Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder introduced new head coach Ron Rivera to the media yesterday. Before Rivera took the mic, Snyder said he was changing the way the team will be run. Instead of the team owner, president and general manager calling the shots, the head coach will be the one in control.
Okay. Sure. That sounds good, but I feel like I’ve heard that before.
After seeing what a giant bucket of suck the Skins have been for a good while now, and blaming that fact on Dan Snyder, I’ve lived with the feeling that until Snyder was no longer the owner, the Redskins would always be horrible. Yesterday made me think about things. What if I’m wrong?
I want to be wrong
I don’t want the Redskins to be a bad team. I want them to be respectable again. They don’t have to go on a tear winning Super Bowls one after another. I’d be satisfied with them just getting to the point where you can expect them to show up on gameday with a decent chance at beating the team they are facing. Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice if they won a Super Bowl or two. I just don’t need a string of Super Bowl victories for me to be a Redskins fan again.
Once upon a time
As a kid growing up in Southern California, I really wasn’t into sports. It was not encouraged in my home. Sundays were all about church. We would go in the morning and then again in the evening. It wasn’t until my final two years in high school that I began having an interest in football. First with the USC Trojans and then with the Los Angeles Raiders.
While in the Air Force, I kept my devotion that the Raiders going. While overseas, it was easy to do. Everyone I served with was a fan of a team thousands of miles away. Watching football was difficult overseas. It was shown on the armed forces network, but the time was way off. For example, Monday Night Football was Tuesday mornings at 10 am when I was stationed in the Philippines.
Things didn’t get difficult for me being a Raiders fan until I left Guam and was assigned to Griffiss Air Force Base in Upstate New York. I was in Buffalo Bills territory. To watch football on Sundays meant I had to watch the Bills. Even though I still loved my Raiders, the Bills were a lot of fun to watch. This is the same time span they went to four consecutive Super Bowls. The fact that they lost each of those Super Bowls doesn’t diminish the fact that they were very, very good.
I left the Air Force in 1994 and began looking for employment. I decided that if I didn’t go home to California, I would stop being a Raiders fan and would support the local team wherever I relocated to. This was before DirecTV and Sunday Ticket. It was even before the Internet took off. I loved watching football but as a Raider’s fan, I rarely got to watch my team. I spent a lot of time reading the ticker on the bottom of the screen providing updates on other games.
That’s no way for a football fan to live their life. I felt like I wasted my time being a fan of a team 3,000 miles away when there was a great team right in my backyard. I would have enjoyed watching all those Bills games a lot more if I wasn’t constantly telling myself I hated the Bills because they weren’t the Raiders.
When I became a Washington Redskins fan
I moved to Maryland on September 5, 1994. I officially became a Washington Redskins fan the following day when I bought a Redskins hat at Sam’s Club.
It was a lot of fun getting to watch your team play every week. Imagine that. I fully embraced being a fan of the local team, not only with football but with the other sports too.
Dan Snyder purchased the Washington Redskins in 1999 and the team soon began its long perpetual slide into mediocrity. What destroyed my love for the team wasn’t that they were so awful. It was the feeling that all hope was lost. Watching sports should be fun. Watching the Skins under Synder’s ownership became the opposite of fun.
With hiring Ron Rivera, the firing of Bruce Allen, and embracing an organizational change that places power with the head coach, I feel that maybe just maybe all hope is not lost. I feel like watching the Redskins might eventually be fun again.
I’m willing to take a leap of faith. In Ron Rivera I trust.