I love the Washington Redskins and I love the Washington Football Team.
What I do not love, is how toxic the fan base has become, however I do not hold the fan base responsible.
I believe it is time to hold former Washington Redskins’ owner Jack Kent Cooke responsible for where this storied franchise is at.
I am also tired of listening to a former linebacker in LaVar Arrington who logged a meager 22.5 sacks in 6 seasons in Washington (pro-football-reference.com) poison the minds of this fan base. If he does not want to acknowledge his time with the team (his words) I suggest he not acknowledge the $37,961,750 (spotrac.com) Daniel Snyder paid him and return that money to the owner he is now thumbing his nose up at.
Jack Kent Cooke’s dying wish was to get the Redskins out of R.F.K. Stadium and he also did not set up his will to give the team to his son, John Kent Cooke. This is what allowed the team to be put up for sale in the first place. If you want to blame anyone for the “bad stadium experience,” blame Cooke. He built the place. It is the “house that Jack built.”
If you want to blame anyone for what has happened over the past 22 years, blame Cooke. He is the one who made the sale of the Redskins even possible.
I love Jack Kent Cooke and I appreciate the teams he oversaw during my upbringing (in the 80’s and early 90’s), but that is the sad truth. I also never wanted the team to leave R.F.K. Stadium. I followed the whole story being a 40-year fan of the team. Cooke’s driving obsession was getting the team out of R.F.K. as early as 1987.
The Redskins lost their identity and their fan base the day they moved out of R.F.K. They lost their identity many years before the name was changed and they had lost their identity before Snyder owned this team.
Joe Gibbs echoed what I am saying in a letter he personally wrote to me back in 1998, when I was trying to get into the NFL.
Notice what Gibbs says in 1998, “There are new coaches, scouts and it is essentially a new organization.”
This letter from Gibbs was written one year before the sale of the team to Snyder was approved in May of 1999.
Since that point Snyder has spent in the neighborhood of $2.8 billion dollars (adding in the $141 million in the uncapped year in 2010) in payroll to build a winner (1999-2021). The real problem with the team, no matter their name, has been the team has not been able to successfully replace the greatest general manager in NFL history, Hall of Famer, Bobby Beathard.
Beathard was the architect of the glory days. Beathard recommended Gibbs to Cooke. Beathard was the visionary who built all of the rosters and found all the low rounders, misfits and castoffs who became household names.
Beathard was the unsung hero of it all. He was the “architect” of what the fan base wants this team to be again.
An owner is expected to foot the bill and Snyder has done that. When Snyder bought the Redskins, the team had already been committed by Cooke to stay at what has become FedEx Field until 2027 (see Tweet for proof).
If anything, the only thing Snyder is responsible for, is not yet being able to replace the best talent evaluator in NFL history. Outside of that, Cooke is responsible for where we are at. Cooke is a lot more responsible than Snyder is. In fact, it was Cooke who did not retain Beathard in 1989. Beathard went on to lead the Chargers to the Super Bowl in 1994. The Redskins were 3-13 that season.
Have you ever asked yourself why there was a team sale in the first place?
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.