finalization of the current sale might be a few weeks later).
After acquiring the Redskins in the Spring, Dan Snyder acted quickly, firing a couple of dozen people in short order and pushing then-GM Charley Casserly out the door before the season started. Here’s a report from the Baltimore Sun published in August of that year, roughly 3 months after Snyder had taken control of the franchise:
“I used to say it was pretty difficult to get fired around here,” an ex-employee of the Washington Redskins said with a rueful grin recently.
It’s gotten a lot easier for Redskins employees to get fired since communications executive Daniel Snyder bought the team recently for $800 million.
Snyder has swept through the Redskins’ offices like a hurricane, firing about 25 employees from the general manager to the stadium director to the public relations director.
There is a contingent of Washington fans that would like to see the same thing happen in Washington in 2023, with the primary targets often being drawn on the titular GM Martin Mayhew, or on team President Jason Wright and any of his close advisors. Many fans would also like to see Ron Rivera gone, but with the practicalities of the timing, seem resigned to what would amount to a lame duck season for the head coach.
We all know that loud voices can sometimes sound like the majority opinion, but often that majority is a mirage. I thought it would be interesting to see what general approach Hogs Haven members want to see taken by the new owners. Should it be “out with the old, in with the new” right away, or would you prefer to see a more measured approach, letting the 2023 season run its course with Dan Snyder’s front office and coaches left in place while the owners evaluate what they’ve bought, leaving any big decisions for later?
Questions Two and Three
The other two questions are about the next stadium. As most fans are aware, the lease at FedEx runs to 2027. This is a relatively short timeline for negotiating a new stadium location, and then designing and building the structure. One reason that no plan is currently in place is that local governments essentially refused to deal with Dan Snyder. This inability to put together a new stadium deal may be the primary reason he decided in November to sell the franchise.
The end of the current lease in 2027 does not create a “hard” deadline. The team owns FedEx Field, and it should be a relatively simple matter to make arrangements to continue playing games there if the new stadium isn’t ready to go by then. From a practical standpoint, however, FedEx is the worst stadium in the NFL, and everyone is keen to get the next stadium built and opened as part of the process of moving on from the Snyder era and into the next phase of franchise history.
My first inclination was to ask which location fans preferred, but I think that would have been almost meaningless as even the majority of fans who live in Maryland and Virginia seem to support a return to the RFK stadium site in DC.
Instead, I thought that it would be more interesting to ask what type of stadium you’d like to see.
It is, of course, impossible to separate the type of stadium from the location. For example, there are things that are possible on the 200 acres of land the team owns in Landover that can’t be done on the current RFK site, which is considerably smaller, and commuter transport systems can’t be re-routed to suit a newly built stadium.
Still, I’ve offered the choices in the poll simply as styles of stadium, divorced from the question of where it would be located. I’ll leave that to the new owners to figure out. What we want to do today is tell them what kind of stadium they should be trying to build.
I suspect a lot of fans remember the Bruce Allen concept that was touted a few years ago, with the “moat” around the stadium.
Some fans might want to see the franchise mimic the massive stadium and headquarters complex that Jerry Jones built in Dallas
Other fans might prefer the modern style of stadium typified by two of the newest in the NFL — SoFi stadium in LA and Allegiant stadium in Las Vegas. While the LA stadium is among the larger ones in the league, Allegiant is only middle-of-the pack in terms of size, so this is more about design and technology than about size.
Another option would be to celebrate the team’s heritage by re-designing RFK stadium; a smaller, open air stadium brought up to the standards of a modern NFL venue. The focus here would on a stadium that would be a break from the current trends while recapturing the magic of the 1980s and 90s in a uniquely Washington football way.
Question 2 asks what style of stadium you would like to see designed and built by the new owners, without regard to the location in this survey.
The final question asks you to pick your single highest priority for the stadium (not including location), with choices ranging from the scoreboard to the field surface to toilets.
I’m sure there will be some complaints that the poll should allow for prioritization or that obvious answers were not included in the poll. That’s what the comments are for — add all the nuance you’d like by detailing your thoughts in the comments section; I rely heavily on those comments when I write the results article, which will be published in the coming few days.