Four Sides to Every Story: The Second Side
By: Rich Hilts 
Posted: 2004-05-19
Category: Washington Redskins News
In reading the posts by fellow fans in message boards, it became obvious that there was a strong surge of people supporting Dan Snyder. Looking at it from all angles, both the kind and opposing viewpoints had begun to merge to form a more positive outlook. While the sports writers themselves have had a harder time finding a reason to mellow towards Dan, the fans have begun to see the light at the end of the perceived tunnel with the offseason moves this year. There are three groups of fans, with differing levels of feelings about the team's owner.

First you have the people who have supported Snyder all along. The Snyder-ites have been in his camp since seeing him spend the fortunes, sell his business to dedicate himself to the team, and not worry about money when it came to bringing in head coaches. Hiring back Joe Gibbs was not a turnaround, but a confirmation that Snyder had the right motives, just not the right moves, until now. These folks have always maintained that Dan was a proper fan, and his love for the team couldn't be questioned, but that he had made some amateur mistakes, which Dan has admitted in the past.

The second group of fans haven't really bashed or cheered for Snyder, but just tolerated him. This is the smallest group of the bunch, since the fan base, like the country, has been more and more polarized on so many issues. While seeing that Dan did love the team, they tended to scratch their heads at how he could have fired Norv after a playoff season or Marty after the Miracle turnaround after the 0-5 start. These folks still tend to be more in the skeptic department, following the theory of "let's wait and see" rather than openly cheering some of the latest moves, including the rehiring of Joe Gibbs.

The most vocal of the group has been the Snyder-bashers. The folks who, through reading biased news, news possibly biased due to personal reasons or gut feelings than facts, formed an opinion that Snyder was an embarrassment. People suggested putting together money to buy him out, boycotts and lynch mobs had been brought up. Snide comments abounded in this group of fans of the team, blaming most of the woes on the owner. Yet this group has yielded an amazing amount of converts to the Fans of Dan club. People who have seen their owner ground under by a rather unrelenting press, followed by his bringing back the most successful coach in franchise history have begun to rally around the team and the owner, lobbing tomatoes at the media rather than at Dan.

While this article is not attempting to point out which view is right, there are a couple of major points that the fans all agree on. Bring in a good GM for football moves. Allow him the ability to work with Joe Gibbs on issues relating to roster moves and don't stick his nose into it unless called upon to do it. Let Joe run his team and don't try and playing gentleman coach from the owner's box. If Joe thinks Ramsey wins the camp competition, that is Joe's call and stay out of it. Don't pull another Bruce Smith or Brad Johnson/Jeff George debacle.

While mistakes have been made in the past, it does seem that the fan is willing to show more leeway simply because the front office seems to be learning. The free agency moves of last year where they acquired strong, young talent as well as the moves this year have brought about some amount of goodwill from the fans.

Fortunately, it seems that the ship is being righted and all fans can agree that there is much to be thankful for in that Dan Snyder isn't Bill Bidwell.



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