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The Most Significant Changes for the Washington Commanders in 2023

It’s exciting to be a fan of the Burgundy and Gold again with many positive changes on the horizon.

Washington Commanders Introduce New Ownership Group Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders have seen many incredible changes in recent months and the future is trending in a very positive direction. In the span of just one week, fans of the team are excited for training camp, the preseason, and the upcoming 2023 season.

The Obvious Change

Last fall, the football world was shocked to learn that former Commanders owner Dan Snyder was considering selling the team. It took about eight months to come to fruition, but the deal was closed late last week and the Burgundy and Gold had a new ownership group that has been well-received by fans.

The sordid sins of the past finally caught up to Snyder and he was confronted with a harsh reality – sell the team or have it taken away from him. He chose the former and while the process took many months, fans were relieved and happy to see the much-needed change. While the chaos is over, there are challenges awaiting the new owner. Sports and entertainment entrepreneur Josh Harris is the principal owner now and he has brought along an all-star group of limited partners, including former basketball champion Magic Johnson.

Former team employees Megan Imbert and Melanie Coburn shared some thoughts and ideas with me in recent days. They are encouraged by the changes thus far, but still have some concerns moving forward and that is understandable. “The opportunity is tremendous for the new owners to earn the trust and support of the DC metro area. There has been over two decades of pain to heal in addition to fans reconciling with a new brand (one they may not resonate with anymore)”, Imbert said. Coburn added, “I’m so hopeful that this ownership will truly steward this franchise and create a workplace that is safe, equitable, and innovative to bring the team back into glory.”

Workplace changes began three years ago and this has afforded the new ownership team a head start on improved relationships in the front office – on both the business and football operations. The changes should continue to evolve and if the warm reception that team employees gave to the Harris team at FedEx Field is any measure of progress, then the process of healing and moving forward is off to a great start.

Changes to Infrastructure and Fan Enhancements

The Harris ownership group has wasted no time and renovations have begun at FedEx Field. While a new stadium is still a hot topic of discussion, the Commanders will still call FedEx home for several seasons to come. Changes to the site are sorely needed and it appears that the Harris group is beginning the process of renovating FedEx.

Very recent photos of Commanders Park have hinted at several changes for fans that will attend training camp this summer. The most obvious change includes stands for sitting and many other additions are expected as well. Look for the overall fan experience to be greatly enhanced in the short term. Josh Harris and his partners seem to be very fan-friendly and will try to put the Burgundy and Gold faithful on a path to improved relationships. The Harris group appears to be much more in tune with what the fans want. Improving community relations should be front and center with Harris and he is delivering thus far.

The Football Changes

The best change for Washington on the football side is the addition of former Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He is now the associate head coach and offensive coordinator. He will have full control of the offense and fans should expect a superfluous number of positive changes.

The Commanders will also have a substantially improved defensive secondary – a unit that could greatly increase the number of turnovers in 2023. The Commanders added a pair of standout defensive backs in the first two rounds of the NFL draft in late April.

Another change that should impact the team in a positive way will be the use of analytics. Josh Harris has invested heavily in analytics with his other sports franchises (he also owns the NBA’s 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils). With the recent hiring of analytics guru Preston Biro, look for terms like data modeling, data science, parametric modeling, and distribution modeling to become part of the lexicon for Commanders fans in the coming years. Also, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more analytic experts being employed by Washington in the future.

A Bright Future

Is the future bright for the Washington Commanders? Absolutely! It is no longer a shame or embarrassment to cheer for this team and fans are undoubtedly eager to turn over a new leaf and embrace this team. However, it will take time to win back some or most of the fans that decided to move on from the Commanders over the last two decades. Coburn expressed her hopes. “I am hoping that they mend the bridges between the disengaged fans and alumni (including football players, cheerleaders, band members, and former employees) and help reconcile this fan base!” Imbert added, “I think they need to continue to put in the time to show up at every opportunity they can to get to know the incredible fan base in the DMV.”

If the big party in Washington following a unanimous vote of approval and the huge gathering one day later at FedEx Field is any indication of a bright and glorious future, then the process of reconciliation has truly begun. Long live the Harris ownership group. See you as we go along.