Monday, December 29, 2003

Our next question

Is from a Mr. S. Spurrier, "currently of Washington, D.C.", who writes: shucks, I hear that Wannstedt is probably going to stay in Miami. Is that Nebraska job still open?

I was thankful, grateful, happy, and ecstatic when Dan Snyder purchased the Redskins five years ago. He even managed to encourage Norv Turner to get his team into the playoffs. But now Norv, Terry (we hardly knew ye), Marty, and, I suspect, the Ball Coach are all history, and the Redskins have been in one playoff game since Joe Gibbs left in 1992.

There is a certain class of professional sports club owner, one who knows how things should be done, and, more often than not, screws up everything. In that class we can put, just off the top of my head

  • George Steinbrenner
  • Ted Turner
  • Peter Angelos
  • Dan Snyder
Another possible addition to this list is Jerry Jones, but he hired Jimmy Johnson right out of the box and kept him till the 'boys got good. After that things got a little crazy for awhile in Big D.

Anyway the funny thing about Steinbrenner and Turner was that they learned on the job. Eventually they realized the big bucks alone weren't going to win anything, and found real baseball men to run their teams. OK, George is showing signs of wobbling. He and Jones seem to be a lot alike -- they want to win badly enough that they'll hire good talent, but then they want credit for the good job, so they force out the talent and try to do things themselves. Dallas is coming back up in this cycle (boo), and the Yankees are going down, down, down into the black bit of perdition ah ha ha ha!!!!

OK, back to reality. The really interesting person on this list is Ted Turner, who was so involved that he once tried to manage his own baseball team on the field. After that start, he found real baseball talent, and Atlanta has what is certainly the most consistent team of the last decade and a half. I'd say the best team, but they only won one World Series during that stretch.

Baltimore, on the other hand, shows no sign of getting better. Yes, we've got a new set of free agents. But I don't see that talent coming together, at least not this year. I could be wrong, of course, but I'm not planning on attending any playoff games in Camden Yards next year.

So where does that put Dan Snyder and the Redskins? I don't know. Snyder is younger than me, and a good businessman, so he's got time to learn. I suspect that eventually he'll find a good football coach who will win some games for him, maybe even a Superbowl. If he keeps cycling through coaches, it's bound to happen sooner or later. But then what happens? Will Snyder, like Turner, be able to bury his ego and enjoy the ride (with or without Jane Fonda)? Or will he be line Steinbrenner and Jones, and just have to get back into the think of things. It will be an interesting next 20 years for Redskins fans.