There was a time when being a Redskin fan was fun. Don't get me wrong, I love being a Redskin fan and no matter how bad it gets, my allegiance will remain with the burgundy and gold. But sometimes (thanks in large part to NFL Films) we are afforded the opportunity to walk down memory lane. As some would say, a chance to go back to the "good old days." Days of Jack Kent Cooke, Riggins, Joey T, Sonny, Sammy Baugh, Joe Gibbs, Ken Harvey, The Fun Bunch, beating the Cowboys and of course, The Hogs, just to mention a few of the names from Redskins past. While some look back and will say they wish they had this player or that player, others will say they wish they had this coach or that coach. As for me? I just wish we had the same team pride, determination and winning attitude that this franchise once enjoyed.
The current team isn't the first team to show a lack of heart and character. No, it started years ago and has snowballed. I guess it could have started after the Hogs legacy ended. Actually it could be traced back to Coach Joe Gibbs leaving the helm of the Redskins and Richie Pettibone taking over in 1993. That was the season that started the free fall that we are in now. A lot of people are quick to point a finger at the owner, Dan Snyder, who has always been an easy target since he acquired the team from the Cooke Foundation in 1999. But in derailing that train of thought, I offer you these two numbers: 36 and 0. What are those numbers? The "36" refers to the number of wins that the Redskins had from the start of the 1993 season to the end of the 1998 season (that's an average of six wins per season). The "0" is the number of playoff appearances in that time. This from a storied franchise that only a decade earlier dominated the NFL. As for those who blame Snyder for "single handedly destroying a franchise overnight that took years to build," I would remind them that since Snyder took over in 1999, they have finished with a below .500 record only once and have appeared in two playoff games (1999). For those of you keeping score, that averages out to be eight wins per season. Not an impressive number, that I will grant you, but in comparison to years past, an eight win season sure beats a six win season.
Now before you think this is a Dan Snyder propaganda piece, think again. I admit that this front office appears to be more dysfunctional than the Osbornes are. What I am saying is that before you throw Snyder under the bus for "ruining" the franchise, just look at the product that was being put on the field and take a look at the players on those rosters BEFORE Dan Snyder came into power. I simply don't believe that Snyder can be held completely responsible for the apparent collapse of this franchise. A lot of the responsibility can and should be laid at the feet of the players and the coaches that have worn the burgundy and gold since Coach Gibbs left for his other Sunday gig, NASCAR.
Despite all that goes on off the field, players still are playing the same game as they have since they were kids. That part doesn't change. What does seem to change is the attitude of the players that are brought into the nation's capital to don a Redskin uniform. Why that happens remains a mystery to all. Is it the money? Is it the coaching staff? Is it the front office? Whatever the reason is, we are all left to reminisce over the "good old days."
While I always will remain an optimist and have that "wait 'til next season" mentality that was once reserved for Cubs fans, there comes a time when you have to step back and look what you have become. As for the Redskins franchise, until they find a way to recapture that winning attitude that they once had, they will continue to wallow in the mediocrity that unfortunately has become the norm. For the many fans of the Redskins, the current state of the Redskins is unacceptable and in large part because for so many years we were the class of the NFL. We will again return to the top but it will be a tough task. But then again.... nothing worth having comes easy.